I haven’t been a fan of Tyler Perry since I figured out his formula — no-good man wrongs strong black woman who is saved by do-right man with a lot of Madea thrown in for comic relief. That being said, I’m really excited to see his film version of Ntosake Shange’s acclaimed play “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” This 1975 choreopoem, as Shange named it, consists of 20 poems performed by nameless women, who are known only by the color they wear. It explores the black woman’s experience with abandonment, love, domestic violence, rape, and abortion.
The characters in “For Colored Girls … ” speak to many women throughout the stages of their lives, which might be one reason Perry was able to secure such an all-star cast. Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Anika Noni Rose, Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Hill Harper, and Whoopi Goldberg, who tried in vain to bring a revival of the play to Broadway, have signed on for the film. Macy Gray and Jurnee Smollett will also appear in “For Colored Girls … ”
Those are the names you’ll recognize, but there are some others that may be new to you. Isaiah Mustafa will soon be known for something other than being that guy in the Old Spice commercial. And Omari Hardwick and Khalil Kain will also appear in the film.
With actors of this caliber, it will be really hard for Perry to mess up “For Colored Girls … ,” which is already in production and slated for a 2011 release. Let’s hope Perry keeps his gray wig, dresses, and pistol at home.