For Colored Girls
Directed by: Tyler Perry
Written by: Tyler Perry (screenplay), Ntozake Shange (play)
Starring: Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, and Kerry Washington
It was hard watching the latest film from the controversial and wildly successful Tyler Perry without the expectation that at any moment Madea, an old black woman that Perry performs as in drag, would interrupt the tension by bursting through the wall like Kool-Aid Man. That character, the subject of backlash from other modern black filmmakers like Spike Lee who say it recalls early stereotypes of blacks on screen, often struts into Perry films with attitude and comedy to break the melodramatic tension.
There is no Madea in For Colored Girls. In fact, there is very little at all to break apart the tension created by the struggling lives of these 9 African American women, who deal with everything from rape, abortion, and infidelity over the course of the film’s two-plus hours. Perry’s adaptation is drawn from an award-winning play by Ntozake Shange and is structured around poetic recitations of these horrific events.