for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is not enough

A play (1974) by the US writer Ntozake Shange (b. 1948) consisting of 20 ‘choreopoems’ about the experience of African-American women in modern Western society. One of the longest running shows in Broadway history, the play’s extraordinary title, with its unconventional spellings and rejection of accepted grammatical rules, was intended by the author to represent the independence of African-American culture from Western influence. The mutilation of words throughout the title and text are reportedly meant to remind the reader of the mutilation of African slaves through branding and other punishments.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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