beverly guy-sheftall on black feminism

The noted Spelman College scholar and author talks to The Root about what Oprah should be doing, Michelle Obama and why the president is a feminist

By Akoto Ofori-Atta

Known for her eccentricity and boldness, Beverly Guy-Sheftall has never been scared to take the brave action necessary for change. (With her fondness for bright colors and head-to-toe leopard prints, she’s also not scared of taking fashion risks.) A pioneer of black feminism in the 1960s, she took the helm of black feminist studies, raging against strong sentiments that positioned black feminism as obsolete once black women gained access to the labor force. Since then she has worked tirelessly to institute black feminist studies as a legitimate discipline, and continues to do so as the founder and director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, where she is also the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies.

Continue reading @ theRoot


let’s stage some read-ins

Gaps in literacy can lead to a path of poverty
by Mark Anthony Neal

This past weekend, a group of Black scholars convened in Princeton, NJ to discuss current concerns about the lives of Black men and boys. The group, the Scholars Network on Black Masculinity, headed by University of Michigan Sociologist Alford Young, Jr. covered topics like, single headed households, rigid gender expectations, the criminal justice system and mental health among others. The gathering made it clear that there are no magic bullets—or rather magic solutions to address the crises among Black men and boys, only strategies wedded to the kinds of in-the-trenches work that will get little attention.

Continue reading @ TheLoop21

single mothers and the recession

Always Tough, Single Motherhood Gets Worse
By Lynette Holloway

Forty-four-year-old Cassandra Jackson recently returned home to Chicago from Memphis, Tenn., in hopes of upgrading her quality of life and beating the odds faced by so many single African-American mothers: finding a job.

Continue Reading @ The Root

for colored boys

This week, I’m over at writing about For Colored Girls and male sexual abuse:

On November 5, Oprah Winfrey aired the first of a two-part episode on male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Two hundred men stood in the audience, each holding a photograph taken at the age their innocence was stolen by the priest, babysitter, or parent who molested them. Filmmaker Tyler Perry was among them, just two weeks after he had shared his childhood experiences with physical and sexual abuse for the first time with a television audience on Oprah.

Continue reading @Ms. blog

more on perry and black feminism

For Colored Girls, Is Tyler Perry’s Film Enuf?
by Courtney Young

What is the price paid when a director widely considered to be anti-feminist interprets a beloved black feminist text for film? Can a piece as endearing as Ntozake Shange’s 1975 classic choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Not Enuf reach its full cinematic potential outside the hands of a black female director? When movie mogul Tyler Perry first announced he would be reviving the celebrated text for the screen, many fans of the original production reacted with dismay, worry, even anger. A deft combination of poetry, music and movement, the choreopoem gives life to the voices of seven unnamed women distinguished on stage only by a singular color of dress. The piece allows each woman to relay her story frankly, at times through a collective narration, airing a host of issues that affect black women’s lives—rape, abortion, domestic abuse and child murder, but also love, sex, and friendship. Would the complexity of black women’s lives and voices survive in Perry’s hands?

Continue Reading @ The Nation

black feminism and tyler perry

Check out these two provocative and different black feminist approaches to Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls by Penn professor, scholar, and activist Salamishah Tillet and author and Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal:

Black Feminism, Tyler Perry Style
by Salamishah Tillet

Leave it to Tyler Perry, a man best known for playing Madea, a modern-day Mammy, to try to redefine black feminism for the mainstream.

Perry admits that he didn’t know much about Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, but that didn’t stop him from taking on this black feminist bible nevertheless.

continue reading @ The Root

Has Tyler Perry Found a Voice within Black Feminism? by Mark Anthony Neal

Despite many predictions, Tyler Perry’s screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls’ was not a debacle. The film was by far, the most nuanced and accomplished film in Perry’s oeuvre, owing much to the power and genius of Shange’s original work, the most consummate cast that Perry has worked with, and perhaps all those days on the set watching Lee Daniels at work filming ‘Precious’. ‘For Colored Girls’ may represent Tyler Perry, perhaps finally, finding his own cinematic voice.

Continue reading @ The Loop 21

black girls rock!

Say it Loud: Black Girls Rock
by Jacque Reid

Call it perfect timing. Black Girls Rock makes its television debut this weekend on BET as the public image of black women continues to be dragged through the mud.

It is difficult to miss recent reports, blogs and viral videos exploring why many of us will never marry or even come close to finding a good man, complaining that our standards are way too high and that we have attitude problems, or explaining that our credit is bad.

For the black woman left feeling a bit deflated, what a refreshing surprise to find BET coming to the rescue with the premiere of the Black Girls Rock Awards show. The event honors outstanding women in entertainment, community service and science. This year’s show honors Ruby Dee, Raven-Symone, Missy Elliott, Keke Palmer, Iyanla Vanzant, Teresa Clarke and Major General Marcelite Harris.

Continue Reading @ The Root

nicki minaj

What Nicki Minaj Means to Black Women
by Regina Bradley

I’m not a fan of Nicki Minaj. Yeah, I said it. Her voice and “characters” already took my last nerve. But with her much anticipated freshman release Pink Friday dropping November 22, Minaj is in the mouths of fans and haters alike.

I’m not concerned here, however, with Minaj’s lyricism or talent. I’m interested in what Minaj’s multiple identies suggest about women in hip-hop.

During the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards, DJ Khaled introduced self-proclaimed entertainer Minaj as “Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, and Nicki Minaj.” As Minaj began to speak, she significantly altered her voice five times to show her “multiple personas.” People cheered.

Whether in the capacity of video models or (f)emcees, women in hip-hop are so underrepresented that they are always fighting against the current. In the powerful (and long overdue) documentary My Mic Sounds Nice old school artists like Roxanne Shante, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, and Yo Yo talked about the need to lyrically keep their game up. Battling for them was a way to be acknowledged, heard, and visible.

Continue reading @ News One

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kimberly elise on "for colored girls"

Actress opens up about Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls’
by Nedra Rhone

When Kimberly Elise first arrived in Hollywood, all of her jobs were on sitcoms. When she trained on stage, it was comedy. But after a star turn in the mid-’90s gangsta film “Set It Off,” it seemed Elise couldn’t shake the drama.

“I would love to be in a comedy,” she said. “Some people just gravitate to the dramatic roles I play.”

That’s not likely to change given her latest project — a starring role in “For Colored Girls,” a film adapted and directed by Atlanta’s Tyler Perry. The film opens Friday.

Elise was just a kid in 1976 when a strangely titled production began winding its way through the theater circuit. From California to New York, to off-Broadway and finally, to the Great White Way, “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” was like nothing the theater establishment had ever seen.

Continue reading @ AJC

Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images North America