Born Paulette Linda Williams, October 18, 1948, in Trenton, NJ; name changed, 1971; pronounced "Entoe-zok-ee Shan-gay"; daughter of Paul T. (a surgeon) and Eloise (a psychiatric social worker and educator) Williams; married second husband, David Murray (a musician), July, 1977 (divorced); children: Savannah. Education: Barnard College, B.A. (with honors), 1970; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, M.A., 1973, and graduate study. Hobbies and other interests: Playing the violin.
Homem— 231 North Third St., No. 119, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Officem— Department of Drama, University of Houston, University Park, 4800 Calhoun Rd., Houston, TX 77004.
Writer, performer, and teacher. Faculty member in women's studies, California State College, Sonoma Mills College, and University of California Extension, 1972-75; University of Houston, Houston, TX, associate professor of drama, beginning 1983; New Jersey State Council on the Arts, artist-in-residence; City College of New York, New York, NY, creative writing instructor. Lecturer at colleges and universities, including Douglass College, 1978, Yale University, Howard University, Detroit Institute of Arts, and New York University. Dancer with Third World Collective, Raymond Sawyer's Afro-American Dance Company, Sounds in Motion, West Coast Dance Works, and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (Shange's own dance company); has appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of her plays, including For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf and Where the Mississippi Meets the Amazon. Director of stage productions including The Mighty Gents, produced by New York Shakespeare Festival, 1979; A Photograph: A Study in Cruelty, produced in Houston, TX, 1979; and June Jordan's The Issue and The Spirit of Sojourner Truth, produced 1979. Has given many poetry readings.
Actors Equity, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Dramatists Guild, PEN American Center, Academy of American Poets, Poets and Writers Inc., Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press, New York Feminist Arts Guild, Writers' Guild.
NDEA fellow, 1973; Off-Broadway Award, Village Voice, Outer Critics Circle Award, Audience Development Committee Award, Mademoiselle Award, and Antoinette Perry, Grammy, and Academy award nominations, all 1977, all for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf; Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop Award, 1978; Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, 1981, for Three Pieces; Guggenheim fellowship, 1981; Medal of Excellence, Columbia University, 1981; Off-Broadway Award, 1981, for Mother Courage and Her Children; Nori Eboraci Award, Barnard College, 1988; Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund writer's award, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995; Paul Robeson Achievement Award, 1992; Arts and Cultural Achievement Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.(Pennsylvania chapter), 1992; Living Legend Award, National Black Theatre Festival, 1993; Claim Your Life Award, WDAS-AM/FM, 1993; Pew fellowship in fiction, 1993-94; City of Philadelphia Literature Prize, 1994; Black Theatre Network Winona Fletcher award, 1994; Monarch Merit Award, National Council for Culture and Art, Inc.; Pushcart Prize.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf: A Choreopoem (first produced in New York, NY, 1975; produced Off-Broadway, then on Broadway, 1976), Shameless Hussy Press (San Lorenzo, CA), 1975, revised edition, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1976.
Boogie Woogie Landscapes (also see below; first produced in New York, NY, 1976), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1978.
From Okra to Greens: A Different Kinda Love Story; A Play with Music and Dance (produced in New York, NY, 1978), Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.
A Photograph: A Study of Cruelty (poem-play; produced Off-Broadway, 1977; revised as A Photograph: Lovers in Motion [also see below] and produced in Houston, TX, 1979), Samuel French (New York, NY), 1981.
(With Thulani Nkabinde and Jessica Hagedorn) Where the Mississippi Meets the Amazon, produced in New York, NY, 1977.
Spell #7: A Geechee Quick Magic Trance Manual (also see below; produced on Broadway, 1979), published as Spell #7: A Theatre Piece in Two Acts, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1981.
Black and White Two Dimensional Planes, produced in New York, NY, 1979.
(Adapter) Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children, produced Off-Broadway, 1980.
Three Pieces: Spell #7; A Photograph: Lovers in Motion; Boogie Woogie Landscapes, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.
Three for a Full Moon [and] Bocas, produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1982.
(Adapter) Willy Russell, Educating Rita, produced in Atlanta, GA, 1982.
Three Views of Mt. Fuji, produced at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 1987.
The Love Space Demands: A Continuing Saga (produced in London, England, 1992), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Contributor to Love's Fire: Seven New Plays Inspired by Shakespearean Sonnets, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998. Author of play Mouths and operetta Carrie, both produced in 1981.
Melissa & Smith, Bookslinger (St. Paul, MN), 1976.
Natural Disasters and Other Festive Occasions (prose and poems), Heirs International (San Francisco, CA), 1977.
Nappy Edges, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1978.
A Daughter's Geography, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.
From Okra to Greens: Poems, Coffee House Press (St. Paul, MN), 1984.
Ridin' the Moon in Texas: Word Paintings (responses to art in prose and poetry), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.
I Live in Music (poem), edited by Linda Sunshine, illustrated by Romare Bearden, Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York, NY), 1994.
The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family, Atria (New York, NY), 2004.
Sassafrass (novella), Shameless Hussy Press (San Lorenzo, CA), 1976.
Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.
Betsey Brown, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Whitewash (picture book), illustrated by Michael Sporn, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.
Float Like a Butterfly (picture book), illustrated by Edel Rodriguez, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.
Daddy Says (young adult novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Ellington Was Not a Street (picture book), illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
See No Evil: Prefaces, Essays, and Accounts, 1976-1983, Momo's Press (San Francisco, CA), 1984.
If I Can Cook/You Know God Can (essays), Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1998.
(Editor) The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1999.
Also author of Some Men (poems in a pamphlet that resembles a dance card), 1981. Has written for a television special starring Diana Ross. Work represented in anthologies, including "May Your Days Be Merry and Bright" and Other Christmas Stories by Women, edited by Susan Koppelman, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1988; Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction, edited by Terry McMillan, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1990; Yellow Silk: Erotic Arts and Letters, edited by Lily Pond and Richard Russo, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1990; Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology, edited by Margaret Bushby, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1992; Erotique Noirem—Black Erotica, edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Reginald Martin, and Roseann P. Bell, Anchor (New York, NY), 1992; Resurgent: New Writing by Women, edited by Lou Robinson and Camille Norton, University of Illinois Press (Champaign, IL), 1992; and Wild Women Don't Wear No Blues: Black Women Writers on Love, Men, and Sex, edited by Marita Golden, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1993. Author of preface to Plays by Women, Book Two: An International Anthology, Ubu Repertory Theater Publications (New York, NY), 1994. Contributor to periodicals, including Black Scholar, Third World Women, Ms., and Yardbird Reader.
A musical-operetta version of Shange's novel Betsey Brown was produced by Joseph Papp's Public Theater in 1986.
An accomplished poet and novelist whose career spans both the civil rights and feminist movements, Ntozake Shange is a writer whose work has been shaped by her unwillingness to accept the limitations imposed on either her color or her gender. Her major work, a unique blend of poetry, music, dance, and drama titled For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enufm—dubbed by its author a "choreopoem"m—was still being produced decades after its 1975 Broadway debut. A woman of vast energy and commitment, Shange has maintained a triple career as educator, performer/director, and writer of works that draw heavily on the experience of being an African-American female. In the 1990s Shange expanded her writing and began publishing books for children and young adults, including Daddy Says.
Born to a surgeon and an educator, Ntozake Shangem—originally named Paulette Williamsm—was raised in a black middle-class family. "Her family's affluence did not shield her from experiencing racism as a child," Jacqueline O'Connor explained in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. "When she and her family moved to St. Louis, eight-year-old Paulette Williams was bused to a German American school in the enforcement of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ruling, and she was forced to struggle against blatant bigotry." Despite such stressful surroundings, Shange's interest in reading and writing began at a young age; as O'Connor noted, "she enjoyed the works of canonical American writers such as Mark Twain and Herman Melville, as well as the works of Harlem Renaissance writers such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. Her family's friendships with members of the thriving African American cultural community allowed her to meet such influential figures as W. E. B. Du Bois, Miles Davis, and Josephine Baker."
Experiences Social Inequities First Hand
After graduating from high school, Shange earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College. Breaking out on her own after graduation proved difficult, however, as one by one the roles Shange chose for herselfm—including war correspondent and jazz musicianm—were dismissed by her parents as "no good for a woman," she commented to Stella Dong in Publishers Weekly. She chose to become a writer because, as she recalled, "there was nothing left." Frustrated and hurt after separating from her first husband, Shange attempted suicide several times before focusing her rage against the limitations society imposes on black women. While earning a master's degree in American studies from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, she adopted an African name meaning "she who comes with her own things" and she "who walks like a lion."
Writing dramatic poetry became Shange's way to express her dissatisfaction with the role of black women in society. Joining with musicians and the choreographer/dancer Paula Moss, she created improvisational works comprised of poetry, music, and dance that were performed in bars in San Francisco and New York. When Moss and Shange moved to New York City, they presented For Colored Girls at a Soho jazz loft, the Studio Rivbea. Director Oz Scott saw the show and with his help the work was staged in bars on the city's Lower East Side. Producer Woodie King, Jr., then joined with Scott to bring the choreo poem to the New Federal Theatre, where it ran, Off-Broadway, from November of 1975 to the following June. Joseph Papp took over production duties, bringing Shange's work to the New York Shakespeare Festival's Anspacher Public Theatre, and from there it moved to the Booth Theatre uptown.
The poems in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, dramatized by female dancers, recall encounters with classmates, lovers, rapists, abortionists, and latent killers. The women survive the abuses and disappointments put upon them by the men in their lives and come to recognize in each other, dressed in the colors of Shange's personal rainbow, the promise of a better future. In unison, at the end, they declare, "i found god in myself/and i loved her/ . . . fiercely." To say this, remarked Carol P. Christ in Diving Deep and Surfacing: Women Writers on Spiritual Quest, is " to say . . . that it is all right to be a woman, that the Black woman does not have to imitate whiteness or depend on men for her power of being." While noting that Shange's verse "touches some very tender nerve endings," Marilyn Stasio wrote in Cue that Shange's "fierce and passionate poetry has the power to move a body to tears, to rage, and to an ultimate rush of love."
Though For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf earned strong reviews, it also proved controversial. "Some Black people, notably men, said that . . . Shange broke a taboo" when the play "took the theatre world by storm," Connie Lauerman reported in the Chicago Tribune. "[Shange] was accused of racism, of 'lynching' the black male."
The Responsibility of an Artist
In responding to critics of her first major work, Shange has offered a contrasting viewpoint, telling Lauerman: "Half of what we discussed in For Colored Girls about the dissipation of the family, rape, wife-battering and all that sort of thing, the U.S. Census Bureau already had. . . ." "My job as an artist," she added, "is to say what I see." "Shange's poems aren't war cries," Jack Kroll explained in a Newsweek review of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide. "They're outcries filled with a controlled passion against the brutality that blasts the lives of 'colored girls'm—a phrase that in her hands vibrates with social irony and poetic beauty. These poems are political in the deepest sense, but there's no dogma, no sentimentality, no grinding of false mythic axes." Edith Oliver remarked in a New Yorker review that, in a production of the play, "The evening grows in dramatic power, encompassing, it seems, every feeling and experience a woman has ever had; strong and funny. . . . The verses and monologues . . . have been very well chosenm—contrasting in mood yet always subtly building."
Focusing on the barriers facing black entertainers during the later decades of the twentieth century, Shange's Spell #7: A Geechee Quick Magic Trance Manual, while similar in structure to For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, had become something of a period piece by the 2000s. The play concerns nine characters in a New York bar who discuss the racism facing black artists who attempt to build careers in the entertainment industry. At one point, the all-black cast appears in overalls and minstrel-show blackface to address the pressure placed on the black artist to take on usually derogatory, "black" stereotypical roles in order to succeed. "That's what happens to black people in the arts no matter how famous we become. . . . We're not free of our paint yet," Shange told Claudia Tate in Black Women Writers at Work.
A Complex Poetry
Shange's various books of poetry, including Nappy Edges,Some Men,A Daughter's Geography, and Ridin'the Moon in Texas, share with her dramatic plays and novels a concern with the experiences of African-American women and a non-traditional use of language which captures the rhythms of Black English speech patterns. While some reviewers maintained that these innovations present unnecessary obstacles to readers, Shange justified her use of "lower-case letters, slashes, and spelling" to Claudia Tate in Black Women Writers at Work, noting: "I like the idea that letters dance. . . . I need some visual stimulation, so that reading becomes not just a passive act and more than an intellectual activity, but demands rigorous participation."
As she does in her verse, Shange also takes liberties with the conventions of fiction writing in such novels as Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo and Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter. A mix of verse, incantations, letters, and spells, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo focuses on sisters who find different ways to cope with their love relationships. Wrote Doris Grumbach in the Washington Post Book World, "Shange is primarily a poet, with a blood-red sympathy for and love of her people, their folk as well as their sophisticated ways, their innocent, loving goodness as much as their lack of immunity to powerful evil. . . . But her voice in this novel is entirely her own, an original, spare and primary-colored sound that will remind readers of Jean Toomer's Cane." In Liliane a woman undergoes psychoanalysis in an attempt to better understand the events of her life, particularly her mother's decision to abandon the family for a white man when Liliane was a child. Shange "offers a daring portrait of a black woman artist re-creating herself out of social and psychological chaos," remarked Kelly Cherry in the Los Angeles Times Book Review.
In 1997 Shange turned her attention to a younger readership, publishing Whitewash, her first picture book for young readers. Based on actual events, Whitewash concerns an African-American girl and her brother who are the victims of a racial attack by a white gang. Jennifer Ralston, writing in School Library Journal, called the work "powerful," and a Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that Shange's "characters speak in tones of shock and pain that clearly convey the seriousness of the issues here." Another work for children, Ellington Was Not a Street "is a paean to Shange's family home and the exciting men who gathered there," noted Ilene Cooper in Booklist. The family's illustrious visitors included musicians Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, actor Paul Robeson, activist W. E. B. DuBois, and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, former president of Ghana. The text of the story is taken from Shange's poem "Mood Indigo," from her 1983 collection, A Daughter's Geography.
Shange's young-adult novel Daddy Says "fills a niche by portraying African-American girls in a western context," observed a critic in Kirkus Reviews. Published in 2003, the novel takes place on an East Texas ranch, where sisters Lucie-Marie and Annie Sharon are coping with the death of their mother, a rodeo champion, and their father's distracted behavior due to his romantic relationship with a new girlfriend. To regain her father's attention, Annie Sharon attempts to ride the same horse that killed her mother, a risky decision that places her own life in danger. Daddy Says received mixed reviews. In Publishers Weekly a critic wrote that while "the story provides enough action to keep pages turning, . . .the heart-felt moments are too few," and School Library Journal contributor Carol A. Edwards stated, "Despite strong characters and a lively setting, this novel is disjointed and unsatisfying, which is a shame, since Shange is clearly capable of portraying rivalry and competitive spirit realistically."
Although her work has become increasingly less confrontational throughout her career, Shange continues to be cited for her dramatic representations of the experiences of African-American women. "Although For Colored Birls who Have Considered Suicide remains her most successful and most often revived work," according to O'Connor, the author "has proved to be a prolific and versatile writer. Her work defies generic categorization; her proven ability to traverse the boundaries of poetry, playwriting, dance, and music is her greatest legacy."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Adell, Sandra, editor, Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture, Volume 5: African American Culture, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Andrews, William L., Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris, editors, The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
African-American Writers, 2nd edition, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig, editors, Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights, Beech Tree Books, 1987.
Brater, Enoch, editor, Feminine Focus: The New Women Playwrights, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
Christ, Carol P., Diving Deep and Surfacing: Women Writers on Spiritual Quest, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 1980.
Christian, Barbara T., Black Feminist Criticism: Perspectives on Black Women Writers, Pergamon Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8, 1978, Volume 25, 1983, Volume 38, 1986, Volume 74, 1993, Volume 26, 2000.
Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.
If you enjoy the works of Ntozake Shange
If you enjoy the works of Ntozake Shange, you may also want to check out the following:
Leroi Jones, Dutchman and the Slave, 1964.
James Baldwin, Blues for Mr. Charlie, 1964.
Suzan Lori-Parks, The America Play and Other Works, 1995.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 38: Afro-American Writers after 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers, 1985; Volume 249: Twentieth-Century American Dramatists, Third Series, 2002.
Drama for Students, Volume 2, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Easthope, Antony, editor, Contemporary Poetry Meets Modern Theory, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.
Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Volume 23, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.
Halloway, Karla F. C., Moorings and Metaphors: Figures of Culture and Gender in Black Women's Literature, Rutgers University Press (Brunswick, NJ), 1992.
Lester, Neal A., Ntozake Shange: A Critical Study of the Plays, Garland (New York, NY), 1995.
Modern Black Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Olaniyan, Tejumola, Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African-American, and Caribbean Drama, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Schlueter, June, editor, Modern American Drama: The Female Canon, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1990.
Schomburg Center Guide to Black Literature, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Squier, Susan Merrill, editor, Women Writers and the City: Essays in Feminist Literary Criticism, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1984.
Tate, Claudia, editor, Black Women Writers at Work, Continuum (New York, NY), 1983.
Vaught, Jacqueline Brogan, and Cordelia Chavez Candelaria, editors, Women Poets of the Americas: Toward a Pan-American Gathering, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1999.
African American Review, spring, 1992, Neal A. Lester, "Ntozake Shange, "pp. 322-325; summer, 1992, and Neal A. Lester, "Shange's Men: For Colored Girls revisited, and Movement Beyond, "pp. 319-328.
American Black Review, September, 1983; March, 1986.
Back Stage, June 30, 1995, Ira J. Bilowit, "Twenty Years Later, Shange's 'Colored Girls' Take a New Look at Life," pp. 15-16.
Black American Literature Forum, winter, 1979, Henry Blackwell, "An Interview with Ntozake Shange," pp. 134-138; summer, 1981, Sandra Hollin Flowers, "Colored Girls: Textbook for the Eighties," p. 51; summer, 1983, Sandra L. Richards, review of Spell No. 7, pp. 74-75; winter, 1990, Neal A. Lester, "At the Heart of Shange's Feminism: An Interview," pp. 717-730.
Black Issues Book Review, November-December, 2002, Clarence V. Reynolds, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 42; March-April, 2003, review of Daddy Says, p. 66; November-December, 2004, Patricia Spears Jones, review of The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family, p. 46.
Black Scholar, March, 1979; October, 1979, Robert Staples, "The Myth of Black Macho: A Response to Angry Black Feminists, "pp. 24-33; March, 1981; December, 1982; July, 1985; winter, 1996, p. 68; summer, 1996, p. 67.
Booklist, April 15, 1987; May 15, 1991; January 1, 1998, Alice Joyce, review of If I Can Cook/You Know God Can, pp. 759-76; October 15, 1999, Vanessa Bush, review of The Beacon Best of 1999: Creative Writing by Women and Men of All Colors, p. 1837; June 1, 2001, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Betsey Brown, p. 1837; September 1, 2002, John Green, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 131; February 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Ellington Was Not a Street, p. 1070; October 15, 2004, Janet St. John, review of The Sweet Breath of Life, p. 382.
Chicago Tribune, October 21, 1982.
Chicago Tribune Book World, July 1, 1979; September 8, 1985.
Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 1976; October 8, 1982; May 2, 1986.
Cue, June 26, 1976.
Ebony, March, 2004, review of Ellington Was Not a Street, p. 28.
Entertainment Weekly, March 20, 1998, Carmela Ciuraru, review of If I Can Cook/You Know God Can, p. 84.
Essence, November, 1976; May, 1985, "Ntozake Shange Talks with Marcia Ann Gillespie," pp. 122-123; June, 1985; August, 1991; December, 2004, Douglas Danoff, review of The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family, p. 134.
Horizon, September, 1977.
Horn Book, November-December, 2002, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 781.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 1320; December 1, 2002, review of Daddy Says, p. 1773; November 15, 2003, review of Ellington Was Not a Street, p. 1364.
Kliatt, January, 1989.
Library Journal, May 1, 1987; January, 1998, Wendy Miller, review of If I Can Cook/You Know God Can, p. 130; October 15, 1999, Louis J. Parascandola, review of The Beacon Best of 1999, p. 70; September 1, 2004, Doris Lynch, review of The Sweet Breath of Life, pp. 155-156.
Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1982; June 11, 1985; July 28, 1987.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 22, 1982; October 20, 1982; January 8, 1984; July 29, 1984; June 11, 1985; July 19, 1987; December 18, 1994, p. 12.
Massachussetts Review, autumn, 1981, Andrea Benton Rushing, "For Colored Girls, Suicide or Struggle," pp. 539-550; winter, 1987, Brenda Lyons, interview with Shange, pp. 687-696.
Mother Jones, January-February, 1995, p. 69.
Ms., September, 1976; December, 1977, "Ntozake Shange Interviews Herself"; June, 1985; June, 1987.
New Statesman, October 4, 1985; May 19, 1995, p. 37.
Newsweek, June 14, 1976; July 30, 1979.
New York Daily News, July 16, 1979.
New Yorker, June 14, 1976; August 2, 1976; January 2, 1978.
New York Times, June 16, 1976; December 22, 1977; June 4, 1979; June 8, 1979; July 16, 1979; July 22, 1979; May 14, 1980; June 15, 1980, Frank Rich, "Mother Courage Transplanted, "p. D5; September 3, 1995, Andrea Stevens, "For Colored Girls May Be for the Ages," p. H5.
New York Times Book Review, June 25, 1979; July 16, 1979; October 21, 1979; September 12, 1982; May 12, 1985; April 6, 1986; January 1, 1995, p. 6; October 15, 1995, p. 36; February 25, 1996, p. 32.
New York Times Magazine, May 1, 1983.
Phylon, fall, 1987, Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, "Black Women Playwrights: Exorcising Myths, "pp. 229-239.
Plays and Players, June, 1985, Carole Woddis, review of Spell No. 7, pp. 230-248.
Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1985; November 14, 1994, p. 65; January 1, 1996, p. 69; November 3, 1997, review of Whitewash, p. 85; September 20, 1999, review of The Beacon Best of 1999, p. 65; September 16, 2002, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 68; November 25, 2002, review of Daddy Says, p. 68; December 22, 2003, review of Ellington Was Not a Street, p. 59; August 2, 2004, review of The Sweet Breath of Life, p. 66.
Saturday Review, February 18, 1978; May-June, 1985.
School Library Journal, October, 2002, Ajoke' T. I. Kokodoko, review of Float Like a Butterfly, p. 152; February, 2003, Carol A. Edwards, review of Daddy Says, p. 148; October, 2003, Jennifer Ralston, review of Whitewash, p. 98; January, 2004, Mary N. Oluonye, review of Ellington Was Not a Street, p. 122.
Time, June 14, 1976; July 19, 1976; November 1, 1976.
Times (London, England), April 21, 1983.
Times Literary Supplement, December 6, 1985; April 15-21, 1988.
Variety, July 25, 1979.
Village Voice, August 16, 1976, Michelle Wallace, "For Colored Girls, the Rainbow Is Not Enough," pp. 108-109; July 23, 1979; June 18, 1985.
Voice Literary Supplement, August, 1991; September, 1991.
Washington Post, June 12, 1976; June 29, 1976; February 23, 1982; June 17, 1985.
Washington Post Book World, October 15, 1978; July 19, 1981; August 22, 1982; August 5, 1984; February 5, 1995, p. 4.
Wilson Library Bulletin, October, 1990.
World Literature Today, summer, 1995, p. 584.
Academy of American Poets, http://www.poets.org/poets/ (June 15, 2005), "Ntozake Shange."
Voices from the Gaps,http://voices.cla.umn.edu/ (January 10, 2005), "Ntozake Shange."*