Shange, Ntozake (1948–)

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Shange, Ntozake (1948–)

African-American writer. Born Paulette Williams, Oct 18, 1948, in Trenton, New Jersey; dau. of Paul Williams (sports physician) and Eloise Williams (educator and psychiatric social worker); Barnard College, BA, 1970; University of Southern California, MA, 1973; m. David Murray (musician), 1977; children: Savannah.

Took name Ntozake Shange during graduate school (1971); began performing poetry, music and dance in and around San Francisco, often with African-American dance troupe Third World Collective; joined Halifu Osumare's dance company; moved to NY; wrote the hugely successful choreographed poem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, which was produced off-Broadway at New Federal Theater (1975), moved to Booth Theater on Broadway (1976), won an Obie and Outer Circle Award, and nominated for a Tony; served as artist-in-residence for New Jersey State Council of Arts, creative writing instructor at City College of New York, and professor of drama at University of Houston; poetry collections include Nappy Edges (1978), A Daughter's Geography (1983), From Okra to Greens (1984), The Love Space Demands: A Continuing Saga (1992); choreopoetry includes Spell #7 (1979), A Photograph: Lovers in Motion (1979) and Boogie Woogie Landscapes (1979); novels include Sassafras, Cypress, and Indigo (1982), Betsy Brown (1985) and Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter (1994); plays include Black and White Two Dimensional Planes (1979) and Three views of Mt. Fuji (1987); children's books include I Live in Music (1994), Whitewash (1997), Float Like a Butterfly: Muhammad Ali (2002) and Daddy Says (2003).

See also Y. S. Saradha, Black Women's Writing: Quest for Identity in the plays of Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange (Prestige, 1998).