What Black Women Write When They Write About Love

Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.
Toni Morrison, Jazz

“Back then I confused passions and orgasms with love. It took me years to realize the two weren’t synonymous.”
Terry McMillan, Getting to Happy

I found God in myself, and I loved her, I loved her fiercely.
Ntozake Shange

Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.
Maya Angelou

Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.
Nikki Giovanni, The December of My Springs

I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.
Alice Walker

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.
Maya Angelou

The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.
Zadie Smith, On Beauty

Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever.
Audre Lorde

“What looks like crazy on an ordinary day looks looks a lot like love if you catch it in the moonlight.”
Pearl Cleage, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much.
Zora Neale Hurston

“Kindness eases change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
Positive obsession
Blunts pain,
Diverts rage,
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.”
Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents


“Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don’t. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest. Couples that enter the sacrament of marriage and are not prepared to go the distance or are not willing to get right with the real love of God cannot thrive. They may cleave together like robins or gulls or anything else that mates for life. But if they eschew this mighty course, at the moment when all are judged for the disposition of their eternal lives, their cleaving won’t mean a thing. God bless the pure and holy. Amen.”
Toni Morrison, Paradise

“For Colored Girls:” Tyler Perry’s Bid for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Perfect, unblemished skin courtesy of Photo Shop.

I am a Tyler Perry virgin.   My eyes and ears have never been defiled by a Tyler Perry flick.  I have not seen Madea’s Goes to Jail, Why Did I Get Married, Meet the Browns, Madea’s Family Reunion and I won’t be seeing Madea’s Big Happy Family when it’s served up like so much fried chicken for Perry’s legion of loyal fans.

When I read Perry was directing the film adaptation of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (When the Rainbow is Enuf),” that was a palm slap to the head moment.   I’m guessing when Perry signed on as an executive producer for Precious and saw the accolades that were showered on director Lee Daniels, he must have decided, “Hey, I’d like some of that too!”

Perry’s movies are small and cheaply made money makers, but they are critically reviled for the poor writing, direction and broadly-played and stereotypical acting.   What’s a multi-millionaire who sits upon his own entertainment enterprise to do?   Go out and buy a property that has proven difficult to adapt and try to make a “serious film” in a bid for some critical love.

Character posters for the newly titled shortened “For Colored Girls…” (well, at least it’s not “Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls”) to be released on November 5.  No trailer yet, but are you not entertained?

Or are you terrified of what kind of Negro foolishness the director of Madea Goes to Jail might impose upon Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play?   I know I am.  As a play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (When the Rainbow is Enuf)” was a fiercely feminist work about sex, rape, abortion and other subjects foreign to the typically sweet and sappy crap Perry usually serves up.

Perry usually casts his films with established actors paired with rappers, singers and athletes taking time out from their day jobs.  For Colored Girls is no different with Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, and Kimberly Elise duking it out with Janet Jackson and Macy Gray for screen time.  Mariah Carey dropped out of the production to be replaced by Newton which counts as an upgrade.

Now this is an odd couple if ever there was.

As I have said before,  I have nothing against Perry making movies for a specific audience that enjoys his work.  That audience just doesn’t include me same as the appetite for Woody Allen’s self-indulgent sludge is lost on me.  Based on his résumé,  Perry seems like the wrong guy for this kind of material. This is like the guy who drops the fries at Wendy’s trying to prepare a five-course meal of French cuisine.  My fears seem to be coming true that Perry would blunt the edge of For Colored Girls by making it commercial and safe, two things Shange’s original play was not.

If there’s a saving grace to this projects its Shange’s involvement as the screenwriter.

Some people say movie reviews don’t influence their decision whether to see a film.  However, when you have a director such as Perry who’s made his mark making homey, simplistic and corny comedies and melodramatic morality plays trying to serve up some serious Oscar-worthy bait, it’s best to be skeptical whether or not he can pull it off.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d be happy to be wrong and blown away by Perry’s bid to become an first-tier director.   The fact that he’s immediately slipping back into Madea’s padded bra after For Colored Girls indicates to me Perry isn’t going to stray far from what it was that put money in his pocket in the first place.