Black women the world over took to social media to mourn and reminisce the life and impact of author, poet, and playwright Ntozake Shange.
The wordsmith who was “the blueprint for so many young Black female writers, poets and playwrights” passed away Saturday morning at an assisted living home in Bowie, Maryland, her family announced on social media. She was 70.
For many Black women, her acclaimed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf was a rite of passage — and they said as much on Twitter when news of Shange‘s death spread.
“So much of what I wanted to do with my writing and my performance was in ‘for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf’ and Sassafras, Cyprus & Indigo,” Poet Bassey Ikpi said in a beautiful thread about Shange’s writing. “It’s corny to say but she did teach us how to sing a Black girl’s song. She really did.”
“There are complicated Black women that people prefer posthumously. I don’t have Ntozake’s talent, at all. But I know what it is to be one of those women,” acclaimed writer Dream Hampton said. “And I saw God in Ntozake, and I loved her fiercely.”
“Thank you, Ntozake Shange,” director Ava Duvernay wrote after sharing the words of Shange. “Rest now, Queen.”
“Ntozake started a lot with FOR COLORED GIRLS and broke many rules,” writer Terry McMillan said. “Hands across my heart. Saddened.”
Here are more tweets of remembrance:
Rest in Power!