Gina Mei
September 15, 2014 11:11 am

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Broadway premiere of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf“, a ground-breaking play about seven women’s experiences of oppression in a racist and sexist society. Through the voices of women identified only by colors, the play addresses abortion, street harassment, domestic violence, as well as the potency of music and creativity, and the notion of sisterhood.

The twenty poetic monologues—which Shange dubbed the “choreopoem“—became the second body of work by a black woman to reach the Broadway stage, and hit such a nerve with audience members, it ran for two years. Shange’s play soon became required reading for young women, and later spawned two on-screen adaptations. In an early review of the play, the New Yorker said it encompassed “every feeling a woman has ever had.”

In celebration of the anniversary of “for colored girls”, we’ve rounded up some inspiring quotes from women of color who, like Shange, have reminded us in so many words to speak up, follow our dreams and lend our voices to issues that matter.

Ntozake Shange, Playwright 

Janet Mock, Activist

Frida Kahlo, Painter

bell hooks, Author and Activist

Paula Gunn Allen, Poet and Novelist

Roxane Gay, Author

Mindy Kaling, Writer, Producer, Actor

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author

Maya Angelou, Poet and Author

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