Citation

Bitch You Must Be Crazy: Mental Illness and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls (1976)

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Abstract:

The release of Tyler Perry’s 2010 film For Colored Girls revived debates about Ntozake’s Shange’s classic work For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. While contemporary critiques allude to an implicit discourse about psychological trauma, there remains a popular and scholarly silence around the most salient topic—mental illness. Using the colloquial idiom “bitch you must me crazy” as a guiding theme, this paper considers how Shange’s play engages the issues around mental illness and black women and considers the implications within a broader social crisis. Mental illness in its various manifestations—psychotic, mood, anxiety, among others–is not unique to any group. Yet, experiences of mental illness do not exist outside socio-historical and cultural configurations. Implicit in the play’s title is both a question and a proposition about particular bodies within African American cultural contexts—Why do colored girls consider suicide? I argue that play offers insight into understanding the social conditions under which many black women experience mental illness. It also presents theoretical models for prevention and/or healing. In order to address the silences around mental health the paper considers the text’s exploration of three major issues: 1) the social constructions of black womanhood 2) the psychological conditions of African American women 3) the linkages between black female sexuality and sanity.
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Association:
Name: 36th Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p557446_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Louis, Diana. "Bitch You Must Be Crazy: Mental Illness and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls (1976)" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 36th Annual National Council for Black Studies, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, GA, Mar 07, 2012 <Not Available>. 2014-11-24 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p557446_index.html>

APA Citation:

Louis, D. M. , 2012-03-07 "Bitch You Must Be Crazy: Mental Illness and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls (1976)" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 36th Annual National Council for Black Studies, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2014-11-24 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p557446_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The release of Tyler Perry’s 2010 film For Colored Girls revived debates about Ntozake’s Shange’s classic work For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. While contemporary critiques allude to an implicit discourse about psychological trauma, there remains a popular and scholarly silence around the most salient topic—mental illness. Using the colloquial idiom “bitch you must me crazy” as a guiding theme, this paper considers how Shange’s play engages the issues around mental illness and black women and considers the implications within a broader social crisis. Mental illness in its various manifestations—psychotic, mood, anxiety, among others–is not unique to any group. Yet, experiences of mental illness do not exist outside socio-historical and cultural configurations. Implicit in the play’s title is both a question and a proposition about particular bodies within African American cultural contexts—Why do colored girls consider suicide? I argue that play offers insight into understanding the social conditions under which many black women experience mental illness. It also presents theoretical models for prevention and/or healing. In order to address the silences around mental health the paper considers the text’s exploration of three major issues: 1) the social constructions of black womanhood 2) the psychological conditions of African American women 3) the linkages between black female sexuality and sanity.


Similar Titles:
Little Girl Lost: The Erasure of Girls of Color in Domestic Sexual Trafficking Discourses

The colored girl must die’: Youth, criminality, and capital punishment in the Carolinas, 1885-1905

"For Colored Girls…"Revisited: Black Girls and Their Own Words


 
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