Are We Ready For Janet Jackson To Act ‘Colored’?

Since I'm a playwright and stage actress, I think it's expected of me to be highly offended by the gall of Tyler Perry to lay his hands on the almost sacred script that we know as Ntozake Shange's choreo-poem For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Some critics say that Perry has spent so much time in drag that he now is starting to believe he has the feminine sensibility to direct such a intensely dramatic piece that speaks from and to the female experience. Others say that his movies just suck and they don't want him jacking up yet another story. However, I am hopeful that Perry will do his best to prove us wrong in our condemnation. Also, he didn't write the screenplay this time, he's just directing. So, there's hope. 

The play, which has been a cult staple of Black theatre since the 1970s, has been adapted for the big screen and will make its debut for hungry audiences on November 5th and feature the talents of actresses Phylicia RashadWhoopi GoldbergThandie NewtonKerry WashingtonAnika Noni RoseKimberly Elise and Loretta DevineMariah Carey, who was supposed to be in the film, dropped out of the cast last spring when she became pregnant. What a shame since audiences seemed to love Mimi's acting performance in last year's Oscar-nominated movie Precious.

But if a singing actress is what we're looking for, look no further than Janet Jackson who also stars in this movie as the Lady in Red, renamed as the character "Jo." As seen in the movie poster below, Janet is sporting that short 'do that we love and green colored contacts that have some of us scratching our heads while asking "WTF"? At the end of the day, my hope is that if all else fails, the music will be tight. Here's hoping that this new flick will be accompanied by a soundtrack worth writing about. Tell me, SoulBouncers, what are you looking forward to seeing or hearing when it comes to For Colored Girls?

For Colored Girls [Official]

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19 Responses

  1. I don't have an issue with Perry directing this 'cos he's a man (after all, by that argument Black directors would never be able to direct anything but 'Black' films). I have an issue with it because he's kind of a hack who does LCD melodrama and this is real literature. Please don't screw this up, dude!

  2. I give up. There's no point to even have an opinion on these matters. Doesn't matter...

  3. As a former Lady in Brown in my university's production, I have high hopes for the film. Not everything can be so easily translated from stage to screen.
    I don't have any anti-Tyler Perry qualms, except that yes, as @Stellaskid said, he can be a little melodramatic (case in point "Why Did I Get Married Too" 's crazy Janet scene(s)). But I think that (especially since he didn't write the screen play) he will have the intelligence to try to do this piece some major justice. Ms. Shange herself has said in Essence magazine that she's looking forward to it as long as there's no Madea!

  4. I think it's fair to give Tyler a chance by at least waiting to see the movie before judging it. Yes, the Madea movies are crazy and silly but, The Family That Preys, I felt was Tyler's best directing yet. My hats off to Mr Perry because he attracted a great cast to work with. (And to state the obvious) I don't see anyone else in Hollywood trying to tell our stories! Oh, I forgot, Stomp the Yard 12 is coming out for Christmas.

  5. i can't wait tos ee this.

  6. You should be proud that Tyler Perry wanted to do this film! I don't see african american women directors over flowing Hollywood, so what other options is there? Since we are reducing the intelligence of this situation down to race...would you feel better if a white woman directed it? Please. I by NO means am a fan of Tyler Perry's writing or directing for that matter but he has the potential to do a good job with this film (its not written by him so that alone enhances the possibilities of this).
    Are we ready for Janet Jackson to play colored? Huh? She has played nothing but 'colored' since she has been acting. Poetic Justice, Why did I get married films, escapes the mind?
    Let's put out positive energy instead of this negative crap that uses far more energy than simply being positive. I know that can very difficult of people here in America but it's possible non the same.
    Wait, to see the darn movie before you start judging it.

  7. @Jacxon
    Thank you for your post. As we speak about an 'intelligent" discussion-- your words, not mine-- I don't think its helpful for you to read a headline only and then respond. Reading my entire post may be helpful next go round.
    I do have to say, though, to insinuate that one should be "proud" that their story is being told is going a bit far and you bring up a good point about the lack of African-American female directors in Hollywood. Understand that that shortage of black female directors is not due to lack of back women who are capable or available as film directors. Instead, the reason mainstream movie-goers are unfamiliar with only a few female directors is because of the lack of opportunities afforded them. In my own personal social circle, the dozens of indie film directors I'm familiar with are women. So, in your comment, even though it is glaringly obvious you responded in anger over the title and did not read the post, you place another great point on the table. Why didn't Tyler Perry financially support the project (executive produce) yet hire a female director, as well as screenwriter, to translate it to film?
    The answer is, I think, is because he wanted to do it himself. Which, of course, is his perogative. However, in that same vein, it is understandable then, that scores of people, particularly people who abhor his films and resent that his prominence is due to a drag character-- a stereotypical image of a black woman-- would be angry of his control on this project given the subject matter. If that viewpoint is so out of your understanding, then I don't think you can sensitively consider the viewpoint of others on this matter without looking at it as simply black & white, with those who counter your own opinion as being simply "haters".

  8. First of all I just want to say that I'm not trying to take shots at anyone here but I've got to point this out. Why is it that the people who post on soulbounce almost always have soething negative to say?? Im not telling you what you should and should not post on your site but if its something that your gonna talk down upon, then why waste your time and space on the page?
    I check this site on a daily basis to find good music and get the latest updates on things, but I must admit my visits have gotten a lot less frequent over the years. I for one am a fan of Tyler Perry and I can't wait to see the final product.

  9. @Uptown: Are we REALLY back on this again?
    First of all I just want to say that whenever someone starts off saying what they're not trying to do, they are always doing that exact thing.
    Why is it that certain people who comment on SoulBounce almost always come out of the woodwork ONLY when they want to point out how "negative" we are? I'm not telling you what you should or should not comment on, but why not comment on those songs, videos and articles that you perceive as positive? There are many blogs that we post about fantastic music that will never get one single solitary comment. Where are you then? Exactly.
    We value your daily visits although they've become less frequent. That's unfortunate. For you. Because in the process you may have missed out on a lot of great music and "positive" commentary. Your problem. Not ours. SoulBounce is going to keep on doing what SoulBounce has always done.

  10. I'm getting really tired of Tyler Perry's (alarmingly successful) attempts to the be grand arbiter of the Black woman's experience.

  11. The trailer is up and for you skeptics I hope this eases your mind...

  12. i am offended by the tone of your blog. we should be celebrating this story is being brought to film

  13. Yeah, well I don't see why you have a misleading title (obviously to draw people in the read the article) then try and take the topic another route.
    But annnnnyway, the film looks really good. Can't wait to see it.

  14. @Jacxon: The title of the post was a play on words. A sense of humor would work wonders for you.

  15. Yeah, well I don't see why you have a misleading title (obviously to draw people in the read the article) then try and take the topic another route.
    But annnnnyway, the film looks really good. Can't wait to see it.

  16. "play on words" PLAY ON WORDS? REALLY?
    Stating (indirectly) that Janet Jackson wasn't 'black enough' until now is your "play on words"? Which had what to do with the overall scope of the film that doesn't even revolve around her. That makes NO sense what so ever? "Are we ready for Tyler Perry to direct Colored" would have made far more sense. Instead of taking jabs at a family that's had to endure unnecessary insults since they were born.
    Anyway, back to the topic at hand ((or what the topic is suppose to be about)) this film. Again, the trailer looks great and should be a worthy contender for this years oscars.

  17. Jacxon, evidently you are either not a regular reader of this blog to notice the regularity of how often we do that, or, you are really beating a dead horse in an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that you overreacted to a blog post by reading the heading of it only. In either case, while I respect your personal excitement and anticipation for this movie, I don't respect your continued attempt to tell us how we should address the news that Tyler Perry is coming out with this flick. This blog is not a PR vehicle for Perry, nor any of the artists we cover.
    Give it a rest already.

  18. He's directing but the WOMAN who orignally wanted to bring this to the big screen is still producing. The writer of the novel gave permission obviously or it wouldn't be happening. Tyler is big but no that big. Much respect to black women in film and even bigger to established black women in this film. i.e. (he didn't pick all the new kids now acting).
    With that said justice for this exceptionally strong piece of work is all I ask. Since he didn't write the screen play itself we should see "quality work" from the man himself.

  19. Response from Tyler Perry...
    Subject: A Message from Tyler Perry - Something's Gotta Give
    > Hey there, I know I haven't written in a while, but I've been crazy busy
    > with 154 performances since the top of the year. I filmed two movies this
    > summer and I haven't had a break. It's all too much! Something's gotta
    > give here. I'm exhausted. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about FOR
    > We are only a little more than 3 weeks out from FOR COLORED GIRLS, which
    > opens on November 5th. Wow, time is flying! I wanted to talk to you for
    > just a second about this film. There has been a lot of Internet chatter
    > about me doing this film. I've heard everything from, "I'm glad he's doing
    > it!", to "How dare he touch this!". Believe me, I know that this is
    > sensitive material and I handled it that way. If you don't believe me see
    > for yourself on November 5th.
    > If you know anything about the book or play, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE
    > CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, which is what my film is
    > based on, then you know that it is one of the most powerful literary works
    > of this century. But, if you know it, you are also thinking like I was,
    > "How can I make this into a movie?"
    > After reading the play a thousand times and listening to these poems a
    > million times, it hit me. There was only one way to approach it. So what
    > I did was, I put these characters in the situations around the poems, so
    > that they could speak the dialogue of the book without it sounding like a
    > poem. And I have to tell you, I wasn't sure that it could be done. But,
    > after listening to Phylicia Rashad, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Macy
    > Gray, Kimberly Elise, Tessa Thompson, Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine,
    > Anika Noni Rose and Janet Jackson say these words it was awesomely
    > seemless.
    > The stories are about eight women who live in NYC and we follow them
    > through their lives; follow them through loving, losing, giving too much
    > of themselves, being hurt and betrayed, but most of all, we follow each of
    > these women as they find love for themselves.
    > This movie is powerful. It is incredible. The performances in it are
    > astonishing, but most of all this film will leave you lifted.
    > I don't know if you know this either, but never in the history of a
    > feature film has there been an ensemble of this many black women. That
    > alone is worth celebrating. I hope you are planning to see it on November
    > 5th.
    > By the way, you don't have to be a colored girl to be able to relate to
    > and enjoy this movie.
    > Click the link to view the trailers:
    > See ya soon,
    > TP


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