Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Persson, Perry and Colored Girls

Swedish illustrator Stina Persson's watercolors thrill and mesmerize me. I cut her iconic images out of fashion magazines and paste them into my journals to punctuate written words. Her art accomplishes everything I love about fashion: it's eye-catching, elegant, playful and dramatic. There's an irresistible balance of whimsy and power, femininity and edginess, mystery and flamboyance.

Last year, Persson designed a rather sweet poster for Ntozake Shange's seminal play...

By now, you've heard that Tyler Perry has written and directed a film adaptation of Shange's riveting text. LionsGate released a promotional poster which reminds me of Persson's work, except it's singing the blues...

The ad makes a captivating promise: The straight-forward font. The demanding white space. The slightly raised eyebrow. The wet direct gaze. The spilling rainbow tears. The hint of a mouth. The gentle placement of "Many voices. One poem." And FOR COLORED GIRLS in black, in bold. 

Here's the gorgeous trailer:

Exciting, right? 

Still, despite the stellar cast and Perry's smiling assurances, I must admit that, like many feminist bloggers, I'm nervous about the film. I first read Shange's choreopoem at age 19, weeping on the carpet floor of the Ithaca College library. A year later, I was cast as the Lady in Red in a local production. Memorizing the story changed my life. For Colored Girls is certainly one of the reasons I became a performing poet and playwright.

Given all the heteronormativity, gospel and slapstick in Perry's body of work, I will be pleasantly surprised if he can successfully tell a tale that casts the spell: "I FOUND GOD IN MYSELF AND I LOVED HER/ I LOVED HER FIERCELY." Thank goodness Shange "explicitly told Mr. Perry that Madea could not be in 'Colored Girls.'"

I'll see you at the movies.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I have the same mixed feelings...everything that is coming out about this production is beautiful but I can't help but think about how awful most of his other work is. I am excited and a little afraid.