Monday, September 27, 2010


photo of Ntozake Shange and her sister, Ifa Bayeza by Chester Higgins, Jr of The New York Times

"Never go backward.
Always be movin', movin' forward.
Life is in front of me, not behind."
~ from Some Sing, Some Cry, by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza

Peace and Love,

Who are Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza?....

Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey on October 18, 1948. In 1971 she changed her name to Ntozake Shange which means "she who comes with her own things" and "she who walks like a lion" in Xhosa, the Zulu language. Her father was an Air Force surgeon and her mother was an educator and a psychiatric social worker. The Williams were upper middle class African Americans whose love of the arts contributed to an intellectually stimulating childhood for Shange and her three siblings. Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry, and W. E. B. Du Bois were among the frequent guests at her parents' house.

In 1966 Shange enrolled at Barnard College and separated from her husband, a law student. She attempted suicide several times. Nonetheless, she graduated cum laude in American Studies in 1970 and entered the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, where she earned a master's degree in American Studies in 1973.

While living in California and teaching humanities and women's studies courses at Mills College in Oakland, the University of California Extension, and Sonoma State College, Shange began to associate with poets, teachers, performers, and black and white feminist writers who nurtured her talents. Shange and her friends began to perform their poetry, music, and dance in and around the San Francisco Area. Shange also danced with Halifu Osumare's company. Upon leaving the company she began collaborating with Paula Moss on the poetry, music, and dance that would become for colored girls Moss and Shange left California for New York and performed for colored girls in a Soho jazz loft and later in bars in the lower East Side. Producer Woodie King Jr. saw one of these shows and helped director Oz Scott stage the choreopoem Off-Broadway at the New Federal Theatre where it ran for eight months, after which it moved to the New York Shakespeare Company's Anspacher Public Theatre, and then to the Booth Theatre.

Read more info at

Ifa Bayeza
Ifa Bayeza is an award-winning playwright, producer and conceptual theater artist. Her works for the stage include Amistad Voices, Club Harlem and Homer G & the Rhapsodies, for which she received a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays fellowship. Bayeza is co-founder of DBA Studios, doing business artistically, creating innovative theater-based work to encourage dialogue among races, cultures and people. The company's premiere production, Bayeza's Hip-Hop musical Kid Zero, with music by Harvey Mason, has been seen by over 12,000 public school students in Chicago, St. Louis and New York. (for more: Bayeza served as the original dramaturg and set designer for her sister Ntozake Shange's landmark production of for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, directed by Oz Scott at New Federal Theater and The Public Theater. She and Shange have joined forces again, collaborating on a new novel, Some Sing, Some Cry, which will be published by St. Martin's Press. Bayeza is also delighted to be renewing her collaboration with Mr. Scott. Awards include two fellowships to the Tuck School Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP) and the 2003 Arna Bontemps Centennial Writer's Fellowship. A graduate of Harvard University, Bayeza is a board member of the SonEdna Literary Foundation, founded by Morgan Freeman and his wife Myrna Colley-Lee, and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. She lives in Chicago.

info from


  1. YES INDEED! another great it! thanks a bunch for sharing...take care.

  2. Inspirational women! I love that quote too. It's so important for us to remember that, because then we can volunteer to drop the baggage that all of us carry around at times.


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