Last week I learned that in 2005 Jay-Z stopped the release of his autobiography, tentatively titled, The Black Book because he found it to be too personal. After reading this and realizing that Nzingha Stewart was originally signed to direct For Colored Girls, ? I concluded that a barometer of Black womens? freedom is our ability control, tell and disseminate our own images, our own stories.? John Jurgensen writes about Jay-Z’s decision in the? in the Wall Street Journal,
But he felt that the memoir, tentatively titled “The Black Book,” revealed too many personal details. “It was great, but I couldn’t do it…”
Sho’ll must be nice to control your own stories.
Nzinga Stewart was originally set to direct For Colored Girls.
Why Tyler Perry wound up directing it, I don’t know. It feels like he walked out with “all of our stuff.”
I know that Nzingha Stewart had been working on For Colored Girls for a hot minute.? An interview on the blog 21 Hustle speaks on the process by which Nzingha came to work on For Colored Girls,
Last week Lionsgate Films announced that it? had acquired these? rights? and signed? Stewart to direct from her? adaptation of? ?For Colored Girls,? the critically acclaimed play by Ntozake Shange, that was written as a series of 20 poems telling stories of love, abandonment, domestic abuse and other issues faced by black women.
It is? important to understand that Stewart, who is mostly known for directing music videos,? wasn?t just ?signed?? by Lionsgate to write and direct;? This is a project that evolved by Stewart putting the motion pictures of her mind into real life motion,? thus creating a dream job for herself.
When talking about the process of trying to secure the opportunity to direct the film, Nzingha said,
It?s been a roller coaster ride. The hardest thing to learn is just how much this town is a business. More than anything, its who you know, how to talk to people , and what impression you give in the room. Decisions are made based on that more than even the work itself. So I have to go in prepared not to just pitch the work but to almost to pitch myself. And to make this person feel comfortable being around me. Like if we make this movie together it wont be annoying to be around me for a full year. Hollywood is business, and you have to master that aspect of yourself. I used to be that kind of artist who felt like the work is good enough. Its like it doesn?t matter about the work sweetheart. You gotta sell your project.
God Bless her.
When will Black men stop telling our stories and start telling their own?
Etc. Etc. Etc.
When will we stop complaining and start supporting the independent Black women film directors who are committed to telling our stories?
Or maybe we can complain and support?? 🙂