Ntozake Shange

by Kirie from Brinnon, Washington

Ntozake ShangeNtozake Shange
Barnard College [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia

Ntozake Shange is my hero because I love her writing. She was one of the first to dare to say what she says with her fiction.

NtozakeShange was born in 1948 and has worked as a playwright, actress, poet, novelist, and teacher.

She is the inventor of the choreopoem (a poem which integrates words and dance) and is the world-class Energizer of the Word.

Ntozake Shange is the only poet to have her poetry ("For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf: A Choreopoem") translated successfully to Broadway. Short Eyes doesn't count because it's not a poem. Please do not mention Cats

Read her autobiography in her own words:

I am Ntozake Shange.
I named myself in the African language called Zulu.
Ntozake: "She who comes with her own things."
I am prepared self-reliant independent.
Shange: "She who walks with lions."
I have great courage strength wisdom.
When I was a child, I had exciting adventures.
I travelled to many places.
Mexico Haiti Cuba Europe.
I listened to music
Read books
Watched dancers
Argued with scholars.
Now, I am a woman with many talents.
I create poems, stories, plays, characters, dances.
I create poems about Black women which help us grow strong.
I create stories about Black women which make our daydreams as real as life.
I create plays about Black women
which tell histories of our pleasure and pain
struggle and triumph
joy and anger
fear and strength.
I create dances about Black women
whose rhythms remind us of our African roots.
When I create poems, stories, plays, characters and dances
Hear the voices of
Black women.
See the beauty of
Black women.
Taste the sweat of
Black women.
Feel the strength of
Black women.


Page created on 4/20/2005 2:12:34 PM

Last edited 10/7/2020 4:08:12 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

BLOOD RHYTHMS, BLOOD CURRENTS, BLACK BLUE N STYLIN' - Ntozake Shange's work featured on Aloud! Voices of the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe.
PEOPLE OF WATTS - another Ntozake Shange poem from Aloud! published by Henry Holt
Poetry Foundation - More information on the poet.

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