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She Gives Us Strength - FOR COLORED GIRLS... Creative Team Interview #7 (Martha Redbone)

She Gives Us Strength - FOR COLORED GIRLS... Creative Team Interview #7 (Martha Redbone)

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Ntozake Shange left behind a legacy, creating a collective language for many women of color with her work. To celebrate this revival and the all-women of color creative team of FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, we invited photographer CHRISTINE CHAMBERS to capture the creative team through the lens of her portrait photography. Outside the photography studio, we asked the team to reflect on what being on this production and part of an all-women of color creative team means today and for the future.
Seventh in this series of interviews is Martha Redbone.

What does the legacy of for colored girls… mean to you, and how has that impacted your work?

It is an honor to be a part of such a powerful and important piece of African American culture and history. My mother talked about the play often when I was growing up so I’ve always been aware of its importance for most of my life. Ntozake Shange’s work continues to resonate deeply in our current climate. I’m thrilled and honored as a composer to offer music to for colored girls…, that serves as a conduit, a musical bridge connecting the sounds of the time the piece was originally created to music in our present day, and through this we honor her legacy. 

What has your experience working on an all women of color design team been like?

Working on a team of all women of color is empowering, and extremely inspiring. We look around the room at each other and one cannot help but think of family history, think of a time when each of our families might have come from and the laws that prevented us from having education, let alone jobs of any importance. We are a multicultural group with all people working together and it’s a beautiful sight to see!

What is your biggest challenge as a designer?

The biggest challenge composing music was creating a sound that can introduce new young audiences to Ntozake’s work in a meaningful way as well as excite those who were there during its original time and who might know the play very well. We want this to be a celebration of Black American music, proudly display a spectrum of the African diaspora worldwide, electrifying all our senses and tap into the souls of our ancestors. Creating music for this team with the incredible choreography by Camille A. Brown, I’m very excited for this work!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photo by Christine Chambers