Anika Noni Rose played Disney’s first Black princess in her last film but her role in Tyler Perry’s upcoming For Colored Girls, will take viewers to a darker place. In the movie adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s iconic choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf, Rose depicts a happy-go-lucky woman who endures date rape. Rose, who plays Yasmine/Yellow has never experienced what her character does in real life, but she hopes to give a voice to people who may not have been able to speak up.
“I thought that what Ntozake had put down on paper about the way we trust people with ourselves, with our spirits with our bodies, with our lives⎯it was so clear to me that I had to allow it to live it,” the Tony Award winning actress told VIBE at a For Colored Girls press junket. “My plan was to live these words so that it was clear because so many people don’t get to say that out loud. So many people go through these things and they never get to say, 'Somebody hurt me and I didn’t deserve it,' or either they are afraid to or they’re told not to, they’ve been scared into silence.”
Rose admitted that repeatedly acting out the scene got so intense at times that it was sometimes hard to snap out of it. However, she credits Tyler Perry with providing great support. “There were times in a scene where Tyler would just stop and hug you. There were times for me, and a few of the women throughout where it felt like air was a luxury⎯to get another breath was a luxury at one point,” said Rose. “And Tyler came up to me we had already cut and he just put his arms around me and held me for a while. And we did it again and again, and again. But to have that support of the mind and of the spirit, but also of the body is something we had and I’m grateful.”
So far, this may have been the most emotionally challenging role Rose has taken on. Some viewers might have a hard time watching the scene but Rose’s goal was to take people to another level. If her tears in the film, which were real, get a rise out of audiences, then she has accomplished her goal. “I try to always do something different from the last thing that I did. I don’t want to see me in the same role all the time and I don’t know why somebody else would want to,” she said. “So try to shake it up and I choose things that are challenging and different and will allow me to attempt to turn myself into that character.” ⎯Starrene Rhett