I sent a youtube copy of "Miss Cellie's Blues" to all my women friends on facebook, telling them "I think you're something special, sista, I hope you think that you're something too."
A friend replied that the same message was for me too, which really touched me, especially as it came at a moment when I really needed it.
So, here is my response to her about the movie "The Color Purple:"
Well, thanks - I just so happened to really need that right when I read it! My mother always says there are no coincidences! When I was younger, I thought it was just some silly thing she said, since I didn't have that much faith that things were happening for a reason but rather felt like I was getting tossed around in some storm of universal chaos, you know, but in recent years I am learning she is onto something...I needed your message RIGHT when I read it - THANKS!
Several woman to whom I sent this said this movie had meant a lot to them, that they have always loved it. This movie really speaks to so many of us, I think, because it is, in its quiet way, about a woman's heart (Cellie, Shug, Sophia, and Squeak) - women's exploitation, our being silenced in a man's world, our inner longings for love and respect and equality - our basic desire to just fucking SING, even if we are off-key, to start to be SEEN - our real selves - even if we feel ugly, in a world that, in many ways, still conspires to silence and hide our kind. You know, it's like Maya Angelou named her autobiography, which detailed her years of silence following her childhood rape, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." At its core, Cellie's story is about the caged bird who finally flies away and sings. Some of us, perhaps even most of us sistas, are living as Miss Cellie, but secretly longing to be Shug - to sing, to travel, to feel guiltlessly, even indulgently sensual and comfortable in our own skins, maybe to stick with a man as long as he pleases or amuses, but then move on when we are ready...I think that's where I am. I'm forty one and one day soon (well, actually, in the next two or three years, as I still have a teenager at home), I hope, I am going to move out and go "sing" (my own metaphorical version of singing, whatever that ends up being), go travel with my own inner Shug. I AM going to tell Mister that until he does right by me, everything he touches gonna turn to dust. And it is going to happen too; I feel it in my bones.
Thanks. I really did need your message right when it came. It was a rough evening. Mom is right (she's always right!). There are no coincidences.
This is no place for a woman's heart.
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
--- Maya Angelou