for colored girls who’ve considered suicide while surviving Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome (with acknowledgements to Ntozake Shange and Dr. DeGruy)




black girlhood/womanhood, arts-based research, critical performance autoethnography, practice-as-research,


In this audio article, the author reViews Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking work on black girlhood/womanhood, for colored girls who’ve considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. She briefly provides the personal context through which she interacts with the text for the first and latest time. She expands the narrative of black girlhood/womanhood into the personal by examining the actions of the characters and herself through Dr. DeGruy’s lens of Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome. Track 1 provides the narrative context and theoretical framework. Tracks 2 – 5 are the author’s performative responses. Track 6 lists the bibliography, while Track 7 provides a short bio of the author.

Author Biography

Allison Upshaw, University of Alabama

Allison Upshaw, graduates in December 2017 with a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Alabama. Her research areas of interest are aesthetic meaning-making, performance, and arts-based research methods. Allison also holds degrees in vocal performance from Oberlin Conservatory, Louisiana State University, and continues to perform as a recitalist specializing in music by composers of African descent. She is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, the professional stage actor’s union. Allison is also a Creative Education Consultant/Teaching Artist, and a native of Forest Home, Alabama.



DeGruy, Joy. 2005. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. Portland OR: Joy DeGruy Publications.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. London and New York: Routledge.

King, Ruth. 2007. Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible. New York: Penguin.

MacGregor, J.C. Chummy, George “The Fox” Williams, and Sunny Skylar, composers. 1942. “It Must Be Jelly ‘Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That”. Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, RCA Victor.

Perera, Suvendrini, and Joseph Pugliese. 2011. “Introduction: Combat Breathing: State Violence and the Body in Question.” Somatechnics 1 (1): 1–14.

Rice, Dana, and Allison Upshaw. 2014. Battles of wounded me: An autoethnographic Cantata (unpublished).

Shange, Ntozake. 1977. for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. New York: Scribner.

Upshaw, Allison. 2017. “My Body Knows Things: This Black Woman’s Storied Theory in Performative Autoethnography.” In Doing Autoethnography, edited by Sandra L. Pensoneau-Conway, Tony E. Adams, and Derek M. Bolen, 55–65. Boston: Sense Publishers.




How to Cite

Upshaw, Allison. 2017. “for Colored Girls who’ve Considered Suicide While Surviving Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome (with Acknowledgements to Ntozake Shange and Dr. DeGruy)”. Performance Philosophy 3 (3):807-8.