Alfre Woodard Redefines Black Motherhood On Screen In ‘Juanita’

In the 1982 televised version of Ntozake Shange’s classic choreopoem For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf, Alfre Woodard plays the Woman In Green. At one point her character, who incidentally, calls herself Juanita, declares, “This is a woman’s trip. I need my stuff back!” The play on which that televised adaptation was based, was one of the first in the world to center the lives, experiences, beauty, femininity, and stories of Black women.

In Woodard’s newest film, Netflix’s Juanita, she plays the titular character, a Black woman, nurse and single mother of three adult children, who is  ridding herself of as much emotional baggage as she’s able to, and going on a journey of self actualization. Woodard describes Juanita as, “The coming of age of a woman of a certain age story.” 

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