Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Writer, lecturer and editor Toni Morrison is front and center in director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary full of anecdotal childhood exploits before she reshaped American literature by telling the stories before others tell them for her. What sets her apart is a deep love of the power of language stemming from her youngest days when she realized words could make others angry. In novels such as Sula, Beloved and The Bluest Eye, Morrison wrote with owl-like wisdom of black experiences sans the usual “white gaze” that caricatured her world to the point that black women were not taken seriously. Accused by The New York Times, no less, of being “too good a writer to restrict herself to the world of black characters,” her stint at book publisher Random House gave her the opportunity to bring Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali to print, leading to her being praised as “the pedestrian Shakespeare centered on the friendships of women and everyday life rather than royalty.” Her importance is discussed by Oprah Winfrey, Walter Mosley and Fran Lebowitz.