I’m pretty sure about half of the Black women in America have seen Tyler Perry‘s rendition of the 1975 play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” by Ntozake Shange to movie.
I LOVED the movie! It was artistic, creative and highlighted some of the negative things that affects a Black woman’s life.
But, while I liked the movie, I have heard some complaints, mainly from Black Men, who argue that the movie puts them in a negative light.
Courtland Milloy, from the Washington Post, didn’t hesitate to spew out his hatred for the the movie in his blog post entitled For Black Men Who Have Considered Suicide After Watching Another Tyler Perry Movie:
Can anyone name a movie that came out recently starring a black man who wasn’t a sociopath? Someone who had a terrific screen presence, like a young Paul Robeson? And he portrayed a character who was complex and fully drawn? Did he respect black women, too?
Anybody see that movie? I didn’t. But surely it’s out there somewhere, right? An alternative to those Tyler Perry films portraying black men as Satan’s gift to black women? But where is it?
And that was the first two paragraphs in his post! Milloy goes on to say that directors–but he really meant Tyler Perry– has flooded the movie industry with negative stereotypes of black men. And even when another columnist stated that the movie was Oscar worthy, Milloy reacted:
Oscar for what?
In the category for best infection of a black woman with a sexually transmitted disease that renders her infertile. . . . And the winner is: black man.
For best down-low, double-dealing husband who has sex with wife while sneaking around having sex with men on the streets. . . . And the winner is: black man.
For best portrayal of a guy who at first seems nice but turns out to be a rapist. . . . And the winner is – OMG, his third of the night – black man!
He was pretty irritated by the fact that Tyler Perry may just have an Oscar under his belt by basing his whole movie on the negative stereotypes of black men.
But, look at it this way.
Black women have had to fight our share of stereotypes in the media. From the Mammy caricature–a sexless, overweight, smiling and docile black lady to the Sapphire caricature–the loud, overbearing and rude chick… We’ve fought it.
We’ve fought the stereotypes of us being nothing but sexual objects as well–the Jezebel caricature.
And how? By talking to our daughters, mothers and sisters. Starting organizations like Black Girls Rock!. And by, many of us, taking on the issue of race and color by blogs, Facebook, Twitter and various other social media mediums.
So, why haven’t men fought it? Why haven’t our Black men done award ceremonies, organizations or anything like that?
Food for thought–If you want something to change, do something about it. The hurt Black women feel comes from somewhere …There is a high percentage of Black children are born without a father…. There are more Black men in prisons then any other ethnicity…
If you want change, start a GRASSROOT mission. Start changing the minds of the women who believe these stereotypes. Because it’s not the just the way Hollywood sees you, it’s the way we women see you.
Eugene Kane from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it best in his blog post:
It’s hard to imagine how any community with major problems involving education, crime and poverty can improve without stronger relationships between men and women, which in turn lead to stronger families and more stable households.
That’s an issue that can only be addressed from within by both sexes.
Arguing about how a Hollywood movie depicts fictional black men seems awfully silly when there’s so much more at stake in real life.