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Tuesday
Apr072009

Somebody Declared A Black Culture War and Didn't Let Me Know About it- NAACP Endorses Tyler Perry

I am a bit irritated that Entertainment Weekly didn't give me credit for saying that there is a looming war in Black America between Black folks with common sense... and those without. THEY STOLE THIS FROM ME!!! :) This article is about Tyler Perry and his movies:
At a time when Barack Obama is presenting the world with a bold new image of black America, Perry is being slammed for filling his films with regressive, down-market archetypes. In many of his films there's a junkie prostitute, a malaprop-dropping uncle, and Madea, a tough-talking grandma the size of a linebacker (''Jemima the Hutt,'' one character calls her). ''Tyler keeps saying that Madea is based on black women he's known. [NO Comment]

Do y'all remember whent he NAACP protested The Color Purple? - A story about domestic violence and sexual abuse of women and girls? But they then turned around hand nominated R Kelly. Well now they are endorsing Tyler Perry's anti-professional Black woman propaganda... Why am I not surprised:
'And I know for a fact that they have helped, inspired, and encouraged millions of people.'' In truth, the films are laced with moral lessons trumpeting forgiveness and personal responsibility. ''He's not out there promoting gangster culture,'' says Vicangelo Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP's Hollywood bureau. ''If anything, he's trying to make us think about family values.''

If by family values, you mean promoting gun violence, illegal drug use, making Black women with advanced degrees villains, I guess some family has those values.
''All of his productions demonize educated, successful African-Americans,'' says Todd Boyd, professor of critical studies at USC School of Cinematic Arts. ''It's a demonization that has long existed in certain segments of the black community.''

BINGO. DING! DING! DING ! DING! DING!
In Madea Goes to Jail, for instance, the ambitious light-skinned female district attorney (Ion Overman) who puts Madea behind bars is not only a snob but a conniving, corrupt criminal. ..the pattern recurs in Perry's comedies: In Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the successful black businessman (Steve Harris) is a wife abuser, and in Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, the social-climbing mother-in-law (Lynn Whitfield) gets sneered at by Madea for committing the ultimate sin of trying to look ''bourgie,'' as in bourgeois.

I can't even hate Tyler Perry's hustle. Why not? because the professional Black folks he is demonizing aren't launching their own counter revolution. As long as we sit here whining and not producing the images we want to see, he'll keep walking straight to the bank because we will settle for anything because we are just "grateful" to see a Black face on the screen. The article goes on to show why Tyler is so powerful... BECAUSE HE HAS A MONOPOLY! That's why he can get some of the most acclaimed Black actresses to play roles in his movie... that may be the only chance they get.

There is no culture war. In order for there to be a war, two sides have to fight. There is no fight here. Only appeasement and retreat.

Reader Comments (88)

Creativity and self-directed expression are not qualities cultivated by traditional American education. Many of us have (justifiably) spent years in a system which taught us to be good workers for others.

It is a huge shift in consciousness to start thinking about and creating and promoting images and ideas for our own benefit.

The war is in process. I am thinking about the increasing numbers of Black women who are self-publishing and distributing their own books, selling their art and images in locally owned galleries, making viral films and distributing them online and on DVD, creating podcasts and putting them on iTunes, etc. We are out there.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeborah

wow, I thought I had issues, lol.

While I love reading the blogs on this site, sometimes you guys (gals), seem a little one-sided. I'm not a huge TP movie fan, however, I think generally, his movies are an accurate portrait of the black community. I do believe I've seen black men as laywers in his movies. I've seen black women as successful corporate accountants (Robin Givens) or loving mothers to their children. I've also seen whomever that dude was from the wire, go from a drug dealer to an upstanding system who took on drug dealers and opened his own legal auto shop. It's not always bad, but just like in real life, it's not always good. How realistic would that be?

I personally don't have a Madea in my family, but I know some that do. I'm proud of TP for taking control of his own destiny. As Deborah said, it should be more about empowering and inspiring black women [and men] to get get into ownership.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterundressingHER

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that maybe the general black community (not all of us) have no taste in art these days. From our music, tv and movies we easily go for the lowest common denominator. The fact that some of us are still watching VH1 and all their nonsense just makes me sick. I am truly shocked at how many folk are watching the Ray J show. And as for the silence of black professionals, they are silent b/c they are consuming this garbage too. Taking their mama and grandma to see Madea and they got Plies in their Ipod when they go to the gym.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

If we wanted to stop Tyler Perry, aren't we a wee bit too late here?

Did anyone notice his plays selling out, city to city, years ago?

Now he has plays, movies, and network television shows.

It's too late. Plus, if we're mad at his portrayals of us, then why are many of us his main consumers?

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwanda

Oooh, MSM is getting interesting!

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

I just don't watch television anymore. I don't own a TV. I don't care.

The only thing I will say in Tyler's defense is that his most intelligent film to date, Why Did I Get Married, featured several professional Black couples. It was also a film in which Madea wasn't included.

It's ironic that you hit on this today. I agree with most of what you've said, and so that you can see this I want to send you to read an open letter to Oprah that I posted today.

It's about Ludacris and Tyler Perry, and their parallels.

http://thismayconcernyou.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/48-oprah/

It is worth the read. Be sure to tell me what you think.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthismayconcernyou

While I have never been a fan of Tyler Perry plays. I do appreciate his movies. Instead of seeing him as demonizing black professionals, I see him as presenting a range of African American individuals. If there is anything to be learned by this current economic crisis is that criminal can don a suit and tie and rob you blind just as fast as someone with a gun in a dark alley. That's real.

Also while there are African American professionals who have traditionally been members of the middle-class, all of us are not. In fact, a lot of us are 2 or 3 checks away from the poor house. Given that, Perry's work resonates because some of us have Madeas in our families. We see them at holiday gatherings. We might be successful professionals but have sisters or brothers or cousins in jail, homeless or on drugs. We see them regularly too. Do we cut ourselves off from less fortunate relatives? Do we lecture them on the perils of their lifestyles?

Not to recognize our diversity as a group is as intellectually and artistically dishonest as say, showing all members of the bourgeois as mortally superior to those who are less well off or only showing the dignified poor.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

"I just don’t watch television anymore. I don’t own a TV. I don’t care." --black girl with long hair

Amen to that. When my analog tv dies in a few months, I am not replacing it. I have no subscription to satellite or cable. I feel there is nothing there for me. Absolutely nothing that is worth paying for.

I don't hate on TP, but I really wonder how successful he would be if he presented drama in another context. I still recall the critics (Black, white and other) who said The Cosby Show was not realistic, that no Black people really lived that way. Seeing a loving, progressive, crime-free Black family face conflict, solve problems, and be happy together was too much for some. Only after the show found a secure audience did the critics go silent.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeborah

I'm really going to have to rethink this blogging thing.

@wanda its never too late.

All I see are a bunch of people coming up with excuses to do absolutely NOTHING!

Which is kind of the point of the post.

So just sit back and watch and then complain.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

I agree with #6, Why Did I Get Married was good and God help me I cried at the scene where Janet and Malik talked about their dead child. I liked that movie.

There are parts and in some cases certain movies that are too over the top. I get that. I cringed at parts of Family Reunion and parts of Why Did I Get Married, but I will tell you, there are people like that, I've seen them, dealt with them and thankfully don't interact with them often. He is not dredging up people who do not exist.

I don't rent a TP film to see Fritz Lang-like directing or poignance. I go for a bit of escapism. TP films are like Romance Novels to Shakespeare, Dickens or Hurston. They're not THAT bad but they aren't great either or even on the same level.

I think there is space for TP and other directors. Most of the chick flicks that come out show weak as hell WW who are emotionally needy or vapid as hell. They aren't complaining because there's something for everybody and there's balance. I'm not saying that we shouldn't argue with his portrayals, I do think that instead of getting this guy out of there, we should focus more if not solely on cultivating better directors and ideas. That starts in encouraging our children's creativity from jump and helping them broaden their range. You can't make great, multi-dimensional movies if you have nothing to go off of.

And before anyone says that I'm aiming for the lowest common denominator, I'm a huge film fan. And there's room in my netflix queue for Tyler Perry just like there is for Fritz Lang, Akira Kurosawa and Hitchcock.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

You are right in that ‘it’s not a war’. That requires two opposing, battling entities.
This appears to be more like those totally awful, one-sided genocide type of situations.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUh Me-I Guess

While I haven't seen all of Bro. T.P.'s movies, what I have the most problem with is our people are very multidimensional and that's not always shown or explored.

I appreciate the fact that Bro. T.P. tries to have some sort of moral lesson in his flicks, but from Flip Wilson/Geraldine to the present, it's way pass time to end the man-dresses-like-woman thang. Enough already! PLEASE! Consistent Quality should always surpass consistent Quantity any time. :)

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRevMamaAfrika

Damnit, Gem! I'm a doctor, not a movie director! Some of us literally don't have time to start a media ventures. I don't support any of TP's media and I try to support non-foolish media, that's about all I can do.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZoopath

Uh Me,

You really think his flicks are genocide? LOL I don't think they are that bad.

Yes, most of us cannot do much about films right now but we can cultivate creativity and broaden horizons within our youth so that the future is better for them and there will be Black Demilles, Langs, more Lees and Black Spielbergs, etc.

Sometimes we forget there is a FUTURE worth fighting for and we wring our hands and give up. We may not see a darned thing change in this lifetime, but even the mightiest evergreens were seeds and saplings. The seed just had to be planted. In one way, that's more gratifying.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

Wow from reading the responses here, I can see why Goonette will be a great hit.

One person CAN make a difference. I have two specific cases for that, but one completely related to this post. Last year, there was a black gossip blog that posted a story about a number of blacks betraying Obama and all of their blackness by supporting Hillary Clinto for President.

In fact, the site went so far as to call a black woman whom I dearly respect, Dr. Maya Angelou a hoe. I read about the post on WAOD. I didn't even have to work too hard to get anymore information because Gina wa so kind to post the contact information for a number of wireless cell phone companies who advertised on the site. Since I was a customer of one of those companies, I politely contacted the Vice President for marketing and informed her that I would be willing to spend my 1500.00 a year elsewhere had the company chosen to remain in a marketing relationship with the black gossip blog. They obliged me that day and in fact prmised to review all of their internal practices to ensure that such an egregious oversight never happened again.

It can be done!!! Even with minimal effort, but SOMEONE has to be willing to put in the minimal effort. Think of Chinese waterdrip torture... you may not make an immediate impact, and it may just be a slow drip at a steady pace, but when it gets irritating enough folks will sell their momma to make it stop.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

BTW, I forgot to scream "Remember Goonette!"

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

I don't support his methods of success. I have no desire to see his movies, read his books or see his plays. His message is not one that I care to continue to carry on. Although he may represent some people, he represents no one I know or am close to. He has found his ninch and makes alot of money telling the same story that many live for free. Something about 'our' people, we like this mess...

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercinco

Apparently, gem's nuance went whoosh over some heads :). She clearly linked to themes that recur in his films.

I remember his plays coming to town when I was a teen.

It never occurred to me that this s*t (yeah) would leave the chitlin circuit.

I remember Madea jumping up & down in commercials... mordbidly obese with titties flapping and wig askew-screaming at the top of her lungs. If this reflects any aspect of your family...you've got some work to do at home.

FTR my mom said her granny was called Muhdear. She was skinny as rail.

FTR yes, I have a cousin that just got out. He works for his dad (entrepreneur whose black clientele/renters mistreat him). He knows better than to even think about bringing any foolishness to me. He knows that criminal foolishness is not a part of normal life, but an aberration from our family values that will not.be.tolerated. Luckily for him, he did not commit a violent crime. If he had done something a la WAOD, I would cut him loose w/o a thought.

There is a movie- Medicine for Melancholy-starring Wyatt Cenac (Daily Show). It's in some cities and on Demand (IFC). Black folks, no coonery. I wrote an email to my local indie theater making the case (artistically and financially) for why this film should be shown in DC. I posted in on FB and emailed the link to all friends (even non-Black ones).

If you can watch Madea. You can watch this.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaJane Galt

"@wanda its never too late"

Yes, I believe that is too late to stop the Tyler Perry freight train. Plus, as many of the comments here indicate, he has a loyal fan base.

HOWEVER, it is NEVER too late to create unique and wonderful art, without resorting to the most crass of images and content.

It is NEVER too late for us to be more demanding of what we consume, and cognizant of quality art that we reject.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwanda

Tyler does not have a monopoly, he doesn't own Lions Gate or Magic Johnson theatres. We just need to face it, this is the kind of entertainment is what the majority of our people like. And where I live a lot of the Hispanics love Madea too. He didn't get my $12 bucks but he got 40 million other dollars for Madea Goes to Jail. There is a market for him and Goonettes. And a lot of black folks who claim to be so bourgie are supporting it too. Most bourgie black folk are 1-2 generations out the projects.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

@LaJane Galt-

Do you have a fan or group page on FB? I'm in DC and would love to get together with a group of people to see Medicine for Melancholy.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSassyJ

I am amazed to hear that so many people on this website know someone like M'Dea and other negative characters so often portrayed in TP's movies. I am even more amazed to hear that so many people on this website think that because they know someone like one or more of these characters makes these characters a "realistic" portrait of the black community - you've turned the aberrant into the majority. So I take it that since one of you is almost certain to know a woman who is a "ho" or a "golddigger", then it's a realistic view of black womanhood and acceptable for rappers to make this the image of black women that is being sold and promoted around the world and in the minds of black youth. I find much of the response to Gina's post absolutely unbelievable! Either people don't understand Gina's point, or it really is too late for us. I've been reading on another website (Black Women Blow The Trumpet) about the need for black women to emotionally and physically divest from the black community, and many of you in your responses to this post are signalling the correctness and urgency of such divestment loud and clear.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

I thought that the fact that this argument against TP went onto MSM, that shows that there is a base big enough protesting his type of 'art'.

Nevertheless, the fact that his movies bring in so much money, shows there is a big base that is very pro- TP. (So, it would be expected that many would praise his movies even on this blog. Personally, I only saw YouTubes of his stuff).

Sounds like a war to me.

I also have a story out, but its not for the same TP "... for churchgoing, working-class black women, not urban hipsters (or tenured professors)." customer base the article says he has.

http://for-teens-and-tweens.blogspot.com/

I am sure there are many others trying.
Its on going.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

1. When you think about it, this really is an age old debate in our community.

Didn't DuBois criticize Zora Neal Hurston for her use of dialect?

Didn't the black middle-class at the time look down on jazz music and the blues? Remember this isn't just music, jazz and the blues, are often ranked among America's most important contributions to humanity.

Wait a minute, didn't those musical forms start on the chitlin' circuit?

2. I'm going to ruffle feathers but have you considered that some works by "real directors" or the non-Tyler Perrys aren't that good either. Look at Eve's Bayou. I remember when that movie came out in 1997 and I thought that it was probably the best "black" movie I had ever seen. No, I thought it was one of the best movies ever. Fast forward eleven years and now it seems amateurish-Southern gothic at its worst, full of cliches and stereotypes. I can't even watch it anymore. Let's not even talk about Daughters of the Dust. It’s more effective than Ambien?

Both movies suffer the same disease as other "black art films" AND “black literary fiction". There are weighted down by their pretentiousness.

If it comes down to a Tyler Perry movie or a movie directed by a blipster (aka black hipster) that I told to watch because I should, I'm giving my money to Perry because at the very least I know there will a happy ending and an uplifting message.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

GEM, there's still room on board that ark I told you about. All I can say is that maybe if we'd cut Eddie Murphy off at the knees after his 'jungle bitch' routine we never would've had to endure 'Norbit.' Then again, perhaps not.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

@sandra

M'dea like behavior in my family...

1. Aunt shot a husband dead after an argument, claimed self-defense
2. Another aunt shot into the house of a grown man who was sleeping with her teenage daughter
3. Another female relative beat her landlord with her cane (Why he stood there and let an elderly woman beat him up is beyond me?).
4. Another relative sold the house she was renting.

Despite all that I went to college and later graduate school, and like my cousins became a productive member of society. Do I criticize my family members and look down on family member? No, I love them for who they are.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I have not seen any TP plays or films. One reason is that I have found even watching the commericals unbearable. The loud squealing over weight granny is just painful to watch. I don't find them funny or entertaining...even in a low brow way. Low Brow humor can be funny... "The Water Boy" was funny.

I don't know if this is about class, I think to insinuate that it is....is insulting. I know plenty of poor people, less educated people, people who would not be mistaken for "bourgie" in any situation and NONE of them are loud, obese, formerly imprisoned, on the way to jail nor are they sellers or users of illegal substances.

There are black people who are NOT wealthy or ivy league educated...simply working poor people who live in a dignified way..care for their children, go to church, but homes, etc.

What I hate about TP is everything I have seen of his films are awful tired caricatures.

But the sad truth is too many of us believe those gross caricatures represent a fair percentage of our numbers...and we find them entertaining.

I remember growing up and watching "Sabado Gigante" on Telemundo...at least once a week in some comedy routine they would bring out a HUGE fat woman in tight brightly colored short dress and heels and have her dance with a much shorter skinny man. Sometimes a man would dress as a fat woman. EVERYTIME the audience would howl with laughter, falling out of chairs...holding their sides.

It would always amaze me. Is simply the sight of a overwieght woman really that funny?. ...still baffled.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknockoutchick

HOOORAY @ BlkSeaGoat!!!!

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknockoutchick

@ La Jane,

I did see postcards for "Medicine for Melancholy" at a few coffee shops in Chelsea...then nothing.

Thanks for putting it back in my head.

Peace

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknockoutchick

Seattle Slim,
Hi! How’s the weather been up there? Dang, how you handle all that rain, lol?
Now, back to the point.
LOL – I agree. If I was just referring to TP’s bad flicks that’s be WAY out of scale. I wasn’t.
My comment was in direct response to gem2001’s statement before mine. It’s been something observable for some time now from those of us on the “outside” who watch. I think gem2001 was referring to a much, much broader picture. The one that’s probably frustrating the hell out of her now.
It is (get out the flame throwers girls, ‘cause I’m goin’ “there”) … the maddening response from the majority of the “black community” (is that even a viable concept now?) to any and all problems is …
Blaming
Excusing
Therefore stagnation of any real positive action

Those who work for the continued undermining of black FEMALES (got that “dk”?) comes from within now. “Whitey” ain’t much of a threat to you all and doesn’t view you as a threat. You very simply have much larger problems than racism now. Like your own viability and survival.

(Note: If I’m wrong gem2001, feel free to flame me, lol)
(Second note: Just because I might say it DOES NOT mean I agree with it, like it or espouse it in any way. Some things are just what they are. Even if they are bad)

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUh Me-I Guess

Wow... you're actually quoting the infamous Todd Boyd? He's Michael Eric Dyson on steroids.

I'm surprised that Boyd took that position though. But I damn sure wouldn't quote him for anything. But then again...it could strengthen your argument...the fact that even Todd Boyd is saying this... is a reflection of how big of a problem Perry must be.

But I do agree with the post.... Perry is horrible for the image of Blacks. I've never seen any of his movies...and never will. The only way that will happen is by accident.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Angry Independent

Okay,

I am so severely troubled at the fact that some of the very same people who agreed that Goonette is a hot greasy mess are actually DEFENDING Tyler's caricatures of black women because they have reality as a template.

So what were Goonette and Bust It Baby? Those women degrading themselves were real! The way the each stripped and showed their nude and sime-nude butt cheeks way REAL! If you CANNOT accept Plies "admiration" for black women as a form of art, how the hell can you accept TP's?

Am I splitting hairs here? I fail to see how Madea, Rasputia, White Chicks, Geraldine, etc. are any less offensive than Bust it Baby, Goonette, or Shirley Q Liquor.

I am complete baffled by that.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

Sorry for the typos.

Okay,

I am so severely troubled at the fact that some of the very same people who agreed that Goonette is a hot greasy mess are actually DEFENDING Tyler’s caricatures of black women because they have reality as a template.

So what were Goonette and Bust It Baby? Those women degrading themselves were real! The way the each stripped and showed their nude and semi-nude butt cheeks was REAL! If you CANNOT accept Plies “admiration” for black women as a form of art, how the hell can you accept TP’s?

Am I splitting hairs here? I fail to see how Madea, Rasputia, White Chicks, Geraldine, etc. are any less offensive than Bust it Baby, Goonette, or Shirley Q Liquor.

I am completely baffled by that.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

Monica, sorry, but if my relatives behaved in the ways you've enumerated, I would criticize them not only to their faces but also to other family members to make it clear that this behavior is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE, is not to be imitated and will result in severe negative consequences (to themselves as well as to others, not to mention the reputation of their family). Whether or not I would continue to love them would depend on how close a relative the person is and what crime they had committed, and I would look down on their actions and perhaps also look down on them if they failed to acknowledge that their actions were wrong and if they failed to change. Loving people "for who they are" is not always a healthy kind of love if it condones bad behavior and discourages people from holding themselves to high standards. I'm glad you and your cousins are productive members of society in spite of what your relatives did. However, more often the story is opposite - people imitate what they see and live (Chris Brown, anyone?). Fortunately, I have not had any relatives who have done the things you've described or committed any crimes, and I like to think that is in large part because they have imitated what they saw and lived. And even if I had a relative who had engaged in such acts, I would never out of any kind of love allow their actions to establish a moral "norm" to be characterized as "realistic".

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Roslyn, save me a seat on that ark. But then again, it might not be that crowded.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Would you cut off relatives if they commited white collar crime? Should you castigate them in public if they embezzled millions of dollars from trusting shareholders. Do you really thing Stanley O'Neal, the black guy who was the CEO of Merrill Lynch and responsible for the policies that contributed to the financial diseaster is losing sleep now? Do you think his children are hanging their heads? Do you think Franklin Raines and his chlidren are hiding?

Do you think either one of those men did more damage to the aspirations of black people than Tyler Perry?

I think they did.

We won't decry their actions though. These men are firmly embedded in bougie-land.

Don't get it twisted. If my relative who swindled dude out of his house had the education and training, she would have thought bigger and stolen from more people. The only difference is as a member of black middle-class she would have been lauded as a pioneer.

(Point of all of this is to say that criminality lies with the individual and is independent of class.)

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Monica, excellent point. Even in high school I remember my dismay at finding out that the woman who wrote the masterpiece that is "There Eyes Were Watching God" died penniless and scorned for her use of vernacular and her writing by self-righteous and indignant people who for lack of having real progressive ideas, needed a scapegoat. That was a shame...

If I do recall in my post about Goonette, I mentioned that Black women are the main consumers for ALL things Plies related. Just go to his Myspace page. The guy racks 'em up like a hunter does game.

Plies DOES deserve a hell of a lot of indignation, but he's not putting guns to heads and making these women ACT a certain way.

What some of you fail to understand is that you are complaining about cures to ailments that have taken decades to foment and become a festering, noxious sore on Af-Am culture. In case you haven't noticed, the kids aren't getting a chance to be kids before they have their OWN kids. We can piss and moan about Tyler Perry all day, but he, like I have said so many times before, is NOT what ails you. But some of you want to scapegoat the guy as opposed to really confronting the real issue at hand.

If he is correct, and he did meet many people like those characters in his films, instead of asking WHY he chose to do a movie with them in mind, how about asking what can be done to reach those characters and educate them so they can lead productive lives and raise productive citizens. My mom always said PREVENTION is better than cure.

So knock yourselves out and get the guy out. THEN what? Some other kid will grow up with the same characters around him and make the films.

On the list of 99 problems, I would say that Tyler Perry is 99 or 98 because you have blacks killing each other over iPods and phones, you have black kids suffering from staggering rates of obesity, eating themselves into early graves, and if they survive, raising kids who will eat themselves into early graves; you have black women being physically abused by black men at alarming rates, embarassing education levels, etc.

You don't hear White people talking about Uwe Boll taking down their race and his movies are probably the worst ever made in the history of film.

Also, people tend to make films on emotions or things that they have experienced. If it was not authentic, it would probably show in his lack of sales or not (as witnessed by Michael Bay who made Transformers a ton of money but hated the series). If he makes money living from his experiences, so be it. Pissed about it? Write your own or create your own or MENTOR someone who can.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

@BlkSeaGoat,

I could care less why Tyler Perry picks Madea to be in his films because what I am really worried about is the fact that he's NOT far from reality. That's more alarming.

I may get heat for this but who cares. The difference between us and minorities is we like to pick at the SCAB more often than not, and ignore the illness within, the cancer if you will, that is really killing us slowly.

As a volunteer for the YMCA I had to deal with parents, and one mother was JUST like Madea. I loved her because I thought she was refreshingly real and nice, but I was bothered at the example she set for her kids. If I choose to write about this, my experience, does that make me a traitor? Does that make me some kind of wicked black people hater?

If you screwed with this woman, she would want to sue you. She ate herself probably obese and is collecting SSI but wants more. Worried about money but had a nice car and nice furniture, daughter had all the latest gear. Son was suicidal at not even teenage years, she cussed at them. Both children are also obese and I pray something happens so they can make it past 30. That's real isht. I tried to tutor the kids and even volunteered to help them get in shape, and the mother refused.

I'm not saying the guy is awesome. His films are cheesy but their escapist and they are nowhere NEAR as bad as Plies.

Actually, what is alarming about Goonette is not the fact that Plies came up with it. He was a moron from the first word came out his mouth. What IS alarming is the fact that women turned out in DROVES to degrade themselves for that shortstop bastard. That's the tragedy.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

@Monica...good points..it never ceases to amaze me how folk excuse major white collar criminals though they inflict more damage than many low level criminals.

SMH

On to the post...anytime I here folk say "just do it yourself" I laugh. Perry is an aberration(sp?). He wasn't accepted by the main stream...his first play flopped...he regrouped and went at it again.

He's not even respected in the film industry, couldn't get his first film made without his own cash and once again told folk to kiss his a**.

Same with the TV show. He got TBS to give him 100 episodes (syndication) right out the box. As bad as it is it is the highest rated show on TBS...ever.

Tyler is a damn good business man...and for reasons I still don't understand there are MILLIONS who liek his work.

There are plenty of black writers, directors and playwrights who are creating work and trying to get it out there, either on their own and through the mainstream and the work just isn't catching on...for whatever reason.

You can create all you want, but if folk aren't buying then you may carve out a niche that works for you, but may never be Tyler Perry.

August Wilson was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. Some of his work was even turned into movies...I guarantee you many black don't even know who he is.

The issue isn't that Tyler exists...the issue he is the only major voice out there....there are plenty others trying to get on his level. Whether they are successsful or not...who knows.

However, his business model is one to follow. We all could learn form that.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Sandra,

You said, "I find much of the response to Gina’s post absolutely unbelievable! Either people don’t understand Gina’s point, or it really is too late for us. I’ve been reading on another website (Black Women Blow The Trumpet) about the need for black women to emotionally and physically divest from the black community, and many of you in your responses to this post are signalling the correctness and urgency of such divestment loud and clear."</em.

Yes, Sandra. It's time to divest, and to get FAR away from confused Black people who support their own abasement and destruction. I wouldn't waste my mental energy debating with them. Just find (or build) an Ark.

A pile of dog feces is "real." This does not mean that I'm going to pay to see it, defend it, or lift it up as something worthy of support.

No other ethnic group demonizes its professional class. And it's not just Tyler Perry. We have a LONG history of doing this (just think about how the prosperous Black relatives were bizarrely stereotyped on the "Fresh Prince" show). No other ethnic group defends and celebrates only its most deranged elements.

This confused thinking is part of the reason why Blacks remain monolithically at, or near, the bottom of every conceivable social index.

Divest from Black residential areas (these places have NOT been actual "communities" for decades). Run for your life away from confused Blacks. Save yourself and your loved ones.

Get on the Ark!

Peace and blessings.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKhadija

Other ethnicities do not demonize their professional class? Really?

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

@roslyn

I tried the ark thing before. I was miserable. I started thinking about all the people who weren't in the Ark. Who were either too old or too young, or too uninformed to get in the Ark.

I completely respect the Ark however. Nature has given us two equally important instincts: Flight or Fight.

I would no more tell you to deny your instinct to flee than ignore my instinct to fight. But I will be evaluating how I spend my increasingly scarce time.

And Kadija, I'm too tired tonight, but I am going to work on a response to "Get on the Ark!"

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

While I prepare my response folks, by all means pack up to enter the Ark, but give me a moment to see if I can recruit at least one of you to stay behind and help build an air craft carrier. It takes more than one kind of boat to float.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

I don't think anyone here is making the guy to be freakin' Cameron. We're just saying that he is nothing but a scab, a harmless one at that.

You need to be worrying about the cancers affecting you, not the stupid, piddly little scab.

People like his movies for different reasons. That doesn't make them bad people. It's really not that serious.

I wonder how many black folks were irritated when they watched the black films that never made it to Hollywood?

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

And might I add that the self-righteousness behind building an ark and leaving all of your brothers and sisters. Everyone is okay with calling a bunch of companies helmed by white folks who don't give a damn, but when it comes time to really get tough, nobody's is tough enough to get going.

I call it cowardice. Instead of trying to make a change, people talk about running for the hills.

This is not a life or death situation. I mean, we ARE talking about Tyler Perry right? And for every portrayal that you find is a caricature or insulting, there are five real people doing some serious damage to the souls and minds of black folks in the streets by killing each other, poisoning each other through drugs or damaging the youth in a variety of ways.

Madea is not real. It is a man in drag. That is it. No different than RuPaul. Why are we worried about this guy again?

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Slim

Gina,

I tried the "stay and fight" thing in previous years, so I understand and respect your decision to continue doing that. Finally, I realized that most Black folks have (at minimum) a passive investment in maintaining the status quo. This is why so many commenters rush in to defend/excuse whatever status quo mess you discuss in your posts.

As the comments on this thread illustrate, anyone who wants to stay and fight will have to fight the majority of our people.

While you're contemplating your response to "Get on the Ark," let me point out a few concerns that I have for others who are considering remaining behind to fight.

Those who remain behind in Rwanda-zones...err, Black residential areas... are in more physical danger than most of us care to acknowledge. We like to pretend that our residential areas are still communities. We have grown so numb to constant casualty counts that many of us block out the fact that we could be NEXT.

Entering, hanging around, and living in Black residential areas greatly increases the odds of a would-be fighter being NEXT to lose their life. Especially since most of us who want to be helpful are strongly anti-firearms. I still remember the video you showed on one post that featured the security tape of several Black "youths" trying to kick in the door to invade a Black woman's home. They weren't able to get into her fortress-like home; but I praise God that she was armed.

Second, it concerns me that, for the most part, the ones who feel obligated (guilt tripped?) into staying to fight and thereby needlessly risking their lives are Black women. On a patriarchal planet, women should not have to be on the front lines fighting. Respectfully, I believe that the masses of Black women taking on the warrior role is a large part of our collective problem. We are suffering the consequences of women trying to carry (mostly by themselves) what's supposed to be men's burdens.

In fact, Black women are being broken under the weight of carrying the entire race's issues on our backs. I need not go into how, with the exception of the Nation of Islam, a disproportionate number of the "foot soldiers" for Black organizations are Black women.

It's long past time for Black women to lay other folks' burdens down, and save their own lives.

Peace and blessings.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKhadija

@Seattle Slim, I spent most of my life fighting until eventually I got an effing clue. I spent the eighties trying to save young men in the gang wars. I spent the nineties trying to save young women and girls from sexual predators, and I spent the first half of this decade putting those perps in jail whenever and however I could.

Then like Paul on the road to Damascus I had an Epiphany. We're not being saved, we're simply turning into pillars of salt. Get on the ark, or don't get on the ark, I really don't give two good goddamns, but don't you dare try to guilt trip me into staying in a community where those I have tried to save would just as soon rip my throat out and leave my baby to starve. I will save my own life, and if other choose to stay behind that's on them.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

As far as to whether Tyler Perry is important or not I think most fail to see the big picture. He is emblematic of the reckless disregard that the so-called black community has for black women. We're to ignore this blatant insult because there are 'more important issues.' Eff that, because as a sociologist I can tell you that imagery is important. That rhyme sticks and stones is a misnomer, and here's why. Before you can destroy a people you must first depersonalize them, strip them of their humanity. The people in Rwanda didn't suddenly start hacking their neighbors to death with machetes. The media was used to indoctrinate them into the notion that they were less than human and thus suitable to be slaughtered.

Surely you've seen the propaganda films the Nazis used against people in Germany. Even criminals employ a similar technique: Their victims are never people, they're marks, johns, pigeons, stupes. Anything but human. These names like goonette, imagery like Madea, Rasputia and the like tell the world that black women aren't human. That we're available as prey. They rob us of our humanity and thus place us in greater danger.

For want of a nail a shoe was lost...We ignore these 'small insults' to our peril. We allow those who would rob us of our humanity and thus our lives to flourish and we are complicit in our own destruction. This is always as it has been with black women. And this is why our girls are not now and never will be safe in our so-called communities. We don't care enough to do what is uncomfortable. If your right eye offend thee cut it out. The Bible is hard taskmaster, too bad so many people are only Sunday morning Christians.

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

I'm flabbergasted by some of the responsts to this post. I'll come back tomorrow and elabrate.

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTasha212

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