Monday, November 8, 2010
Now before you think that this is another endorsement for Tyler Perry’s new flick, hear me out. I haven’t seen For Colored Girls yet. I’ve tried to stay away from all the spoilers and blogs posted on Facebook so I can form my own opinion. I know many of my friends - both male and female - liked the film…if not LOVED it. But I will decide for myself.
That being said, what I DON’T get, are all the men who seemingly hate Tyler Perry. I’m not saying, even for a second, that black people – male or female – SHOULD like or support him. I understand that his films are not for everyone and that some don’t find Madea the least bit funny. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about him.
But why do some Black men hate him so much? I hear from Black men that they feel as if his films bash men. But if any man has ever seen any of his films, there is usually, if not always, a GOOD black man for every bad one. Usually, the Black women are the ones who need to be enlightened by a strong, Black man. Usually, the Black man “rescues” the Black woman. If anything, I think the women are usually portrayed as needy, lost, Christian women who don’t know what to do with themselves until the good, Black man shows them the error of their ways. You can argue his movies are a bit corny, unrealistic, a bit "fairytale'ish", formulaic, cookie cutter or too preachy. But male bashing? I just don't see that...but that’s just MY take on it.
Now, since I haven’t seen For Colored Girls, I won’t say men don’t have a reason to be upset. But what I find puzzling is the backlash of the film from men who haven’t seen the movie yet. Even if you’ve seen every Tyler Perry film up until this one, why decide that you hate this particular film before you’ve even seen it? After all, this film isn’t Tyler Perry’s story, it’s Ntozake Shange’s story that he’s adapted to film. So if the content has your boxers in a bunch, just remember, he is telling the story through his lens…but it’s still not his story. Some feel that this story didn’t need to be told, but that’s another blog for another day. Either way, go see the film before you decide to be one of the many men who have considered suicide BEFORE seeing a Tyler Perry movie.
What I also found puzzling was the backlash from some men on The Black Girls Rock BET Special last night. While I will be the first to admit that I don’t normally watch BET, I tuned in to the second hour of this special last night. I loved this performance by Kelly Price, Jill Scott, Ledisi and Marsha Ambrosius.
But what I also loved were the honorees – KeKe Palmer, Iyanla Vanzant and Ruby Dee just to name a few. All of the women honored were women who have paved the way for others, made tremendous strides in their career or are trailblazers in their industry. While one could probably find a million things wrong with the production itself, the idea that “Black Girls Rock” was a positive one. So why hate on that? How can anyone criticize that message? Especially Black men?
With the onslaught of images and messages out there that paint the picture that we’re “un-date able,” “un-marriageable,” “hopelessly single,” “doomed to be unwed mothers,” “not pretty enough,” or “not good enough” – the LAST thing we need to get is the impression from our men that they co-sign that nonsense. The Facebook statuses I read last night from some Black men in my news feed made my heart ache – “Why are they doing this stupid show?” “Who are these women?” “Black girls rock? Really?” “This is wack!”
I just don’t get it.
Most men I know expect…hell, they DEMAND…to be treated like the Kings that they are (or think they are), yet have no problem tearing a woman down. The words “bitches” and “hoes” flow from their mouths freely, but expect women to bow down and kiss their feet simply because they have a penis. They’ll say we have an “attitude” or “that’s why I date ‘insert other race here’ women.” It’s hurtful. It says to us that we can’t even rely on our own men to support and love us…let alone the “rest” of the world.
And that’s why specials like Black Women Rock should exist - because if no one else believes it, at least WE should. If no one else will “big us up,” then we’ll do it ourselves. If no one else tells us that we rock, we’ll tell ourselves. And how can that inspiring vision from Ms. Bond be viewed as a negative thing?
Men, sometimes everything isn’t always about you. Oprah doesn’t have to have rappers on her show. Tyler Perry can tell a story from a feminist point of view if he wants to, and Black girls can rock without your hostility. Turn from Oprah and don’t go see any Tyler Perry films. But support your women. Tell her she’s awesome every chance you get. Don’t first think to criticize your (or any) woman when you also have the choice to uplift her. It would just be nice to have your encouragement once in a while. I'm not talking to ALL of you...just a few...
While I know some of you think that there are no good women out there who “deserve” your support, there are women out there who believe that there are no good men out there who deserve our support either…but we give it anyway. Not all of us leave a theater after seeing a "Black girl movie" wanting to bite your head off. Most good women know the difference between a movie and real life. We know that great Black men exist. Not all of us are bitches, hoes, skanks, baby mamas, attitude havin’ wenches not worthy of your praise. We carry our communities on our shoulders daily, so let us stand on yours for a change…and lift us up proudly. Tell us we rock…show us that you love us.