Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Monday!

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.



Anonymous said...

FIRST!! Colored People!!!

Anonymous said...

i mean FIRST!!! People of Color who rock!!

phillygrl said...


Stef said...


Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU for this post!

and I LOVED For Colored Girls by the way, jus sayin :)

DMoe said...

B -

Amazing how we can't even celebrate ourselves without some in-fighting on some level.

I love black people, but damn...we somethin' else.

If a woman doesn't deem herself magnificent, how in the world can she ever be the amazing YOU will need?

I think people's Tyler Perry beef has some other levels, but personally, I'm learning.

As a kid, I was dragged to this play by my parents, so I'm familiar with the "...for colored girls" subject matter.

I applaud Perry's efforts to grow as a filmmaker, and trying his hand at something in the artistic direction like this project. Meanwhile, any departures from the grandma in the dress that'll curse you out, or pull a gun on the family is cool with me.

Then again, Tyler's reachin "Oprah and Michael" status. Its a bunch of people you cant say NOTHIN bad about in front of people. Meanwhile, films will be critiqued a million times over. Fortunately for him, he's made a bunch that have resonated amongst us, and the larger film world has taken notice...


Rameer The Circumstance said...

If you had men putting up statuses dissing "Black Girls Rock"...I'm going to go with the theory they're either insecure nincompoops or have a touch of acute bitchassness. Who could be mad at the concept of that program or the need for it?!?

As for Tyler Perry...

Look. I don't think I go as hard as SOME guys on Perry. But there are a million reasons I can see why men don't like Tyler Perry flicks. Some of these are (though let me be clear - I don't have ALL of the same issues with Perry, but I may hold some): a man dressing like a woman constantly and making a fool of himself; the overwhelming amount of men who "ain't sh*t" or have some major problems; the fact that the men are the source of pain and agony constantly in these films; the tendency for the bad Black men to be of darker hue most times than the "good men" who save the day; the preachiness; the fact that these themes and and storylines consistently appeals to and are embraced by most women and don't seem to have elements many men would like; and the overwhelming undercurrent of despair and f'd up things the lead female characters have to go through in order to reach salvation in most of these movies.

This convo has come up A LOT over the years. And I have to say...if you ever saw that episode of "The Boondocks", it was like Aaron McGruder had listened to a convo I had or something. Personally, I can't get past the damn-near cooning that occurs in some of these films and the unnecessary hijinks - why can't we have a film just start out from the beginning with a decent message instead of everything is f'd up underneath the surface??? But that's a problem I have with MANY BLACK FILMS, not just Tyler's. To be honest, my typical response when someone asks me - especially a woman - about Tyler Perry is "I'm not a fan of his". I just try to leave it at that with most, cuz people will argue you down about your preference or taste, and I know at this point that I just don't like his stuff.

Rameer The Circumstance said...

But I HAVE heard things and read things from men and women about this new film. Yes, it's not his work, but it's not lost on many that he chose subject matter where only ONE BLACK MAN is remotely decent. I'm sure this has to do with Tyler's abuse as a child - he's said in interviews that fuels a lot of his projects and how he writes his characters - but in the on-going gender wars that ramp up in all communities, it's only to be expected that no group of men or women want to go support, like or see anything they feel is bashing them or is used as a tool to bash them.

I LOVED TLC's song "No Scrubs". Still like it to this day. But once Bommshaqueefa and 'dem got a hold of it and used it as a "I'm pointing at ALL YOU NEGROES" song in the club, I knew A LOT of dudes who hated that ish and started hating on TLC. Song never bothered me; it doesn't APPLY to me. But I saw men get pissed. Likewise, I know a lot of women who don't like those viral videos between the Black men and women circulating (there are male and female versions, but I know plenty of women who get upset about the male point-of-view versions). I again respond - if that's not you, why are you getting upset? But that doesn't matter with some of the women I know; they see it as bashing.

No one likes to feel bashed or targeted. And truth is, there are a lot of ignorant people who can make a worthy piece of work feel like crap...I loved Waiting To Exhale when I first saw it, but my opinion admittedly changed once it came on cable and on home video and the more ignorant women in our community used it as a "Negroes ain't spit" tool to talk ish. I was cool when it was educated, progressive, normal women who had seen it and just talked about it being good, when Bonequesha got to it - my opinion kind of changed.

Anyways...that's just me trying to explain why SOME guys may not like Perry or his stuff. My issue is more about the coonery and underlying things...but I do agree with a few things here and there that other guys take issue with.

Jay said...

I don't get the beef with Tyler Perry either. While I don't run to the theater every time a movie of his come out, I don't see the need to hate on him. Too many times we think Oprah, or Tyler or Spike should speak for ALL black people. They're artists free to do what they please, and we can choose to support them or not support them. I don't deem these people as my spokesperson any more than I do Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. I don't need a "leader" to speak for me.

As for Black Girls Rock, I thought that was a great message to put ou there, regardless of the network it was on. I'm skeptical when BET does something, but I judge each program on its own merit, not simply reputation. I'll give it a try. People are free not to, but that's what makes us all different. We should be able to be positive and uplift each other without always agreeing.

Great post B. I love my Black women, and I'll lift you up and love you any day.

Rameer The Circumstance said...

And BTW - I LOVED the book and play when I saw it when I was young. But I've no interest in seeing Tyler's movie - I'm just not a fan of his stuff. And that's okay - we don't all have to like or indulge in the same things.

I'll lose nothing if I don't see it. Hell, I haven't even seen AVATAR - and I don't feel like I've missed a damn thing.

And that flick came WITH MY PHONE, PRE-LOADED...lolz! Still ain't watched!

Courtney said...


I know men who like or love a movie like For Colored Girls or Waiting to Exhale, and then it's ruined for them because of ignorant women. But I think that's wrong. Just like all men are not no good dogs, not all women are like Boomquesha, so some artists work needs to be judged for what it is, not for who takes it and uses it to fuel their misery.

I can see, based on some things you said, why PEOPLE wouldn't like a Tyler Perry in particular. But like Brooke said, in almost all of his movies, if not ALL, there is a good black man who winds up winning in the end. Idris Elba was a good guy who wanted to take care of his kids in Daddy's Little Girls...and he was darker skinned. I'm not saying Aaron McGruder didn't have anything to spoof, because he did, but not ALL of his movies are the same. I think Brooke's point is, if you haven't seen all of his movies, you can't always make a blanket statement. Most men I know who hate on Tyler Perry have NEVER seen any of his movies. That to me, is ignorant.

Black Girls Rock was a fun show. And Iyanla Vanzant and Ruby Dee took my breath away. How any man can hate on that message makes me think he hates his mother or his sister, or doesn't, never had or ever will have a good relationship with a woman - no matter the race.

Great post Brooke!

The Cable Guy said...

I like DMoe's point about celebrating ourselves. He's right - how can Black women be great if they don't believe they are...and if we don't tell them they are? Any man who thought the Black Girls Rock special was stupid is a jackass who isn't worthy of a Black woman's praise. A Black woman's love is the greatest gift on the face of the planet.

As for Tyler Perry, who cares? After watching him on Oprah, how he produces his movies makes total sense. His story isn't mine, so maybe I can't relate...but I can understand why he'd tell his stories from a feminist point of view. His aunt was the strong Madea character that saved him from an abusive father. I'm sure there are hundreds or thousands of men who can relate to his story, and that's fine. I have no beef with him. If anything, even if I can't relate to his movies, I respect that he at least tries to put forth a positive message, employs black actors via his films and tv shows, and has his own studio and is making a name for himself. We don't beef with Spike Lee the way we do with Tyler Perry, but not all his movies paint a great picture of Black men either. But because Spike doesn't put on a dress, we give him a pass. Just like Jay and Rameer said, it's not just Tyler Perry. We just like to single him out because we don't relate to him.

Brooke, you rock! But you already knew that...and you already know that I'll big up you and all the great women on this blog on the regular :)

Rameer The Circumstance said...

@ Courtney - I agree, it is wrong to let others ruin something for you - but its REALITY. I don't let the Boomqueshas ruin things for me nowadays, but as a young adult, they certainly had that effect on me for Waiting To Exhale. I eventually liked the film as I originally did, but for a short period - couldn't stand it because of what was attached to it by so many.

And that's human nature. I know everyone isn't like me; that what others say and do has a large influence over how we feel about something. So I believe it's unrealistic if a lot of women - or men - use something to get their crab on, that it won't effect other people and leave a sour taste in their mouths.

I agree that many men who crab about Perry haven't seen his work. I HAVE. Not a fan. But for the sake of argument, I will say this - everything doesn't NEED to be seen or experienced to know if you like it. Example - I don't like coffee. I have it a million different ways, a million different varieties - I don't LIKE that ish. So when someone tries to get me to "just try it" or "try it this way - it's different", I'm going to trust MY instinct over what they're trying to force me to like.

Or, a better, more relevant example - when Driving Miss Daisy was released to the public, I saw the trailers, read the plot, heard what people said - both whom liked and disliked it - and decided it was some ol' BULLCRAP. So I made up my mind not to see it. Over the years, people hit me with that "how can you know if you haven't watched it?" line. Eventually, one day, it came on TV...and I watched it.

It was so much more WORSE than I could've imagined. No, really. It was like TEN TIMES WORSE than I THOUGHT it would be. I'm getting a bit pissed at just the thought of it right now. And part of what pissed me off was letting people convince me to check out something my instincts KNEW wouldn't be something I would like. I was incredibly offended and incensed...very few films have enraged me that much.

So while this is no defense for the majority of men who I think are just bashing Tyler just to bash him...let's not assume that people can't look at something, find out the particulars, and know it's not for them. My girlfriend will NEVER LIKE ZOMBIE MOVIES. No matter how I try to package them, or what the spin on one is - it's simply not her thing. She doesn't need to watch Dawn Of The Dead to "give it a chance".

But I DO hear you, Courtney.

Yolanda said...

I think Tyler Perry's personal story has overshadowed his work in many ways. So now, people judge everything he does with a skeptical "humph, he did that cuz he was abused and he has daddy issues" side eye. It's sad to say but I think subconsciously, a lot of folks really think that. Like the man can't take an original piece THAT HE DID NOT WRITE and make a movie out of it without putting his personal issues into it. I gaurantee you, you will not have the top-notch actresses that this film has withoutnone of them saying something if this film took too harsh of a turn in one direction that they felt was over the top. I saw the film before it opened and Phylicia Rashad addressed the male bashing issues that she knew would arise: first, she said after she got on set, Tyler's vision for her character changed and improved once he saw her living in that character. Secondly, she said this film is about the responsibility that WE women have in our own life choices. Yes, there are some scumbags in this film, as there are in life. But this film is about women, our rise, our fall, our journeys...and our responsibility to be better for ourselves and our families. Evertything can't be blamed on a man. To simply focus on the men and how they come across in the film is taking the power from the dynamic women in this project.

In short: it ain't always about y'all!

Courtney said...


I wasn't suggesting you give his movies a try. I don't like horror flicks, and never will. So I get what you're saying. But you've at least seen ONE Tyler Perry movie to form your opinion. The men I know who hate Tyler Perry have never even seen a trailer. They just think they SHOULD hate Tyler Perry because all other men do. That's what I can't stand.

Courtney said...

By the way, that performance by Jill Scott, Ledisi, Marsha and Kelly Price gave me chills!!!

Stef said...


I agree completely, you said it perfectly. Thank you for that comment, because that's how I feel, I just couldn't articulate it the way you did. Awesome!

Yolanda said...

Thanks Stef. When I first heard Tyler was doing the movie, I thought, oh shizz, please don't let Madea be one of these colored girls. I was prepared not to like it (I tend to roam among the Tyler Perry skeptics) but I was pleasantly surprised.

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Yolanda - I'm not bashing his new flick. As I said, I haven't seen it, but loved the book and play. I have no interest in seeing it, cuz I'm not a Tyler Perry fan. But then again, I also have no intention of seeing Twilight movies, cuz I don't like that ish either.

But regardless if the film isn't "about men"...when a film comes from a guy who has the perception of having negative portrayals of Black men in previous films, and lo and behold - here's ANOTHER film when the Black men in it ain't SPIT...well, human nature dictates that you're going to make some men upset. And they'll like him even LESS because of it.

Courtney - I agree with you, I really do. So many men just have jumped on the "I hate Tyler" bandwagon. I don't think it'll ever change at this point...he's like Michael Vick is to white pet owners - nothing he ever says or does will be good enough.

You want to know my BIGGEST issue with this film, y'all??

Why do WE (in general) go FLOODING to movies with horrible subject matter, but things that are of a more positive slant get ignored?? I DETEST that about my community. Akeelah & The Bee was on this weekend - my girl was watching it on Lifetime - and I lamented how no one went to see it, even though it had a much more positive slant than say For Colored Girls or Precious. Sure, things weren't all rosy in that film, but it wasn't anywhere NEAR as depressing in content, subject matter and presentation as the aforementioned films.

It's like we're addicted to embracing coonery, buffoonery, or utter misery in terms of "entertainment" and sayign that something is "really GOOD". We'll never have a film like Roll Bounce (say what you want, but the film was POSITIVE) or The Preacher's Wife get any acclaim or notoriety, cuz we're too bust loving any film where someone is beaten or raped.

I grew up hard and poor. I don't need to continuously see the stories of some of my neighbors to find a movie worthy.

Just my 75 cents.

Jaz said...

Everyone said it all, great post Brooke!

And that performance was AMAZING!

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Excuse the typos...ugh.

Yolanda said...

I get what you're saying Rameer. I wasn't addressing your comments, just the overall backlash about the man bashing, but not your words directly. I agree, we don't flock to see positive films, nor is there the same advertising money always behind positive films (Akeelah and the Bee not included because Starbucks pumped good money into that). I just think the original For Colored Girls work kinda called for there to be some involvement from less than stellar men and Tyler did stick to that. Maybe the critique should be 'should he have taken more artistic license overall and sought to re-write or modernize the choreopoem for more balance?' But then, would it still be the same work? I don't know the answers but at least people are reading: all copies of the book are GONE from my county's entire library system... There's a wait list. And people are talking about something other than some rapper going to jail. So, it's a plus in my eyes.

Im sure film classes will have fun with this one...

(sorry for any typos, I'm on a touchscreen)

Yolanda said...

Oh, another thing... What will Tyler do next?

He damn sure can't go back to Madea after this...

*snaps neck, folds arms*

Brooke said...

I bet he can and will :-) LOL!

...maybe he should just leave her for his plays :)

I'm going to see For Colored Girls on the 20th, so I'll let you know what I think.

Serena W. said...

I know I'm a day late but this performance rocked and was so inspiring. It sent chills up and down my spine as these soulful sistas took a classic song and did it justice!


Haven't seen the movie For Colored Girls but I plan on it soooooon!

Brooke thanks for posting this video on your blog and Facebook yesterday!

spchrist said...

Great awards show and even better movie. No matter what Tyler Perry does...his haters are going to grown and he just might be the one laughing all the way to the bank.

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