I just watched a round table interview on Black men’s reactions to ‘For Colored Girls.’ There seems to be a consensus that Black men don’t like how they are portrayed in the movie. I’ve even heard it extended to all of Tyler Perry’s movies. I personally don’t think this is a ‘Black’ men issue, but a ‘men’ issue period. Most women think men of all races today are dogs. We still love them, but we don’t trust them.
This interview stated that White men are portrayed more diversely in movies. Of course they are. How many different White movie studios and producers are there? If you toss dice enough times you’ll eventually get the number you want. How many Black studios do you know? How many current Black producers? How many Black films come out a year? We can’t rest the portrayal of the whole Black race on one man. If we had more Black movies out a year, we’d have a more realistic picture of Black men. Overall he portrays our culture as church going, hard working people. I can’t find fault with that. If I know one of his movies has content I don’t want to see, then I don’t go see it.
When an artist works on his piece, whether it is writing, music or art, it’s personal. No artist creates without putting a piece of him or herself into their work. We’ve now all heard of Tyler Perry’s upbringing, so I’m sure that affects his writing and the work he chooses to do. It’s his right. His movie. His way of expressing himself. I don’t think it’s fair to him to tell him to express himself differently because we don’t like his portrayal of us. If that’s the way you want to play it, then it’s all our responsibility to make sure our Black neighbors are portraying themselves in a way that wouldn’t embarrass the rest of us. You tell that teenage boy to pull his jeans up over his drawers. You tell that group of high school girls on the train to stop cursing like fishmongers. You tell your neighbor to stop cheating on his wife. Why don’t you tell the rappers not to portray Black men as gang bangers who don’t care about anything but making easy money, flashy cars and strippers? How would you like all that responsibility laid solely on your shoulders?