What I Just Learned from Tyler Perry

Black women are inherently crazy.

Just got done watching Why Did I Get Married Too? and I spent the whole two miserable, mind-numbing hours - which I can never get back - wondering why the hell none of these bitches could just shut the hell up and calm the fuck down.

While I love Angela (Tasha Smith), the Queen of Crazy, because she was amusing as hell in the first movie, she came off as next-level psycho in this one.  She was tracking her hubby's mileage and his pulse, demanding the passcode to his phone - the whole crazy nine yards because she was just soooooooo afraid he'd leave her.  She was also mad that he had a good job, making mad money, during a goddamn recession.  Say what?

In the first movie, when Dianne (Sharon Leal) wanted to focus on her career, clearly didn't want to have any more kids, and got her tubes tied without talking to her husband first - who kept insisting on having another child - I knew that marriage needed to end prontito.  I was hoping she'd move her ass into a fabulous high-rise in the city and get her groove back, but nooooo...she got coerced into undoing her surgery and finally gave birth the boy her husband really wanted all along.

No wonder she started having an emotional affair with another man.

Patricia (Janet Jackson) dethroned Angela with her bout of crazy.  Smashing perfectly good, beautiful shit in her own house made no damn sense to me.  All because her hubby wanted some extra dough during the divorce.  Um...Fashion Tip from Moi: when you're finally about to get rid of someone you haven't seriously cared about for the last 14 years, give them the money so they can get gone.  She wasn't starving.  Of all the women in the group she had the most money, so what the fuck?

And why does she get rewarded with The Rock at the end after indirectly killing her husband a year earlier?  WTF?  Clearly she is a career woman.  As we learned in the first film, marriage and kids ain't for her.  What the fuck does she need another man for, especially when we know good and well she's not going to tell him how the last one really died?

Now...Sheila (Jill Scott) really disappointed me in this film; I rely on her to be the voice of reason.  She made her hubby quit a perfectly good job during a recession so they could move to Atlanta and drown in debt and go to the Bahamas, and yet couldn't seem to understand why a level-headed, rational man like her husband was deeply concerned about money.  She also platonically reconnected with her unfaithful, abusive ex-husband because he has cancer, doesn't want to rot in hell when he dies, and so hooks her new hubby up with a job.

Y'all, I'm old school.  Our ancestors were a hell of a lot more reasonable than we are.  They rolled with the punches and went with the flow.  Right now, in this economic climate, some of the dumbest things you can do are get married, buy a house, and have some kids.  If you are not already a comfortable millionaire, these things are not for you.  As it was with our ancestors, it's no different from living through a famine, drought, or plague - or all three.  Adding kids and marriage to the situation like that is impractical and stress-baiting (not to mention extremely unfair to the children).

At work, I spoke with an East Indian client who asked me where I was from.  When I said Cameroon, he got excited and said he was from Zambia, and spoke of all the other African countries he traveled to.  He said he never made it to Cameroon, but had met several Cameroonians whom he considered a very polite and civilized people.  Then out of the blue, he added that he'd been married - to the same woman - for 61 years (it was his lead-in to discouraging me from marrying an American guy).

Needless to say, I was floored.

We need to let the propaganda fantasy go.  Marriages don't last like that anymore.  Some men will blame "modern women" and "women's rights", and they are partially correct, 'cause  no, we don't mindlessly, helplessly, short-sightedly cling to men anymore.  Some of us aren't even interested in men in the first place.  I mean, yes, it's great when two people can stay together that long, and we can ooh and ahh over them all we want, but the truth is that for women, there are always those questions we don't dare ask aloud: "Is she happy?  Does she have any regrets about not getting to do more with her life than being a wife and mother?  Did she even enjoy becoming a mother?"

This is one of the reasons I want Tyler Perry to shut the fuck up, come out of the closet, and stop trying to reprogram the modern black woman.  Yes, his movies are successful.  They're funny, the casts are predominantly POC, the women are dark-skinned and thick-bodied, and in the case of movies like this, the Black characters are educated, polished, and occupationally successful.  So yes, he totally gets kudos for that.  But I'm beginning to think that's "the lure" or the trade-off, because ultimate the message I get is, "Yes, the dark, thick, successful black woman is beautiful and desirable and deserves to be worshipped onscreen, but come hell or highwater, she also has to be a heterosexual, church-going wife and mother who always puts her husband's needs and wants first.  If he wants kids, sex on a daily basis, home-cooked meals, AND for her to make extra six-figure income, well by golly she just needs to shut the fuck up and comply."

I mean, what the hell is that?

Why can't Perry just show us a happily divorced/never married, educated, professional woman who's enjoying the single life? Dianne and Patricia would've been perfect examples about how though marriage is not for everyone, it's not the end of the fucking world.

Films like these don't help men either, mind you.  They set men up for a huge disappointment.  Because if their wives are earning six figures, then that means their jobs are draining, exhausting, and time-consuming, so the odds of their cooking, breeding, and sexing on the regular is highly fucking unlikely.

Negroes, I go to work every day and earn five figures.  When I get home, I'm tired as fuck, I don't answer the phone, and I don't even want to cook dinner.  I just want to pour a vodka-based drink and watch some Star Trek.  I sure as hell don't want to go anywhere and waste my precious gas.  My big claim to fame on the weekends right now is getting to sleep in, on my queen-sized bed, and not have to share my covers with anyone.  So when my mother asks when I'm going to give her grandchildren, or the Eldest Sis keeps hinting that I need to shackle myself to some man, all I can think is: not having the kind of dough I want, being stressed/tired all the time, and watching the economy steadily tank do not make me want to seek out someone (who's most likely in the same situation), so that I'll end up having to care about his problems too - fuck that.

Here endeth the rant.

Comments

  1. I'm just gonna leave this right here:

    http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/793911.html

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  2. That homophobia-ridden scene at the end - what WAS that all about? All I could think was, "That poor actor does NOT deserve this. Perry was wrong to take advantage like this. And the cast co-signed? Um, Janet...how many beautiful gay man do you own thanks for making your videos and stages shows the awesomeness that they were?"

    I know I'm late to the table, but goddamn...WTF is this? Why is it so hard to film us without fucking it up?

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  3. Me and one of my friends always make a joke in refrence to this movie. Whenever something bad happens one of us says, "Oh, don't worry! I'm sure The Rock will pop up in five minutes and make everything better!" That's all I'm going to say about that sequel.

    I have a very love/hate relationship with Tyler Perry. I enjoy some of his movies, and I love him for all of the positive reasons you listed. His movies are so problematic, though. i'm always on the fence with him.

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  4. It was like in case there was any doubt that the movie was fucked up, this one scene is going to make sure it drives home the point.

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  5. Let me not forget the control issues.

    Many women want to control what happens to them. If a woman doesn't want to have kids, and announces it, that's not the world's cue to try change her goddamn mind - this is similar to what Amaya and I have been saying on other posts. If not having kids is where I stand, I'm not letting a man know this so he can try to convert me. I'm letting him know where I stand so that he'll know where I stand. If I don't want kids, I don't want kids - end of story. Men who want kids thus need not apply. If you wanna have kids, then motherfucker speak up so we can break up and move onto some more compatible shit!

    And this is why precisely why Perry's positive points feel suspect to me. It's like he's encouraging to go forth and achieve, but at the same time to always remember our place and not get too uppity and try to make some big decisions.

    Did you know that if you're a woman who's under the age of 21, you're not allowed to get your tubes tied? A bet a woman didn't come up with that law!

    Furthermore, the she-met-a-man-at-the-last-moment-and-lived-happily-ever-after shit has to go. Give us a smoking hot lesbian. Show us a happy single gal who has 5-6 different steamy relationships with varying ethnicities - maybe alternating between men and women - all in one movie that ends with her being single and happily going home to a silent, empty apartment. Is that too much to ask for?

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  6. The only Tyler Perry movie I've seen was "Diary of a Mad Black Woman." After watching it, I wanted to swallow a whole bottle of sleeping pills and take a nap. After that, I stayed away from anything Perry had a part in whether it's an acting part or creative part.

    Maybe not all of Perry's film follow the same formulas we see in at least two of his films, but I honestly see elements of what Hollywood has been showing the masses for decades.

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  7. "Black [career] women are inherently crazy." Especially Sanaa Lathan's character from The Family That Preys. Wow, that woman had no redeeming trait whatsoever. You know it's bad when a female character gets backhanded over the counter by her husband, and I go, "Dude? If you didn't do it, I would have!". >_< I'd like to see ONE career woman in his films, main character at that, who isn't a selfish, manipulative, evil bitch. So far, the vibe I'm getting from 'Family', and Why Did I get Married is Powerful Black Career Woman = Ball-busting, Psycho C-U-Next-Tuesday.

    I haven't seen WDIGM2, but I've been reading very mixed reviews on it since its debut. Also, the only thing I wanted to known was whether or not Mike caught AIDS from the jump-off, and died. I guess that wasn't the case.

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  8. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for you to talk about Tyler Perry and especially, this movie. The last fifteen minutes or so was so disturbing. The gay man in the cake and Gavin's death (Patricia's murder of him) and her whole little moment with The Rock (her next victim) pretty much (nearly) ended my relationship with Tyler Perry. His movies are just too conflicting for me.

    And I absolutely love your comment on marriage. When I say things like that, people just disregard me as young and naive. "Oh you'll change your mind once your thirty/biological clock starts ticking/whatever other bullshit reason I can come up with". And I very well could change my mind ten years down the line.

    However, I would appreciate it if I wasn't treated like someone who can't make her own life decisions. Or that people stop assuming that all women want marriage and kids. Or that all women will have a baby-crazy period when they turn a certain age. But I know that's about as likely as me finally going to the moon so...

    I just want to pour a vodka-based drink and watch some Star Trek.

    Replace vodka with whiskey and Star Trek with Doctor Who and you and I are on the same page.

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  9. Tashabilities8/7/11, 3:29 AM

    All of you are better people than I, cause I absolutely refuse to watch anything TP creates or stars in.

    The trailers and promos, plus everything y'all have said here--which I've heard countless times before--let me know I'm not his intended audience.

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  10. "Black [career] women are inherently crazy."

    You're right. Sheila the housewife was too sugary sweet and stupid to be crazy. And the only thing keeping Dianne sane was an affair.

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  11. You know its funny, but a friend of mine said watching some of his films you might think all black women and families are crazy. I have happily single hard working people in my family and people who are happily married with kids, and I've never seen the level of nuts that occurs in some of his films. I get that there's humor and all that but sometimes I wish the media would show that some single black women are happy and successful that way and don't want more, instead of crazy desperate and nuts. And that some black women are happily married with kids living in loving calm relationships, not loud, obnoxious, and overwhelming women who are exhausting and too much work to bother being with.

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  12. I have had the misfortune of seeing 2 of Tyler Perry's movies. Diary of a Mad Black woman and the one where Sanaa Lathan is positively awful.

    What I really disliked about the latter, and what seems to be a recurrent theme based on what others have written here, is that Tyler Perry likes to definitely put down the educated, black career woman who wishes to have agency over her life and choices for herself. He makes the rest of her character repugnant to viewers.

    The whole thing reads like those awful Essence articles that basically say, get over yourself black lady neurosurgeon, marry the janitor who dropped out of middle school. Stop being so uppity. Take what's left over after the white women have their pick of the professional black men. So I've read articles that describe PhDs married to middle school drop outs, or homeless men (In college, one of my friends dated a homeless guy. And considering where we went to school, that was such a surreal thing to watch, I can barely believe it happened all of these years later.)

    Sanaa Lathan's character was awful, but she was also a woman who had make the mistake of marrying someone that was not well-suited for her and her ambitions. Tyler Perry made her good ambitions (money, savings, stability, education) evil by having her chase a married white man and squirreling away part of her good paycheck. But it was also terribly wrong for her husband to take all of her money to start his business, and that move made me think that had it been left up to him, that nest egg would have never existed (and not just because he wasn't earning much). Having a "relationship" with a married man was stupid. Having a relatinoship with educated man who happens to be white is not. I dislike the implied correlation that he loves to make.

    I felt as if that move was something that you'd hear from one of those black megachurch pastors...this idea that a man, no matter what his abilities, should get to make major decisions in the household, and that you should do things that don't make good sense or that you do not want to do because your man wants to (because you know, how's a brother supposed to get ahead if you are so "unsupportive"?)

    So I don't like this idea that a woman who wants to work hard, build financial security, go beyond just basic education, and find someone who shares those traits is "bad" and it doesn't ever seem like women like that get to be nice in his films.

    The nice girl is the non-uppity black girl who knows her place (wasn't Sanaa Lathan's sister in the movie still blue collar and happily married to a blue collar guy). The nice girl is the housewife who makes it her job to build a fantasy life for her husband (yes, that worked out so well for Elise Neal in Diary of a Mad Black Woman).

    But the nice girl is not the academically and financially successful black girl who really wants to find an equally educated and financially successful black man, and then who resents her life when she settles for less than that.

    Your views on what is important might vary, but I have a problem with the idea that a black woman is not supposed to want or expect these things, esp. when non-black women who do NOT have these things are allowed to openly covet them and reject men who don't measure up. I just feel that a non-black hairdresser trolling for surgeons isn't going to be "put in her place" that she is being uppity and doesn't "deserve" those things. And I especially have a problem when the people telling you that you don't deserve anything you want are other black people.

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  13. @ Nicthommi

    But the nice girl is not the academically and financially successful black girl who really wants to find an equally educated and financially successful black man, and then who resents her life when she settles for less than that.

    You nailed the very reason why I haven't been able to get into TP's films.

    Another thing...why is that only black/black-looking men need apply? Where are the films encouraging BW to date out, travel, and experience new worlds? Why does the [good] rich, eloquent black woman have to stick with the church and the cornbread and the strictly all-black circle of family and friends?

    Secondly, we need to discuss the issue of colorism in TP's films. His reputed fetish for lighter-skinned, "better behaved" black men is a valid criticism. First with Shemar Moore in DOAMBW and now with The Rock in WDIGM2.

    Gavin's death carried the message of: just kill the evil dark-skinned man in your life and replace him with a lighter-skinned one.

    Hell, I liked Gavin. He was the most reasonable, calm, drama-free dude on the set. He faithfully stuck it out with his woman for 14 years after things went downhill for them - that's love and sacrifice, y'all.

    I would've rather seen Tyler Perry's character and the Mike character die in a car crash instead.

    I wanted to see "The Family that Preys" but after what people have been saying about my main girl Sanaa, I'm like, "Fuck it." No need to raise the blood pressure over that hot-buttered mess.

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  14. Nicthommi - In my mind, Taraji's character in 'Family' was Jimminy Cricket. Apart from being the Good Girl/Conscience, she didn't have any other development (seriously - apart from standing by her husband, the only thing I ever heard from her is when she's cussing her sister out. Hell, the movie started with her cussing her sister out!).

    I believe I would have enjoyed the movie more if he focused squarely on the friendship between the two family matriarchs. How did two women from two very different walks of life get to become close, genuine friends AND maintain that strong bond over decades? That's what I wanted to know. Their squabbling offspring just got in the way for me.

    As for his light-skinned man fetish, Meet The Browns beat that nail even harder. Deadbeat, shiftless baby daddy? Dark-skinned, and mostly Afro-featured. Knight in Shining Armor? The 'Good Skin and Good Haired' Rick Fox. He's not even being subtle about it.

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  15. Yeah, I didn't approve of the physical abuse dealt to Sanaa's character in "The Family That Preys." I've seen MANY TP stage plays on DVD and his movies. Only one movie has promoted an interracial relationship, and I believe Taraji P. Henson played the black woman in that relationship. But of course she had to be converted into a woman who cared about children, after being forced to take care of them, among other things.

    I saw TP's most recent movie and I swear every since young black female character had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It made absolutely no sense. And all the black guys were typically painted in a more sympathetic light despite the fact that they obviously did not know how to pick suitable mates, were extremely weak and I guess symbols of the only kind of men that could possibly love these crazy-ass black women.

    And I felt bad for the mother character. I feel like she shouldn't have had to suffer such poor offspring. She could have taken a vacation somewhere and spent her last few days alone and in peace. It didn't make sense for her to have such ornery children, unless this is supposed to reflect on her somehow.

    I feel like these movies are specifically for black female bashing and black female hate propaganda. The recent movie, "Medea's Happy Family" or something, deviated a little from the stage play. In the stage play, there is one character who is a good young black woman who is church-going and sweet to the mother character. But apparently her only flaw is that she doesn't have a man. SMH. Girl doesn't even care about having a man but everyone else in her family wants her to get hitched. That character is not in the movie and the doctor, who was her love interest in the play, does nothing other than doctor the mother character. So, it confirms for me this propaganda that they couldn't even keep the one black woman who was "genuinely good" despite the so-called flaw of not having a man.

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  16. You know, I didn't see the movie that had the Rock in it, and since I've only seen two, didn't pick up on it, but Steve Harris was the "evil" dark-skinned husband in Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

    I think I also meant to include the fact that Tyler Perry implies that the failures of black men are somehow our responsibility. So I'm not supposed to remind anyone about the fact that he dropped out of school, and I should "let" him feel important and possibly buy a business for him so he can "feel like a man." The idea that a black woman should carry and coddle her adult partner like she would a child is insane. I know women who have been financially ruined by this ridiculous logic. I'll let my bus driver husband manage my 6 or 7 figure nest egg so he can feel like a man. I'll let him spend as much of my paycheck as his wants b/c it is "our" money. I've seen women who had homes and savings lose both after marrying men like this and letting them "run" the house.

    Considering how many black women struggle to raise black boys on their own, I REALLY dislike the implication that grown women are supposed to continue to carry the load that so many men opted out of.

    Yes, I think making Sanaa's white lover totally reprehensible was another way Tyler Perry drives home the point that we have no right to look out, and if we do, we will be thrown away like trash. B/c he created the storyline that the man was the father of Sanaa's baby that he then refused/denied. So it was see uppity black lady, the white man will knock you up and abandon you(bad parallel to slave times) but let's be honest, the 70% of black babies born out of wedlock, and the large portion of those babies whose fathers are also physically and emotionally absent are not whtie men.

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  17. I feel like these movies are specifically for black female bashing and black female hate propaganda.

    Exactly. It's coded humor, and we are the punchline.

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  18. What could be the basis for Tyler Perry, as a black man who isn't light-skinned, to be setting up this dichotomy between light and dark-skinned men?
    I mean, my facile (and snarky) answer would be that TP likes redbone men...
    But I think I'm used to black men presenting the lighter-skinned black woman as the symbol of black pulchritude.
    He does seem to have all kinds of issues with black women though.
    It's like every excuse black men make for dating non-black woman is done to death in TP's movies.

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  19. Ankh, you already know WHERE I STAND with THIS. I don't support TP. I only saw 2 films and I'm not about to put any more of my hard-earned paycheck in his motherfucking pocket. I can't relate to the women in his movies because I'm happily-single-no-child-wanting-educated-and-taking-good-care-of-myself and they do not reflect my life, my world or my universe. Or that of the women I know.

    Tyler makes things that much worse for us and I don't care if he is a black man doing his thing in Hollywhatthehell,or that I may be lambasted by my own kind for saying this, but I cannot and will not support a MAN who has warped images/perceptions of black women. And that closeted motherfucker does.

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  20. What could be the basis for Tyler Perry, as a black man who isn't light-skinned, to be setting up this dichotomy between light and dark-skinned men?

    TP is a closet case.

    I can't relate to the women in his movies

    Bingo - who the hell are these women? Which upper middle class black women behave like this?

    Professional black women such as myself and others are reserved, as in we don't want other people in our business. We aren't going to cuss out an S.O. at work. We're not going to smash everything in the house we invested in, thereby causing a ruckus which would invite the po-po.

    These women strike me as privileged, out-of-touch white women dipped in Southern chocolate with a side of fried chicken, living on Lifetime Street.

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  21. So what are we to say about Tyler Perry? He's ridiculously rich in Hollywood. How's does a black man become ridiculously rich in Hollywood?

    He certainly is not making movies that uplift and empower black people, much less black women.
    He perpetuates the divisions between the black sexes in his ridiculous movies, and I refuse to sit through them and pick and choose any redeeming qualities from the overall mess that are his movies.
    Not only that, his movies also perpetuate the racist stereotypes of the black church, which is nearly complete as many young black people can't think of the black church without characterizing it in some stereotypical way. We have forgotten what the black church has meant to us in our struggles, and that is how they want it.

    So Tyler Perry is a persona non grata in my world. I've decided that today. I wish he would close up shop on movie making, and open up shop on male survivors of sexual abuse. Be the voice -- Oprah already set that up for you, follow through and heal your self.

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  22. These women strike me as privileged, out-of-touch white women dipped in Southern chocolate with a side of fried chicken, living on Lifetime Street.

    LMAO! Yes Thank You! That being said, these women are obviously caricatures. And poorly drawn ones at that.

    Real men don't need their women to be submissive to them in order to affirm their masculinity. That's for weak ass men period.

    As far as TP being in the closet....LOL well that's not confirmed. He recently said in an interview that he had a pregnancy scare with an unnamed/unknown woman that is totally not made up to dispel rumors. So... according to him- he's strait...*cough*

    We all KNOW he's probably bi/homosexual but for whatever reason he wants to be seen as strait which is his business. Whoever he lets shake his martini is no concern of mine.

    However his apparent homophobia is just...unnecessary. I watch WDIGM2 at work one night when I was bored and...he needs to go to film school. Now that he has the money. The tired tropes/formulas for his movies are so played out.

    TP seems to have a bad case of class insecurity/colorism/homophobia(?). Every artist's work is colored by their experiences/perceptions. I don't think the black community has more homophobia than any other. We're just more open about it, truth be told.

    That being said I respect old school values, even if I don't agree with them and think they are pretty incompatible with life as it's lived today. I also realize many women are perfectly happy just being mothers. It's one of the most important jobs a person can do in their lives.

    So... why don't Men who want THOSE women, go find those women. Wherever they are. I never understood the need to scorn what you obviously don't want?

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