Unless you’ve living on a deserted island, had your head in the sand over the past few weeks, or just didn’t visit any one of the 100’s of web-sites geared toward the African-American market, I am quite sure you heard about the “uproar” in the Black male community over the latest movie by Tyler Perry entitled For Colored Girls. This new updated version of “Hollywood/Tyler Perry Hates Black Men” sentiment harkened me way back to my sophomore year in high school when a little movie called The Color Purple (which coincidentally just had its 25th Anniversary special on Oprah) hit the screen. I was like, “Wow, same song, just 25 years later!” Just as things were back in the mid-80’s with The Color Purple, brotha’s were UPSET over their portrayal in For Colored Girls (as many of my brethren are about most Tyler Perry films, yet our anger and disgust was/is pretty much non-existent when the discussion of the numerous movies/reality shows/videos that denigrate BLACK WOMEN are brought to the table…but I digress).
The truth of the matter is that, I don’t want to debate the validity on the claim that all Tyler Perry movies denigrate or don’t denigrate Black Men, nor I’m I here to make the argument that The Color Purple did (did not do) the same thing 25 years ago. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t; personally I enjoy a couple of Mr. Perry’s movies (especially Daddy’s Little Girls) although his tv shows are a bit too coonish for my tastes. And when it comes to The Color Purple? Well, easily on my Top 5 all-time movie list. But my question to all of the men out there is: For Colored Girls?? Seriously!?! THIS is what it takes to get us “mobilized”, fired up and pissed off!? When did a handful of movies by Tyler Perry become Public Enemy #1 in the minds of Black Men? When did a movie other than let’s say “Birth of a Nation” become the apocalypse? When did we as men lose our way and get off the beaten path to find ourselves in this predicament? I mean, c’mon when did we become so damn sensitive? Better yet, when did we take our eye off the ball to the point where a movie could actually define who we are as men, husbands, and fathers?
With all the issues we face in our community none of this Hollywood or celebrity dribble should EVER crack our Kasey Kasem Billboard Top 100 countdown! At the end of the day, does criticizing and being up in arms about a handful of movies address our failing schools? Graduation rates? Poverty? Teen pregnancy? Foster children? Single parent households? NO, it surely does not! Sorry my brothers, we do not have the luxury of wasting our time, energy, and talents complaining about such nonsense. Our families and our communities expect & demand better of us (notice I said US!).
Do I have all the answers? NOPE! But, we must start somewhere, and if that means at minimum reclaiming our households, so be it. It is paramount for us not to just be present in the lives of our children and our spouses/significant others, but we must also be active and engaged as well. It was just this past weekend when I literally lost count on how many little Black faces I saw at a holiday event for kids; plenty of Mothers, Sisters, Aunts, and Grandmothers, but I could count the number of Black Men on one hand. And don’t get me started on the countless times I hear brotha’s say, “I have to babysit my kids today.” Um, Babysit? You don’t babysit YOUR kids! There is a mentality that many of us can’t shake, and it’s about time we did. Ask yourself, when was the last time you went to your child’s school, read them a book, gave them a bath, feed them dinner, took them to the doctor, or picked them up from karate class? If you can’t answer any of those questions correctly, then I’m talking to you. And before you ask, “Well, aren’t you a stay-at-home Dad? So obviously you have plenty of time to do all of this?” it’s not about being home all the time, because trust me I was at school, doctors appointments, bath time, etc… before I was laid-off. It’s about making time for what is TRULY important.
I can hear the choir now, “Yo Bruh, you need to get off your soap box!” Well, maybe I do, BUT me getting off of my soap box isn’t going to change our collective state of affairs is it? For years, our priorities have been all out of whack and now, somehow, a handful of movies are to blame for our lot in life? I’m not buying it! The fact is the poor choices we have been making are now coming back to bite us in the a%^. It’s time for us to stop blaming the messenger and get to work earning the respect of our wives and our children. Leave the trivial nonsense/blogging of being “dissed” in a movie to others and let’s get to work fellas. It’s due time, and time is way past due…
Next time on Real Talk Wednesday’s, “Boy, I Just Said NO!”