Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Maddening Race. . .


I know, trust me, I know it's been a long while since I've written on my blog.  And I thank each and every one of you for inquiring about the new novel and thus and such, and again, I apologize the book hasn't come out yet.  My only explanation is life happened and I think that's enough stated.  I'm looking at releasing SILENT KNIGHT by the end of December or out by the first of 2011. 

But, the reason for my blog today, is not so much for the new novel, which is important, but I want to jump on the wagon regarding Tyler Perry's latest film, FOR COLORED GIRLS.  Oookay, you probably have some idea where this is going, or so you like to think?

I had the fortunate pleasure of being in the company of many of my New Kensington friends at a gathering last weekend, and I got to talk with men and women regarding Tyler's latest film.  Needless to say, everybody in the place had something to say about this movie, and before you ask, no I have not seen it yet, nor have I read the book or saw the play~~so no, I can't say much about it, but of course I still have an opinion~~you knew that was coming, right?

What I found most interesting are the men that have been so vocal about FCG.  Vocal really isn't the word, angry is more like it.  I've spoken to several men that said they are sick and tired of Tyler always doing these movies wherein they are portrayed as negative images.  I can't tell you how many men I've heard say this.  It's becoming so large, the media has even focused its attention to this very sensitive matter.

"Why are all Tyler Perry's plays and movies always showing black men as dogs and dirty and just plain no good?"  Well, from an artist point of view, which I am, I understand perfectly why Tyler "appears" to write these types of films and/or plays, although Tyler did not write FCG.  It's because as a writer, YOU write what you know.  And what makes him or us an authority on this, it's because it's what we've witnessed.

NOTE TO MY BROTHERS:  As much as you will most likely disagree with me, I have to say, if the image you're seeing is hitting a little too close to home, it could be because a lot of you are guilty of what you see up on the screen.  Not all black men are bad, nor are all black men good.  The bottom line, my brothas, there are good and evil in all races, not just ours.  I'm using our race to speak upon, because it seems to be on the minds of many African-Americans, and I just want to add my two cents in the mix.

Case in point, I started out in a two-parent household~~A married union that brought about two children.  Things didn't work out between my parents and they divorced.  My brother and I saw our dad a lot in the early stages after the divorce, and then, dad no longer was prevalent in our lives.  He went his way, and left my mother to raise us on her own.

Was that the fault of ours, hell no, but left my father did, just like so many other black children out here living that reality.  Some of our fathers are in prison, many are dead, and thousands are just deadbeat and have dropped off of the face of the grid.  That does something to a child no matter how strong a woman is.  There's a reason why we have parents (plural).  It took two of you to create your family, but unfortunately, it doesn't always remain that way.

My father leaving left one hell of a mark on me.  It shaped my opinion on how I viewed men.  It caused me to be discriminate toward light skin brothas because I associated their color with him.  I thought all light skin brothas were monsters, just pure evil men that bring children to the world, and then leave them.  YOU have no idea how that shaped my writing view.  It wasn't until decades later I was able to build a friendship with my father, and lots of praying to God to help me melt the anger I felt toward him away.

In Tyler's defense, his humble beginnings were no bowl of cherries either.  He's spoken very openly and honestly about his abuse and his upbringing.  And the actions of what you see some black men do to you, especially in the formative years, shapes and molds you as the artist you will one day be, if writing is your outlet.  So, Tyler writes what he's seen and have witnessed, the same as I do.  I will never hold that against him, for if I did, I'd be a hypocrite, which I pride myself on NOT being. 

But my brothas one thing you have to remember, in all Tyler's workings, there are good and bad men.  Not every single man in his productions are bad.  Every movie usually has a good character and a villain, and Tyler's works are no different.

AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, while watching his work, if you identify with the good men in the film, then why the hell do you care how the bad men are being portrayed?  If that's not YOU, then why would you get upset over the work he's doing.  Hey, if you want to complain about you're tired of the same type of stuff he writes, okay I can give you that, but to get upset over images you say don't accurately portray you, I can't let you have that.

I identify with every character I've seen in Tyler's movies whether they be male or female, light or dark skin.  It's ART plain and simple my brothas.  Don't pop your collar over his latest chick flick, because let's face it, at the end of the day, that's what this movie is.

I will leave you with some food for thought:  If it really bothers you to see Tyler's black male characters portrayed so negatively, then YOU need to do all you can to make sure you're not the type of brother he may display in one of his characters.  If you don't want to be depicted negatively, then DON'T do the types of things you see often in many black films, not just Tyler's.

And yes, there are some bad African-American women out here too.  Men are not alone.  Some of us females can be a real damn trip~~but my brothas, don't get caught up in this mess about being portrayed badly.  What I hope this accomplishes is that it makes you realize how many writers view the black male, and again, NOT all of you.  Change the image so we writers can view some of you differently!

So, the next time you see a black film that shows a bad black male, just make sure YOU aren't being what you see up on screen.  Prove writers wrong.  Prove Hollywood wrong~~and then we can focus on more important issues, other than race!

I wish you good health and great reading!  Chill brothas it's really not that serious!