Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Do I Keep Reading Movie Reviews?

It's only going to piss me off. So, for whatever reason today, I opted to find a few "mainstream" reviews of Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" And of course, it pissed me completely off.
First and foremost, let me clear up the comment made yesterday that this wouldn't be an Academy Award contender. I said that because this movie was written, produced and directed by black folks and did not have any of our brothers and sisters degrading themselves or portraying a criminal lifestyle.
It seems that the only time our folks get recognized for cinematic achievements is when they play ex-slaves, bums, rogue cops, maids and a step down from crack whores.
Granted Jaime Foxx and Jennifer Hudson won, but he won for his outstanding portrayal in a biopic and she won playing a character, Effie, who was the classic stereotypical Sapphire personality.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sapphire, according to the Arte Sana Web site, Sapphire is described as an African American woman portrayed as evil, bitchy, stubborn and hateful. In other words, what we call ghetto or 'hood, that is Sapphire. Think those chicken headed girls on VH1's "The Flavor of Love" and you'll have the perfect example.
Now, because the characters in Perry's film were educated and had very high skilled and high paying professions, he won't be receiving many accolades outside of the African American community.
I read on my classmate Eb the Celeb's Renaissance Black Woman blog, http://renaissanceblackwoman.blogspot.com/2007/09/blog-post.html, that VH1 was considering a reality TV show about interracial couples but they were looking for a black woman with, for the lack of a better term, some sense and they couldn't get the show green lighted.
With that said, she posed the question of whether or not America was ready for an educated black woman. I think the downplaying and the outright disrespect for Perry's film goes above and beyond to prove that America is not ready because it doesn't want to be ready.
America has grown comfortable with seeing minorities as one-dimensional. How often do you see black folks in movies where their characters remain true to themselves and life in the suburbs at the same time? How ofter do you see movies with Hispanics where their characters don't have on tropical print shirts wearing their hair slicked down or wearing long sleeve flannel shirts with one button done and tattoos? How often do you see Arabs or Asians in movies where they don't own the convenience stores?
Having a hard time aren't you? You know why? The people green lighting these films have absolutely NO idea of what goes on in the world outside of their own. Their only contact with minorities is through the eyes of the screenwriters who have been known to change their stories so that producers will make the movies.
I'm not saying they are wrong for making some money, I am saying that the gatekeepers are wrong for putting only one dimensional characters out there. Can the Hollywood Higher Ups get a clue?!
In the past 10 years, we have seen feature films like, "Love Jones," "Two Can Play That Game," "Hav Plenty," "The Wood," "The Best Man," "Love & Basketball" and "Brown Sugar." All decent films in their own right, but I guarantee you I can link them all with no more than two degrees of separation. If you think about it for a minute, you can too. I won't waste your time doing it, but if you care to challenge me, I'd be more than happy to oblige you in the comment section.
What I'm trying to say is Hollywood sees our movies and characters so one-dimensionally (is that a word) that they can't even give us more actors and actresses to play the parts. One of the main reasons Perry's films take beatings is because he goes against a lot of the cliches of "urban" films and uses a plethora of talented actors. He brings out a story the entire family can enjoy and he touches on subjects that need to have families and friends talking.
So bottom line, leave the man alone. He's anointed and he's been appointed. You can't mess with God's children and get away with it.
Besides, the only time we're going to get the recognition we deserve is if we come up with some sort of Academy of our own that recognizes achievement in minority cinema anyway. Don't believe me, look at the folks who make up the academy and then look at the folks to get nominated and then tell me that it's all equal.
Humph ...

2 comments:

Ebonne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eb the Celeb said...

hey girlie... can you take my full name off this post... its showing up in google searches... thx