Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Worse than Fox News and Pajamas Media? Yes, it's Tyler Perry...


I'll just repeat what many have been buzzing about over the weekend. Yes, Madea him-(er...herself), king (er...queen) of chitlins entertainment, is set to direct a screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange's classic...seminal...pivotal play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” Read a little on movieweb here. Proving that contrary to Kanye's Katrina, George Bush cares more about black people than movie execs and financiers. Oh we are all bammas anyway, right?

News flash: BET is planning to redo August Wilson's Pulitzer winning plays featuring Perry's character"Brown."

14 comments:

Sunflower Jones said...

Say it ain't so!! Actually, I am going to be optimistic. Maybe he will do a wonderful job and the experience will inspire him to produce and write some more complex scripts...

restaurant refugee said...

This is insulting on its face. Studio execs are essentially saying that they could put any old piece of excrement on a screen and as long as it has some black characters enough of us will go see it to make it profitable.

I'm not suggesting that extraordinary rendition is ever appropriate; but if we ever started doing that for high crimes against art and culture, I know who I would want on the first plane to Gitmo.

Monica said...

All things considered, who would you rather produce it? Lee Daniels (the man who gave us Monsters Ball), or Suzanne de Passe (The Jacksons and the Zane's Sex Diaries), or Tracey Edmonds, or Will Packer, or Spike Lee, or John Singelary.

critical processes said...

(1 of 2)
This is off-topic but have you ever written about racism in graduate schools?

Macon D of stuffwhitepeopledo recently stated “whenever white people congregate these days, high concentrations of racial homogeneity are just pure coincidence.” …

I am a graduate student at a major biological "research institution" in New York City. You wouldn't know this is a graduate/research program if you stumbled on campus. This exclusive, highly maintained campus feels more like Sandals resort with all of the young upper-middle class white or white male/asian female couples roaming around hand-in-hand during the evenings. Groups of white or white-and-asian students roam with tennis rackets on their way to the on-campus court. Or they congregate in packs at the on-campus student lounge with a personal bartender. Or the white and asian students have parties in the hotel-like student lounge of the dorms.

Most of the groups of people you see dotted around campus are all-white or white-and-asian. The campus is mostly white with a substantial number of asians but has a serious dearth of black or latino students--and I almost never see the other black students.

You wouldn't believe the amounts of implicit racism I've experienced here. Twice while coming on campus I've been stopped in a hostile and condescending manner by newly-hired guards who, having seen my ID, told me that I am 'ok' since I was a groundskeepers or a day worker for the animal facility whose staff is mostly black and latino.

Coming to my dorm, almost every six months someone gives me a hostile look in the foyer as if I'm some intruder. When I attend lectures, I meet the same hostility until I ask a serious academic question of the lecturer.

When someone new comes to my lab, they'll automatically either intentionally ignore me or attempt to condescend to me. Scientific sales reps will intentionally ignore me and proceed to the white guys who are also just students. Believe it or not, this one white girl who rotated in the lab would speak to me in a passive-aggressive/patronizing manner. And almost everyone in the lab, despite my being there for years and attempting to form working relationships with them, never come to me casually or attempt to have conversations (work or otherwise) with me unless I initiate the conversation and never at the casual or intelligent level they have with each other.

I noticed the other two black guys, who are accomodationists (and overrepresented with respect to the real dearth of black students on campus), also attempt to have conversations with the white people in the lab but they are always the ones to initiate the conversation.

After five years of being here, the only thing I've learned is that white and asian people are the only people competent enough to be scientists.

A maintenance staff guy wrote an article in the student rag praising the university's president in light of the great hall of European philosophers like Kant and Hume and the great European scientific tradition. Additionally, the sense of ownership and privilege among other students is just incredible.

I'm beginning to think that biomedical science is almost a white supremist enterprise by default. Science is supposed to be a collaborative endeavor with a free collegial exchange of information and support, but when people are constantly patronizing or condescending to you, such is a psychological assault informing you that you are inconsequential, "tolerated" or unwelcomed. I read a report somewhere that around half of black graduate science students drop out of their programs. If they meet the same kinds of hostility or implied white supremacy I meet, small wonder.
(con'd)

critical processes said...

(2 of 2)
I've especially felt a sort of patronizing attitude right off the bat from many of the white female students on campus. White women, with the help of affirmative action, have made great gains in both scientific student bodies and faculty, but you would still be wont to find black faculty and only a little more lucky in locating black students in scientific graduate programs across the country. That aside, most of my interactions with white females on campus has been unnecessarily hostile and patronizing.

There are two other black male students who happen to be in my lab; they're very sycophantic towards the white male students, which surprised me. They're always kissing up, laughing nervously, you know that trying to court your attention laugh, around these other white males who are just graduate students like them. They prick up their minds and attempt to engage the se white guys with crisp, intelligent conversation. They'll go to the white guys equally whenever they have a problem as if they are the fount of knowledge, (I've never seen them approach any of the white girls or the Indian guy when they have problems, but they will approach them for prick-up-your-mind 'casual' conversation, more than they give me [or each other]). When explicitly in the company of the white guys (which never seems to be together with each other), they intentionally ignore me or will attempt to condescend to me. It's irritating to watch white guys no better than the average black guy get their egos stroked day after day by white girls and sycophantic blacks while they also slap themselves on the back. It's not like they're especially brilliant or that this science is just so difficult that only superiorly intelligent white supremists like James Watson can do it.
I don't even want to get into the student listserve conversation I had to observe in the wake of James Watson's comments back in 2007. Some of them practically endorsed the man with statements like "science is about objective data, not political correctness" or "what does giving a writing prize for his autobiography have to do with him making statements that any old man would make"?

Anonymous said...

SoCal 82Tiger Asks:

Professor I am not sure why T.P has emerged as a hugely successful savant in Hollywood. More still I am ignorant to why there is so much hostility towards him within the black community. He appears to be a man you and others love to hate?

I need to be educated as to why this man has become loved by Hollywood and yet hated by a large number within his own demographic...

Seriously - At a moment of convenience I could use an email to school me on your take about the details of this strange phenomenon! : )

Ochyming said...

..............

Proving that contrary to Kanye's Katrina, George Bush cares more about black people than movie execs and financiers

..............
I still do Not know why those people should care for "Black" people. Shouldn't "blacks" be the ones caring for themselves?



BTW, a matter that you love:
From CNN:

Skin whiteners labeled racist:


In one TV commercial, two men, one with dark skin, the other with light skin; stand on a balcony overlooking a neighborhood. The dark skin guy turns to his friend and says in Hindi, "I am unlucky because of my face." His light skin friend replies, "Not because of your face, because of the color of your face."

Suddenly the light skin guy throws his friend a cream. It's a whitening cream.

Ochyming said...

@critical processes


What you described IS what i call Racism.
But i do understand their attitude. It is very human to think - we/i are/am better than others. We are all frivolous after all.

I believe any dark skinned experienced the same (i, almost everyday, i live in Portugal), in my case i do treat them the same way and try to know how to make them feel stupid and ignorant by studying their attitude.

Actually your post IS another proof that USA's so called "whites" are europeans, and those days when asians were portrayed as inferior is Past and forgotten. Next will be to get rid of the insulting "LATINO" label, to me it is shitting on native americans.

Christopher Chambers said...

SoCal--he's made a fortune proving the African American corollary of HL Mencken's rubric: that no one ever went broke underestimating the lowbrow ignorance of the average black person. He is not our version of Judd Apatow, for Apatow and his copiers actually produce stuff of depth, despite the fratboy humor of a lot of it.
Better example: if Aaron Spelling was going to remake Citizen Kane...
Monica--maybe he will not mess it up. This is a powerful, difficult play. if he does a half-assed job, iy
ll still be better than folks expect. Behind him are white folks w/money who think if his name is on it, the average bamma will pay $$ to see the film.

PPR_Scribe said...

This is a powerful, difficult play.

And Mr. Perry's forte is comedy. The folks who know the movie is not LOL funny and would appreciate the nuance of a serious treatment of it probably will not see the movie version because of Tyler's name being attached. Those who are already Tyler Perry fans and would go see anything with his name attached might not be prepared to see a movie that is not a comedy.

Anonymous said...

Chris
You are a frickin frustrated hater!

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how you folks luv Mad Men, and its homage to a racist past, but have a problem with Tyler Perry, more white folk revisionism to happier times prior to the election of the n***ar president!

I prefer 30something ad agency personalities, then the white men behaving badly!

somady said...

critical processes,

i too feel your pain. I went to film school for undergrad. there i was the only black and only female in most of my classes. filmmaking is a collaborative experience and this was made very difficult by my classmates who wanted nothing to do with me. when i entered the working world i was often the only black person. daily i learned that our humanity is impossible for them to embrace. i hurt for you. i hurt for all of us who have no safe haven. and i mean that in the diasporic sense. where on this planet is there a place where africans have not been colonized? the like minded of us, the conscious need to embrace each other. hold each other up, build our own institutions.

on the matter of tyler perry: it is a real shame that someone with a more serious body of work isn't doing the project. TP appeals to our lowest common denominator. We have so much more to offer than what he could ever give us. Tyler Perry has his place in the world of filmmaking. its just a shame that his voice is the only one being heard so widely right now. we are not all wailing buffoons who are sheeple of the church.

I am not Star Jones said...

does anyone know why Ntozake Shange sold the rights to the play to Tyler Perry?

I mean if she as the playwright feels Tyler can do it justice....