Thursday, 11 November 2010

Blogger Critiques DL Plot in Tyler Perry's New Movie

 Tyler Perry's film adaptation of anthology 'For Colored Girls' opened to mixed reviews. Some praised it and others panned it. The folks over at Sons of Baldwin had some interesting points on the movie. Peep them after the jump.

You know, I think I understand Perry’s appeal. When you’re a member of the audience at a Perry film, the feeling is very similar to being member in the audience at a black church: the Church of God in Tyler Perry. Given the manic, oppressively Christian themes in his work, I wasn’t the least bit surprised by the film’s homophobic complicity. Janet Jackson’s character is married to a man who is revealed to be on the “down low” and has also infected her with HIV. He’s introduced as the villain early on when he’s caught receiving head from a man in some dark Brooklyn alley. Later on, he looks at the ass of a man he passes in the street. Later still, he cruises a guy at an opera. These scenes were, oddly enough, the most nuanced and authentic in the film, as though the director knew the topic intimately.

The audience I was a member of, compromised of mostly black women, never missed a beat. Chants of “See!” and “Uh huh!” and “Can’t trust these down-low niggers!” soon followed. And when Janet’s character finally confronts her husband and reads him the riot act, the audience erupted. As though they had just heard their pastor read from Leviticus or quote some Pauline condemnation, women shouted, “That’s right!” “You gotta watch out for them damn pretty boys; they the ones that always turn out to be faggots!” “Faggot!” “Punk!” “Sissy ass!” “What happened to all the real fuckin’ men?” Over two hundred women cheered, urged each other on and applauded.

What could have been a very interesting discussion about sexuality, gender identity and patriarchal masculinity devolved into an Eddie Long-like homophobia fest—which, I suppose, is the danger in placing subject matter so complex in the hands of a simpleton. I’m not certain what Perry hoped to accomplish with the down-low storyline, but what he managed to do was magnify the fear and loathing of the women in his audience. And that’s a shame given the facts.

In the end, For Colored Girls is a study in contradictions: poetry and cliché; horrible writing and wonderful acting; salvation and damnation; a call for tolerance and an invitation to intolerance; a psalm and a shitty mess.

Someone owes Ms. Shange a tremendous apology.

Hmmm... the review echoes my views on the whole DL Phenomenon in the JL King post I made a while back. The issue is that unsafe infidelity is gender free, yet black men who practice unsafe infidelity with other men become the target of abuse born out of ignorance. Yeah the sexual acts may be different and not to your liking, but at the end of the day all he is is a cheater.

1 comment:

  1. I don't get why almost EVERY down low guy in a black movie turns out to have AIDS really doesn't help the progressive views and is rather unfair


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