"Niggaz is a beautiful thing!"
YES! I know we're all tired of the "Let My Baby Daddy Find His Way To Jesus 'Stead of the Corna Sto'" plays brought to us courtesy of Watermelon and Fish Productions. I'd rather eat glass than watch that lil cock deisel dude from Silkk dons another tight polyester shirt. However, though I don't particularly care for those plays, they do have an audience. A ghetto audience? Maybe, but still, there's an audience. Who says ghetto people don't need to be entertained? Rather than seeing those plays as an affront to all things related to African-American progress, I see them as a symbol that black folks are not the monolith that we were once thought to be.
I will be the first to say that Hollywood likes nothing better than to de-dick successful black actors, however, I do not find that to necessarily be the case with Tyler Perry. I know that a lot of folks have a problem with his portrayal of Madea. I'm not necessarily in that number. As a black, southern woman (and a fellow New Orleanian), I not only have several Madeas in my life, but I have a few of them in my family. Initially, I refused to go see the movie. Then, while visiting some friends, I was "forced" to see it at the insistence of others. It was a very enjoyable movie. I saw his portrayal of her as a tribute to that type of woman over anything else. I was BLESSED to have women (my aunt and my older cousin) like that in my corner when my mother passed away and I'm proud to say that I'm a stronger person for it.
Besides showing a caring black family environment, the black people in the story are doing well for themselves. The overall tone related to black men is not one of negativity. (Even the "villan" gets his mind right.) One of Perry's other characters that he plays is an attorney that is responsibly taking care of his two children while his wife battles her own demons. (And it's always a good day when Cicely Tyson is not playing a slave/servant, lol.) I'm not saying that as black folks, we are obligated to see this movie. I'm just giving a bigger picture to what he's doing.
My frustration with the "new and improved negro" is not new. Nothing goes through me like when I hear a black person say, after witnessing what Huey Freeman would call "a nigga moment", ". . .I was ashamed to be black." Why? Were you the one acting the fool? I rarely, if ever, hear, "I was glad that I show myself to be a responsible, hardworking black individual." We complain about being stereotyped, but when a black person misbehaves, we automatically make ourselves a part of their nonsense.
Hampton University has banned cornrows, braids and dreds for participants in their business administration program. Before you self hating coloreds get on the whiny "well if they want to fit into corporate America" jive, let's think about this: Has Harvard taken such a tact? No? How about Princeton? U Penn? No? Has it occurred to Hampton that the big wigs that would be put off by locs would not be equally put off by seeing an HBCU on a resume? I didn't see silky blonde weaves on the no-no list. Isn't that interesting? We complain about being separated from our history and culture, but we are the first to cut the few strands we can hold on to. I wonder if Hampton would do the same to someone from India wearing their cultural garb? I'm willing to wager that they wouldn't.
*sigh* I guess maybe we'll love ourselves. . .one day.