Sunday, February 28, 2010

Charles Blow's EPIC FAIL

I have been very annoyed over the past few months because of a phenomenon I have noticed in black intellectual circles. It seems that all of the "high brow" black folks hate Tyler Perry because his movies show a side of the way black people live that doesn't comport with what they contend is their reality. What's most annoying about this is that these "high brow" black folks tend to conflate Tyler Perry with the characters he plays in his movies. They talk about him as if he walks around in his day to day as his wildly popular character "Madea". Wildly popular that is to just run of the mill black folks who aren't teaching at Harvard or don't have their own column in the New York Times. Its funny to me because I recognize people from many of his movies that I know in real life. Its also pathetic in the sense that characters like Madea are obviously supposed to be over the top caricatures but they insist on treating them as if Tyler Perry is proclaiming that everybody has a grandma EXACTLY like "Madea".

Well Charles Blow decided that he would take his shots today in his op ed column . What followed is in my opinion PURE COMEDY.

First lets start with the title of the column,

Tyler Perry’s Crack Mothers

Now I have seen all of Perry's plays and most of his movies and I could only remember distinctly one character who was a mother and a crack head so I decided to read the column to see where this was going. Here is his dramatic opening to his piece.

Mo’Nique is a favorite to win an Oscar next Sunday for her powerful and disturbing portrayal of an abusive mother in the movie “Precious.”

If she wins, I may grit my teeth at the depraved depiction, but at least her character is merely juxtaposed with the crack scourge and isn't in fact an addict. That's heartening since the crack-addicted black mother has recently made a curious comeback.

There was a time when this character was more relevant: in the 1980s and 1990s when the crack epidemic plunged whole communities into violence, fear and chaos. (To be fair, “Precious” is set in the 1980s.) But this character now feels like a refugee of time — and discordant with the facts on the ground.

Oh my, Charles Blow might grit his teeth if Mo'nique wins an Oscar for her role in the movie "Precious". Hmmmm I guess. I mean I know some people loved the movie and some folks hated it and to that I say to each their own. But why open a piece about Perry's "Crack Mothers" with three grafs that have nothing to do with a "crack mother" in one of Perry's movies. Ahhh there is a correction at the bottom to explain this.

Correction: An earlier version of this column incorrectly described Mo'Nique's character in the movie "Precious." She was not a crack addict.


So in a column meant to hit Tyler Perry for supposedly stocking his movies with crack mother characters, Blow doesn't even know or realize that Mo'Nique didn't play a crack head in "Precious". I guess he ALSO didn't know or realize that while Tyler Perry did "present" the movie "Precious" it wasn't literally one of his movies. He didn't write it nor direct it and the book it is based on had literary acclaim in its own right before the movie ever came along.

But Blow and other "high brow" black folks can't be concerned with such facts can they? As a matter of fact in a column which Blow tries to intimate that Tyler Perry has single handedly brought back the notion of "crack mothers" which in his mind is now a sort of fantasy, he can only come up with two instances (which he doesn't explain) when such a character has been in any of Tyler Perry's movies. And I can tell you that in at least the movie that I saw where there was a "crack mother" the story line revolved around her being an addict for years, not some kind of recent development.

Im sorry but this is the classic definition of the crab in a barrel mentality that most "high brow" black folks tend to decry. For whatever faults Tyler Perry has, he also has many many good attributes. He has used his position to help other black folks get roles in his movies. He gives quite a bit of money and time to various charities including building homes for Katrina victims and giving $1 million dollars through his foundation to the Haiti relief fund. But you won't hear those "high brow" black folks ever even out their criticisms about him. No they just want to blame all of the ills of the black community on Tyler Perry.

Give me a fucking break.

We have seven year olds stealing cars because they want to do "hood rat stuff" and these folks are more concerned with tearing down a self made black man than addressing real problems. Im sick and tired of it, and honestly its making me lose a lot of respect for folks who I thought were better than that.



  1. Kudos to Tyler Perry and everything he does, but I am just not a fan. Yes, there are funny parts and if you like the movies and plays good for you. I did like "Why did I get married" aside from that I got a chuckle from the movie and was waiting for it to quickly end.


  2. It makes me no never mind if someone is a fan or not of Tyler Perry's. I like most of his plays but some of his movies weren't my cup of tea. But there are people tearing him down as a person in a bid to make themselves look more dignified or some such and that is annoying and off putting to me. I don't personally know of anybody who goes to see his movies for life lessons, and the one thing I will say that even in the movies I hated they still all had a positive message by the ending. And again, Tyler Perry the person has done a helluva lot in our communites that those same folks never recognize. The way they talk about him you would think he had committed crimes or something like R. Kelly. That part is what I just don't get and I will not ever excuse.


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