From Mythology to Reality: Moving Beyond Rastafari - on Face Book

Monday, April 25, 2011

On the Spike Lee, Tyler Perry Issue

There is a ferocious back and fourth, teeth for thought argument between two major African American personalities. Both deem by their supporters to be great successful entrepreneurs and entertainers. I have listen to and read the many comments made by fans of them both. However, but not surprisingly, I have found that Spike Lee to be the one receiving most of the negative comments, which appears to be farmed around the idea of jealousy. According to the Tyler Perry’s fans, Spike Lee is jealous of Tyler Perry because Perry is making more money than he is, etc. Others claim that Spike Lee should not criticize Perry’s work because people of other race do not criticize their own. Tyler Perry himself believes that assertion to be essential, and, as a result, thinks that it is out of place for Spike Lee to criticize his work. Hence, his claim that Spike Lee should go to hell.
Indeed, I believe there is a certain level of frustration within Spike Lee’s criticism of Tyler Perry in terms of the profit issue. However, I refuse to believe that this is the essence of Spike Lee’s disapproval. In my view, Spike Lee was interested in a more fundamental point. However, I think, by doing it the way he did, may have been wrong.
Nonetheless, the fundamental point I deduced from Spike’s criticism speaks more to the point that since Tyler Perry has been successful and well establish with a substantial amount of money in his bank account, why then continue to make these buffoonery moves that, in my view, reinforces black stereotypes. Of course, as others have pointed out, Spike Lee’s movies are not void of aspects that can be criticized. According to Keith Josef Adkins, for example, Spike Lee has cast “lighter-skinned Black and/or Latina women as his black lead's love interests.”  Despite this fact, [which should not, in anyway, be minimized], Spike Lee’s, unlike Perry, has made and continue to make moves that addresses the real social issues plaguing the black community.
The African American community is suffering from many serious issues. According to Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” more “African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850,” a sure sign of major problem plaguing our young men. In addition, the socioeconomic disparity between African American and White Americans is an appalling problem, and continues to grow. Yet, Tyler Perry keep producing movies that, instead of tackling real social issues, shows a gun toting enthusiast, loudmouth grandmother ready to put others’ life in danger at the drop of a hat. Indeed, I believe, Mr. Perry has the right to make the movies he likes and to sell them to whomever he wants. However, Mr. Perry and those who support him is wrong to think that he should be immune to criticism.  
Yes, some of Tyler Perry’s moves, at list those I have viewed, do highlights the problem of domestic violence, a problem that continues plaguing black families. However, Mr. Perry’s movies, I believe, simplified the solution by giving the impression that by just accepting God/Jesus in your life everything will be OK, a fairytale ending that always seems to conclude Tyler’s movie. In fact, closer look at these movies show that they endorse a fallacious idea promoted by Stave Harvey that nonbelievers do not have morals since the script seems to have willfully excluded God from the early part of the movies, which is often, plague with fights and dysfunctional families.  Introducing the presence God to the very end where all the broken pieces are placed together again with God as the glue holding them together. This method no doubt promotes the idea that to have a good respectable relationship, God/Jesus must always be the most important part of one’s personal and social relationship, and this is the bottom line to Tyler Perry’s message.
However, this message is not a real solution to the problems facing black communities. In fact, some argued that the church is part of the problem. As I conclude, I will ask Tyler Perry to go to the make-believe hell he and his fans believe exist.  You can and should be criticized. On one hand, I hope, Dr. Cornel West is correct, in that Mr. Perry can mature into someone that produces materials that will address in a fundamental way the issues that is problematic to the black community, but, on the other, I doubt that he can. I believe Tyler Perry has found his niche in proselytize black people. He is unlike the black “prosperity doctrine” preachers, swindling money out from the pocket of these black people [especially black women] by selling a false hope to a people who are looking for a way out of the unpleasant state of black communities.
Your thoughts

No comments:

Post a Comment