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Monday, November 8, 2010

Introspection: A Poem For Tyler Perry






After viewing the film For Colored Girls, I was moved. The film, for the most part, is very good. It contains many of the things a great film should aspire to be: compelling, poetic, moving, didactic, stunning, beautiful... and sadly, ugly too. Ntozake Shange created a gem of living, breathing theatrical art. Director/screenwriter Tyler Perry attempted to follow suit by creating a moving piece of cinema. I believe he did so. I believe, in some ways he succeeded, at least to the best of his (current) abilities.

However, in keeping it real, I was also personally hurt, disturbed and offended that a black male director saw fit to continue the Hollywood tradition of cranking out a fleet of stereotypical Black Male Monsters; characters in black face with no redeeming qualities, no life-affirming purpose and ultimately no reason to exist other than to cause harm, shame, hurt, and to wreck demonic havoc upon the lives of others. Because of this, I left the theatre entertained by the thematic nature of the film, engaged by its many vibrant performances, and yet filled with strains of mixed emotions.

My Emotions dictated this piece.



Introspection: A Poem For Tyler Perry :



The way you do me...
The way you do love
Is an offense to my humanity. Hard
To stifle the screams of
My inner child, my inner being,
My inner cries…
While you and your vision wear
This hangman’s smile. Still

I have no hatred in my heart.
I throw no shade
Upon your star. Though
Sometimes, sitting there in
The dark, I almost felt
Pity for you.

It must truly suck
To hate your self
This historic way you do.
The way you portray me with
This absence of pride
Is its own kind of spirit
Homicide. I am more
Than whipping boy
More than felon, fuck-up
Or fraud! More than
Demon seed unleashed
To feed upon our women who’ve
Indeed considered… suicide
Because all this bullshit was
Enuff!


Is this how you really see me?
And is that all you see?
When you gaze into mirrors what
Stares back at thee:

Black and crazy?
Black and ugly?
Black and beastly?
Black and blinded by
Rages no one else
Perceives?
Do you
Ever see the chains
Affixed to my history?

The bloodstains
From my struggles, or
These blisters from
My journey?
Do you ever see the
Attempts of boogeymen
Trying to annihilate me… or
Are you too busy being
One of them?



Ever once
Feel the THUD of my
Treacherous descent? Ever
Notice… my
Beauteous feats, or
The bravery in my attempts?

Ever pay notice to the flight of
My ascendency? Ever once
See these tears raining inside me?

Yes. You see monsters
Where you should see MEN
Who share your fight, & the tone of your
Skin. You do see, plenty,
And you roll call all
The ugly. But

Have you ever once
Looked and saw
The poetry


In me?




One.

27 comments:

Val said...

I think this is how Tyler Perry sees Black men and women. He talked about how horrible his childhood was and the abuse he suffered at the hands of Black people. So now he's getting his revenge by making films that portray us as crazy and evil.

JStar said...

I still have yet to watch the movie to comment....

But the poem...Deep and real...I love how he explained his purpose...

Jason said...

*shakes head in amazement*

Deep and meditative prose Brotha Pen.

Luminous, compelling and lyrically handsome.

Perry should read this.

Reggie said...

...."I was also personally hurt, disturbed and offended that a black male director saw fit to continue the Hollywood tradition of cranking out a fleet of stereotypical Black Male Monsters; characters in black face with no redeeming qualities, no life-affirming purpose and ultimately no reason to exist other than to cause shame, hurt, and wreck demonic havoc upon the lives of others."

That sounds like every other movie of his that I've tried to watch and couldn't because of all the sheer coonery. You'd think he hated people of color and wasn't one of us.

Nice poetry though.

Mizrepresent said...

Sadly TP is coming from a very dark place that he has yet to escape or heal from. In his creative eyes and introspective heart women are victims, men are monsters and there is nothing any between. Great poem! Great introspect and every thing you've said here is true. I appreciate you Lin!

Wizardress said...

I haven't seen the movie either- but I do want to and can't comment on how it was done. Isnt' the movie based on a book though? I haven't read the book either, so not sure how close the movie is to the actual book, but now you have me even more curious as to both.

You will never be anything but mad wonderful my friend :) xx

Moanerplicity said...

@ Val:

There's an expression used in AA that says: "If It's Hysterical, It's Historical." That being the case, it would behoove T.P or anyone with a history of abuse to seek help.

And yes, creative outlets can often help in healing, & exorcizing one's personal demons, but in the meantime, he is sending very dangerous messages to the general public; messages that are not accurate, fair, productive nor a true reflection on the Greater Reality.


One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ JStar:


If something you read or view doesn't disrespect or degrade you in a primal place, then quite naturally, you will not necessarily take offense to it, nor see the error in it.

Thanks for the compliment on the poem.

One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Jason,

Thanks, Brotha Pen. I appreciate your poet's opinion on this piece.

Methinks pigs will fly before T.P ever reads this blog. It's safe to say my opinion (& that of others who feel the same) won't matter much to him.


One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Reggie:

I agree. Perhaps there is a bit of historical self-hatred where this writer/director is concerned. If so, then that's just sad... & it really needs to be addressed & dealt with for his own self-acceptance.

Thanks for the poem props.

One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Miz:

I think you summed it up brilliantly when you wrote:

"In his creative eyes and introspective heart women are victims, men are monsters and there is nothing any between."

How tragic! I can only wish him transference from that sad & limited mindset, because it's not only pathetic, but a lethal way to live one's life.


Glad you liked/related to the poem.


One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Wizzy:

Yes, the film is adapted from a play and book by another author: The great Ntozake Shange.

HOWEVER, when making the film, the director also served as screenwriter, & he rewrote the script THREE TIMES, INVENTING characters that never existed in the original text & that includes a cast of unsavory, mean-spirited, lying, abusive, crazy, evil, treacherous characters ALL of them Black & MALE... as if he'd some personal axe to grind. In doing so, these images serve to further demonize the image of black men in the media, in the public eye, in this country & in the world.

It was wrong & completely unneccesary for him to do so. It reeks of a continueous hatred that he may hold for people who look like him.



btw: I think YOU'RE wonderful too.


One.

nachalooman said...

Brother Lin: I must admit that I haven't even read Ntozake's book. Even as I've spent 15 years working in a library and 10 years in a bookstore. I'm very familiar with the book but just haven't read it.
And I'm afraid to, because I have my own pain and may not be able to handle any more black woman pain.

But I'm disappointed that Tyler created devil black male characters that weren't in the original play! I'm sad about it, and may not go to see the film for that reason. I'm not feeling strong these days for this kind of attack.

I guess that was the danger of having a male who has been brutalized by his own father, try to reinterpret such a work as I hear this is. He may not have been able to really do it full justice.

I pray that one day, Tyler Perry can "look up and see the poetry..." in himself as a black man in this time and in this place as a black man.

Brother Lin, you on the other hand have shown me the beauty that I manage to see in my black brothers.

"Ever pay notice to the flight of
My ascendency? Ever once
See these tears raining inside me?"

Yes!
Much love, Eastsiide brother!

Moanerplicity said...

@ Anna:

I think like good Blues music can actually LIFT you outta your own stuff, Shange's work can do the same, b/c the reader can relate to it & that can sometimes affirm that whatever you may feel, you're not alone. So READ the dang book, Anna! (smiles)

TP has been obviously working out his own kind of therapy via his films... but at what cost? Every black man (nor woman) in this world did NOT abuse him! It's as if he has NO example of good brothas, fathers, sons, husbands, who also just happen to be black! How sad for him! Yes, there are ill forces out there, but that's certainly NOT the whole history nor the entire story of us!

Finally, what you wrote at the end your comments really MOVED me. Thank you, Anna!

*Feeling a lil verklempt right about now. Talk amongst yourselves!

One.

Daij said...

"Do you ever see the
Attempts of boogeymen
Trying to annihilate me… or
Are you too busy being
One of them? "
The entire poem is deep but these lines stand out to me. You're correct. I am getting sick and tired of his black man always being the boogeyman.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Daij:

A friend recently pointed out something very disturbing that I hadn't really noticed before.

The only time Black men aren't portrayed as demons in TP films is when they are played by people like Shemar Moore, Boris Kodjoe, or Rick Fox. Each a *light-skinned* model-esque, biracial actor.

Hmmm...

Do the math.


One.

CareyCarey said...

Well Moan, you know I ain't scared to express a different view. :-)

If a person listens to Shange's words, Tyler Perry wrote what was real. And keeping it real, Tyler didn't create monsters, those monsters exist.

16 of Shange's pieces were in the movie, so I don't know why people are pointing an evil eye at Mr Perry. He had to fit the characters around Shange's word. The women were expressing pain that was heaped upon them by men.

Personally, I didn't like the movie, not because of the common opinions, but some of the acting and Tyler's directing skills didn't do it for me.

Tyler's use of the camera was high school 101, and Loretta Devine is the most annoying, non-acting mammy face in the world. Some folks love her, but I've long grown tired of her doing the same role over and over. None of her scenes worked for me... NONE!

Also, the transitions within some scenes were very disjointed.

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

I know that there are some Black Men among us who are monsters!
Most Black Men that I know, deep down inside are decent caring people.
I don't think those kind of Black Men get enough exposure.
I know the majority population in this country is comfortable with the image of us being projected as monsters.
It gives them justification for doing the things they do to us.

It seems no matter how hard we work and struggle to do the right thing in this life as a Black Man,the devil is always popping up in one form or the other,trying to discredit whatever we do!

Moanerplicity said...

@ Carey:


Although, it was not a superior piece of filmmaking, I didn't find the direction as disturbing or off-potting as the some of the images TP chose to promote. It seemed to follow some very troubling agenda all his own.

Yes, this was Shange's vision, originally, and it may have been valid, or perhaps EXAGGERATED for dramatic purposes.

One of the first things I was taught in creative writing & in lit classes was that if something is bad, the writer's job is make it a catastrophe. If something is sad or tragic, then make it a tsunami of sadness in order to reach some universal dramatic ideal.

So, it wouldn't surprise me much if Ms. Shange utilized that same train of thought.

My issue remains with Perry's insistence upon darkening the idea and image of the Af-Am male. He ADDED MORE shock, more horror, more brutish & devilish behaviors, & then he further fleshed them out, thus, leaving a bitter, unnecessary & unrealistic taste in my mouth. And he does this continueously.

It would be wonderful to leave one of TP films and feel completely ELEVATED, in heart, mind and spirit, as opposed to feeling let down and villianized (again!). It would be fantastic to nod and affirm that this brother has gotten it RIGHT, and feel internally proud that someone, who has earned the power to make films, choses to tell our stories with dignity, in beauteous hues and in multifaceted splendor. However, for me, that uplifting emotion is not to be found in a TP film. How sad.

TP or any director has a right to make any kind of film they choose. But, let's face it, when Black people pay good hard-earned money to go to see a Black film, we go in hopes of seeing themselves reflected on that big screen. If not, then we'd be checking out Eastwood's, Cruise's or Clooney's latest joints, in droves.

For Colored Girls makes a sincere attempt at charting a better vision. It's just sad & ironic, that the parts I took personal exception to, were, in most instances, the elements he himself chose to add... and thus, sadly, The Perrization of the African-American Male continues.



That's it. That's all.


One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Big Mac:

Wow! Very well-stated. I completely agree with everything you wrote here. You definitely get an amen from me when you wrote:

"It seems no matter how hard we work and struggle to do the right thing in this life as a Black Man, the devil is always popping up in one form or the other, trying to discredit whatever we do!"


The tragic thing is that the one popping up & doing the discrediting, just happens to look like us. How sad.


Thanks for your comment.


One.

Lin

thegayte-keeper said...

I liked the movie, however it would have been better done by Lee Daniels or something other black director.

Felicia Monique said...

I can't find the comment I left a few days ago... :/

Moanerplicity said...

@ Felicia:

Hmmmm... I don't recall ever seeing a comment from you on this entry, Felicia. :-(


One.

Felicia Monique said...

Aww, it must be lost in cyberspace. I so don't like when that happens. Anywho, I absolutely love this piece, and wish TP could hear or read this himself. Internalized racism, sexism, and homophobia run deep!

Moanerplicity said...

@ gayte-keeper:

I must agree. Lee Daniels is a serious filmmaker who has proven that he's no ONE TRICK PONY by merit of the projects he chooses & the images the brings forth. His vision doesn't appear to be as limited, one-dimensional or as dangerous as TP's.

One.

Moanerplicity said...

@ Felicia,

Why thank you vurrr much, my Sista Pen. I think my poem somehow got lost in all the controversy surrounding the man who inspired it.

btw: Your last sentence is The TRUTH in short-form.

Thanks, Felicia.

One.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Your poem, while sad, brings truth to the surface, where we can all see the poet and the man, the black man you are. Thank you for being real.