A rapist, a war crazed, drunken, child murdering father and an HIV-infected husband on the “down low” are all black male characters you will find in Tyler Perry’s film “For Colored Girls”.
Before the film even finished production there was already talk about the impact it would make, that it would follow in the footsteps of “The Color Purple” by beating the pulp out of the black male image.
Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy gives the film a hard look in his latest essay “For Black Men Who Have Considered Homicide After Watching Another Tyler Perry Film
“Don’t laugh,” says Shadow and Act, an online publication about black films and filmmakers. ” ‘For Colored Girls,’ an Oscar contender?”
Oscar for what?
In the category for best infection of a black woman with a sexually transmitted disease that renders her infertile. . . . And the winner is: black man.
For best down-low, double-dealing husband who has sex with wife while sneaking around having sex with men on the streets. . . . And the winner is: black man.
For best portrayal of a guy who at first seems nice but turns out to be a rapist. . . . And the winner is – OMG, his third of the night – black man!
“You will want to know that two kids get thrown out the window by their father,” wrote Jane Nosonchuk for Hamptonroads.com. “The scene is well done.”
Do I hear another Oscar nomination?
“The men in the movie are all bad guys except for the cop,” Nosonchuk wrote. “They are a means to an end rather than any lead characters.
We see where Milloy is coming from and even his argument allows for the fact that Perry isn’t the only one guilty of the cinematic “lynching” of the black male image.
To be fair, folks familiar with the original Ntozake Shange choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” should’ve known what to expect. After all — we read about Beau Willy.
But Ntozake Shange’s play did not have HIV or the down low and it’s characters were identified by color, not name — so if Tyler was able to make those kinds of changes — why not allow for more than just the glimmer of hope for the black man (the glimmer being Hill Harper with his small part and few lines).
For those who have seen the film — Do you think Tyler fairly portrayed black men in “For Colored Girls”?
For those who have not seen the film — what role did the inevitable black male bashing play in your decision not to support “For Colored Girls”.
For everyone — Do you think Hollywood doesn’t want to allow for more positive black male roles in film? Should black filmmakers be more dedicated to positive portrayals?