I was having lunch the other day with a pal of mine, Jenine, and we were reminiscing about the good old days and we also spent a good portion of our timetalking about the films that made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. From Love Jones to The Best Man, the female characters were strong, decisive, passionate and complicated. Now, we are left to the devises of Tyler Perry’s unstoppable machine that consistently churns out films that reduces black women to desperate, lonely, bitter women, who are consequential in their existence, and can’t seem to overcome their trials successfully.
Tyler Perry may have an audience that is accepting of his generic story lines, but for those of us that long for movies that put us in a more sophisticated light, it’s almost insulting to indulge in his mind-numbing productions.
But the bigger question is how these films affect the way society views us and how it affects the kind of men we attract. Not all of us are angry bitter black women that only date black men and are wiling to put up with any humiliating offering that’s dished out to us. Some of us actually have a flexible mentality and can accommodate suitors of all religion and racial landscapes. And we want to be seen that way, but we are fighting against the visual elements that threaten to thwart our mission.
We need more stories that propel our image in a way that is universally identifiable. We need a character that borrows from movies that star Reese Witherspoon; the almost naïve but unbearably cute young woman, who is navigating through life, trying to have it all despite all the odds. We can be her too! We don’t always have to be the victim or the scorned baby mama with a deadbeat husband or a baby daddy in jail. Those characters are over-wrought and over exposed. Perry does a good job presenting the stereotypical caricatures. But wouldn’t it be nice to have films that show a more witty and vulnerable side of a black woman just being WOMAN?