Young children are precious. They are adorable in their pint-sized nature; innocent beings who amass knowledge day by day, constantly learning. And their mothers and fathers who take care of them are relentless, protective, and caring. There are things that children should not hear. Things that children should not see. Most particularly, “For Colored Girls.”
I am not going to be a movie spoiler, but if you watched Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” in theaters with the rest of the Americans who helped the film earn $20.1 million this past weekend, then you’ll know where I’m going next.
WHY WOULD YOU BRING YOUR CHILD TO A RATED-R MOVIE?
Especially a mature drama like “For Colored Girls?”
From the previews, play, and book, it is evident that this was not intended to be a family fun flick.
Ntozake Shange’s 1975 classic play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, was adapted by “Tyler Perry” and that branding perhaps misrepresented to some viewers the idea that Madea was going to make a guest appearance during the dark scenes of the film. The movie mogul is known for his blockbuster comedies that satirically potray the lives of African-Americans. Does this mean that no one takes Tyler Perry seriously? Don’t get me wrong. By retaining the original author’s intent, the adapted film was gutsy, poetic and powerful. But the fact that there were twenty-something-year-old moms with their three baby boys in tow entering into a film clearly restricted for patrons above the age of 18 seemed a bit irresponsible.
Would irresponsible mean leaving your child at home while going out for a ladies night to watch a highly debated film? No, especially not if you used the nearly 30 or odd-some dollars to hire a babysitter instead of harming your children’s mind for two hours. People who have seen the movie—you know exactly what scene I’m talking about. All I know is, after one of the most tragic scenes in the film, children in my theater were crying. I mean, little 5 and 6-year-olds bawling at the top of their lungs along with grown men and women. I was disturbed because those children had just been exposed to some serious, explicit imagery that seemed strongly inappropriate for their age group. That, along with all the other adult scenes in the movie (including the opening section of the film which featured a naked man), was shocking to say the least. But I cannot imagine how traumatizing or scarred some of these children must have felt after leaving that theater—or how those images will replay over and over in their heads. What lessons will these children learn from watching the film? That it’s okay to watch R-rated movies. That these messages are normalized. And that when they grow up they will subject their own children to the same tom-foolery because, well, their mother thought it was okay to do it to them.
Perhaps some may argue that these parents can’t afford to hire a babysitter and therefore have to take their children with them. There are certain circumstances that lead to these unfortunate situations, and if this be the case for those parents who have to take their children with them to see “For Colored Girls,” then perhaps they should just wait until the movie comes out on DVD. I mean, you wouldn’t sit your child on your lap while watching a XXX movie in the living room, would you? I didn’t see any parents covering their children’s eyes or ears in the theater, an old-fashioned trait of parenting that I wish had been blasted from the past this past weekend. Or even better—make the children watch a G-rated film. We must be mindful of what situations we put our children into. Innocence is a precious virtue, one that, with parental care, can transform into wisdom instead of ruthless ignorance.