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?

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  • Lee

    Also….”ruining the image of black women” I’d like to ask what planet does the author live on? Has Euro-centric society allowed for us to even have a positive image….a resounding no, would suffice. My friend, this attitude was created long before Tyler Perry graced the earth with his presence. I actually, think we as a whole continue too contribute to the ruining of black women’s image because of the way we treat each other. Actually, Tyler Perry isn’t the problem…we are.

  • Bunni

    Why is it the white community doesn’t see Madonna or that trashy Linsday Lohan, Courtney Love, et. al. as being a representation of all white women but many in the Black community can’t look as – say, Mo’Nique’s characther in the movie ‘Precious’ – as just an individual that doesn’t represent Black women on a whole? We come from all walks of life and yet we take the fiction that is moviedom and often twist it into “oh-LAWD-now-all-whites-and-the-rest-of-the-world-will-think-we-ALL-act-like-that”, which in turn leads to the subject of this editorial. I love my beautiful Black people but sometimes we are our own worst emeny. Movie characters don’t represent me or what I stand for.

    • pink

      Bunni: I hear yeah. For some reason lots of black people use white people as their litmus test; like all white people are perfect. NOT!!. No one is perfect….no matter if they are white, black or brown.

  • Gloria

    I just loved every word of this article! Personally, politics aside, I have always felt that Tyler Perry’s movies are over the top and portray unrealistic and sometimes exaggerated extremes of both male and female Black characters. I haven’t dated any of the sociopathic types who often are lead characters in Tyler Perry’s movies, nor am I the dramatic, mad black woman often portrayed as the victim in his movies. I agree with everything you said. I think what I have noticed with Tyler Perry movies is that one’s reception of them is exactly as simplistic as the characters he creates: you either love them or you hate them. Even reading the 75 comments before this one, people appear to feel strongly for his movies or strongly against them. Isn’t a good film maker one who can draw both poles of the audience into some sort of appreciation, even if not agreement? This, I believe is what you meant when you gave a Reese Witherspoon example. I am not a huge fan of her, but I wouldn’t necessarily turn the channel on a night in. I might be drawn and captivated for at least a few hours, and whilst I wouldn’t not go out and buy her DVD’s or stand in line at a premier, I can appreciate the art of it. With Tyler Perry movies I cannot say the same thing. Good article!

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  • felicia

    Its 2013 i know this article is old,but i feel every word you said. I know there are some people enjoying tyler perry because so many investors dont want to invest in black movies. So as black people we are happy to just see anybody that looks like us. Now in 2013 when we have Michelle Obama trying to prove that we are all different. Is it enough that we keep seeing women act like ghetto hood rats. Or angry black women. No its not enough. I want more positive images. Women like Michelle Obama has to prove or workharder that shes not mad black women. Because of all these mad media outputs about her. Thats where black directors like tyler perry comes in. To say we are all different . I will put a postive light on black communitys. I wouldn’t want sombody stereotyping me because im black. Oh wait wasn’t tyler perry pulled over by a cop, because he was black. You would,ve thought he would change his mind on the movie hes making.