I don’t like Steve Harvey — yes, I said it.
To be more precise, since I’ve never met the man personally, I don’t like what Steve Harvey represents.
There is an arrogance—a barely sheathed tone of alpha-male superiority that permeates everything he spews from politics to relationships—that simply makes my skin crawl. In his controversial “book,” Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, he presumes that women are so desperate to snare a man that they will blindly lap up advice from one who manipulates his two divorces into a negative reflection of his ex-wives characters, rather than his questionable skill at being a husband. In a deliberate attempt at adverse-feminism, he casts women as simple-minded huntresses who—with a simple fifteen-dollar literary weapon from Barnes & Noble—will be armed with the sophisticated techniques needed to catch our flawed masculine prey. To make matters worse, he has a consistent habit of illuminating the misogyny in the Bible for public consumption, as if the Great One himself parted the clouds and said, “Woman, thou shall be a lady in the streets, but a freak in the sheets… (((sheets)))… (((sheets)))…”
Before I became agnostic, I clearly remember sitting in Bible study and hearing Proverbs 18:22, which reads: “He who findeth a wife, findeth a good thing;” not, “she who stalks a husband and lassos him to the altar with tricks (both psychological and sexual) findeth a good thing.”
Can the church say ‘Amen’?
To spread the proverbial icing on the cake, in a ballsy move, he decides to create a film that is nothing more than an advertisement for the aforementioned book. He does so with the calculated intent that, once again, people will flock to the theatres to watch a rom-com which features Black men and women that just can’t seem to get it together.
It would be funny if he weren’t so serious.
With that said, I will be going to see Think Like A Man. Why? Because some of my favorite actors and actresses are in it, and I’m more concerned with supporting them than seeing Steve Harvey fall flat on his face.
I freely admit that Black entertainment is the most recycled resource in the United States of America. We use it up, throw it out and repurchase it again without a second thought — then wonder why nothing new is being created. I also understand that money talks and my ambivalent support of this film will likely place me in the “Part of the Problem” box — and that’s a criticism I’m more than willing to accept. There was a time when my distaste for Steve Harvey and his Bishop Magic Don Juan suits would have led me to not only boycott this film, but write a scathing open letter of judgement to anyone who dared to support it.
That was before I learned to think like a chess player.
In addition to the actors and actresses who star in this film, there are make-up artists, stylists, camera technicians, prop handlers, producers and directors, interns and scriptwriters, who may be the mastermind behind the next great film. You know, that film that you want to see created? Turning our backs on this movie damages their professional viability more than it could ever hurt the clown-sized pockets of Steve Harvey.
There will be people who see themselves, their friends and loved ones in Think Like A Man and be glad for it; just as the domestic workers in The Help were a reflection of the many women throughout the Deep South who toiled on tired knees and weary hearts to serve families with love and dignity. Renowned actress, Hattie McDaniel, who won the 1939 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, made a profound statement in response to criticism she received for perpetuating negative stereotypes with her role as “Mammy” in Gone With The Wind:
“I’d rather get paid seven hundred dollars a week to play a maid than get paid seven dollars to be one.”
Do I agree with our generic depictions as under-paid whores and overworked help? Absolutely not. I have simply evolved to the point where I recognize that someone, somewhere can relate — and just because it’s not my story on screen, doesn’t mean that it’s not someone else’s.