Tyler Perry’s “The Have and Have Nots,” the inaugural scripted drama on OWN and the first of a highly-publicized collaboration between Perry and Oprah Winfrey, made its debut last night. The response has already been overwhelmingly negative. There was a scathing review in the L.A. Times that says of the actors: “If only any of them knew how to utter a line of dialogue or even walk across a room convincingly.” A passionate opinion piece on Crunk Feminist Collective entitled “Tyler Perry Hates Black Women,” reads “The fact that Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire, along with their remixes (Bad) Baby Mama, Golddigger, Freak and Hood B*tch showed up in under 15 mins is surely a new world record.”
But the criticism doesn’t end there. Web activist Eva Vega started a petition demanding that Oprah remove Tyler Perry entertainment from OWN.
The petition on Change.Org reads:
For decades Oprah Winfrey has used her television show to educate, empower, and uplift people of all races to be better versions of themselves. OWN has committed to be an extension of this work.
Where it is clear that neither Oprah or Tyler Perry are not experts on race and racism, they have also refused to utilize feedback from the conscious Black community and scholars on racism regarding the damage that Tyler Perry and his brand of entertainment perpetuate against the Black community.
Stop supporting racist stereotypes on OWN and remove Tyler Perry programming!
Continue reading here.
I agree that the writing and acting, aside from Tika who truly shows off her chops despite having a one-dimensional character, leaves something to be desired. But it’s the stereotypical characters that truly do black women a disservice. The maid, the prostitute who abandons her children and the stuck-up mean-spirited and elitist black woman truly have no place on the OWN network.
Despite the outcry, “The Haves and Have Nots” marks OWN’s highest rated series debut. The first hour drew 1.77 million viewers and the second drew 1.8 million viewers. If that high number of viewership persists, OWN won’t be walking away from Perry’s entertainment any time soon.
What did you think of the first episode of “The Haves and The Have Nots,” Clutchettes?