spike lee

Tyler Perry in Question

diaryblackwoman6So, it’s been the general opinion of this blog, its readers and the movie viewership of America that Tyler Perry is the cheif anti-Oreo. What the spawn of satan will be to the end of days, TPear is to attempts to assimilate. 

The Oreo Experience wonders now if this is the case.

Hear me out. While Tyler appears to stand for all that TOE detests, there are some key elements about him that may indicate is is a sheep in wolf’s clothing and perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, an Oreo deep down inside.

For example, Tyler Perry:

  • Exhibits a poor view of black people. His movies and shows rely on trite sterotypes to find the funny. Is he writing this way because it’s what makes money, or because it’s what he believes? If it was purely about capitalism, surely some of his truth would have seeped out by now and he would have made something pleasant. Buttyler-perry-newswire-335a061207 the self-loathing evident in his product makes him a prime candidate for Oreodom. 
  • Enjoys exploiting people of color. At his current rate of production, TP puts out a movie and nearly a full run of  TV series a year. This means he has a slew of people working very hard so that he can make media junket appearances. Because he runs “black” shows, and because he chose to settle in Atlanta, most of his employees are of color. Notably, his writers, who Perry seemingly prevented from joining their union during their employ. Only relatively recently, and after millions in his own pockets did TP give in
  • Is intmidated by Spike Lee.  Thanks to blogger Belle Woods for reposting comments on Tyler Perry’s reaction to director Spike Lee. Apparently Spike called TP on the carpet for his portrayal of black people. Tyler fought back, claiming that Madea is really a subversive way of instilling value in the viewers. Now, while a true Oreo would invite Spike over for scones and conversation, a self loather would take the same emotional stance as the fairer folks and tuck tail a bit when Lee speaks. 

The jury is still definitely out. But I’m keeping my eye on him. Maybe he’ll surprise me.

Or maybe we’ll get a new summer blockbuster: Madea Does Dallas.

I Have a Dream…That White People Will Tell My Story

Thank you to Dexter King for doing the right thing.

This week, the son of civil rights icon MLKing, sold the rights to his father’s story to director Steven Spielberg. This is the first time that anyone has been allowed to purchase the rights.

dexter-king-e

Dexter King

Good on you, Dex. Way to uphold the Oreo spirit. Who better to tell the story of a black man of  modest means and constant struggle than a white bazillionaire?

The fact that Spielberg, in order to justify his need for the rights, produced neither a script nor an outline for the film should raise zero eyebrows. Though he hasn’t proven to Dex that he has the right story, he has proven to the King heir that he has the right amount of cash to put down for it, and what is more Anglo-tastic than capitalism.

Besides, a movie about a black person that is also written and/or directed by a black person suddenly goes from “Oscar contender” to “niche film.” And that’s just not marketable. Unless it’s done by Tyler Perry who is a marketing machine, but is doing nothing but hurting the cause.

Another debt of gratitude then to directors of color like Spike Lee (who has done quite enough, thank you), John Singleton, F. Gary Gary (The Negotiator, The Italian Job, Be Cool),Carl Franklin (One False Move, Devil In A Blue Dress, Out Of Time), Clark Johnson (SWAT, The Sentinel), Tim Story (Barbershop, Fantastic Four 1 and 2) and Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, King Arthur, Tears of the Sun, Shooter) for not picking up the MLK helm and running with it.

Why settle for the predictable nuance, verisimilitude and personal experience a black director could bring to the MLK story when a sweeping John Williams score and a perfectly timed push-in can tell us exactly how to feel and will guide us out of the guilt and toward a sunny, unchallenging ending.

Stephen Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Also, Spielberg has proven that we don’t really need black people to tell black people’s stories. After Amistad and The Color Purple, I say let’s turn over all of “our” movies over to him. That way, we can concentrate on how the powers that be see our struggles and learn to more accurately adhere to their vision.

The best part of this puzzle: A rich, powerful white man now owns the rights to a black man’s life. Makes you nostalgic for the old days, doesn’t it.