A Balanced Response To “For Colored Girls” Critics…Finally A Black Man Who Likes The Movie

VIDEO: There has been a lot of backlash to Tyler Perry’s movie “For Colored Girls”. A whole lot of folk have taken issue with Perry’s depiction of black men in this movie and many of his films. Here, we share our thoughts on “For Colored Girls” and offer a balanced opinion on the films depiction of black men, black women, and black relationships.

Do we think there needs to be more positive depictions of black men in cinema? Absolutely.

Is it Tyler Perry’s responsibility to bring that to the screen ? Not necessarily—but we shouldn’t forget “Daddy’s Girls” or the people in Perry’s past movies that have played the parts of “good insightful men and women”.

Do we think black people have a long history of “keeping secrets” & not wanting to acknowledge the ills in our community? Yup! So, do many of Tyler Perry’s movies kick up a lot of folks issues that they don’t want kicked up? Yup!

Is it fair that Perry seems to be held to a different kind of standard than other movie makers? No, it’s not fair. Where’s the outcry against “Boyz N The Hood” or “Belly” or any number of movies that depict men in “a not so positive” light? With that said–we don’t think it’s that big a problem to be held to a different standard….it comes with the territory of being black and talented. However, what’s not fair is the fact that when someone brings their genuine “truth” to the screen in a way that evokes serious thought and emotion black folks have a problem. But, when we see, for example, the character “Smokey” that Chris Rock played in the movie “Friday” we eat it up!!! No protests about how his character perpetuates images of black men that are damaging, poisonous, or crippling to the community. What’s up with that??? Dare we say that black folks can be oh so hypocritical….

Maybe, there’s something we’re missing. Listen in to hear what we think and then put your opinion out there.

8 replies
  1. Jason
    Jason says:

    Yawn…Black women perfect suffering Saints/ Black men the devil. OK, we got it. NEXT!!!

  2. D Kelsey
    D Kelsey says:


  3. K.O.
    K.O. says:

    I am with you, Ma'ats! I don't understand why so many people are knocking Tyler Perry for this movie, when he's simply bringing to life, Ntozake Shange's writing. I remember watching an interview with him where he was talking about "For Colored Girls", and one of the pieces he had a hard time with, was how all of the black men in the movie were negative. But he felt that it was important to stay true to the poetry that Ntozake had written. He did add one positive character just so ALL of the men wouldn't be negative, but it was more important for him to tell Ntozake's truth than it was to edit and change what had been written. Does the movie portray black men in a negative light? Yes, but if those are our experiences, and those are our stories, then they need to be told. If telling the truth will allow us to begin to heal, and make us take a look at ourselves and start making changes, then by all means, let's tell the truth. And it's not like Tyler hasn't made an effort to show black men in positive roles too…Daddy's Little Girls?Come on now! One depiction isn't representative of the whole…let's stop being sensitive, and start keepin it real!

  4. R Brown
    R Brown says:

    If you really look at the Tyler Perry movies there is usually a “good guy” who treats women right and provides a contrast to the brother who is doing us wrong. I think it's incorrect to say that the Tyler Perry movies portray black men in a negative light.

  5. Thornell
    Thornell says:

    Are you kidding me? Boyz in the Hood came out almost 20 years ago. Look at John Singleton's body of work since that movie. Belly came out 12 years ago. I DO remember there being an outcry based on the depiction of black men and the violence in the film. And I also remember it getting slammed for it being a plain ole BAD movie. So those were poor comparisons. I do believe EVERYTIME a "hood movie" comes out depicting black men in a negative light, there is an abundance of criticism. But to bring this full circle, the title of this article is telling. "A Balanced Response To “For Colored Girls” Critics…Finally A Black Man Who Likes The Movie" This movie has been out two weeks, and after a couple dozen reviews by black men slamming the depictions of black men in this movie, and in Tyler Perry films in general, you FINALLY find a black man, after searching high and low, who likes the movie.

    And why are we supposed to be not critical of Tyler Perry's work again? I would really like to hear him address the criticism being thrown at him from his fellow black men.

    • Aiyana
      Aiyana says:

      Thornell,I appreciate your perspective on this. Now, here's what I'd like for you to consider:

      Whether the movies referenced came out 20, 10, 100, or 2 years ago is besides the point. I do not agree that EVERY TIME a "hood movie" comes out depicting black men in a negative light there's an abundance of criticism. The stats at the box office show what we support and black folks (myself included…..keepin it real) show up consistently for these types of movies. And, yes after 2 weeks I did not finally find a black man who supports the movie but one of few (relative to the black men bashing the movie) who is willing to say publicly that the movie has worth and value, that it speaks to valid and real pain in our communities, and that this particular angle of life in our communities being explored does not negate all of the other beautiful realities in our communities.
      And, to your question "Why are we not supposed to be critical of Tyler Perry's work again?" I'm not advocating that you or anyone else for that matter not criticize Perry's work. And, for this purpose we're specifically talking about "For Colored Girls" and I just believe that Tyler Perry and Ntozake Shange are the wrong targets. I'll leave you with an excerpt from an article that Christopher J. Tyson wrote on the subject that I think sums up my feelings nicely:

      "It is important to note that “For Colored Girls” is not a Tyler Perry creation like Madea or mad black women. As someone who spent time in college competing on the forensics circuit (competitive speech and debate), I’ve seen performances of almost all of the “For Colored Girls” vignettes. During those competitions I often witnessed black women bring audiences to tears performing excerpts from “For Colored Girls.”

      Years before we even knew of Tyler Perry, those familiar with black literature knew “For Colored Girls.” …. to suggest that the movie’s most noteworthy achievement is reproducing negative stereotypes of black men not only undercuts a significant piece of black literature, but also trivializes the challenges black women have faced in resolving the triple consciousness of being black, woman and too often poor in America.

      Let’s be clear: black men are routinely and notoriously demeaned in news and entertainment media. These negative portrayals continue today and in some ways have gotten worse. They compound the cumulative effects of social, cultural, political and economic systems that for centuries have denied black men the ability to fulfill the roles that have traditionally defined manhood: the ability to provide for and protect one’s family. The one privilege of maleness black men have enjoyed, however, is dominance over black women.

      Just as women all over the world have historically and continue to experience subjugation at the hands of their fathers, brothers, boyfriends and husbands, black women have sometimes endured oppression both in society and in their relationships or homes. For decades now black women have been expressing the struggles of resolving their loyalty to black society, black freedom struggles and black men while simultaneously resisting intra-racial abuse and oppression.

      In the face of that legacy of resistance, for black men to cry “what about us?” is frankly narcissistic and cowardly. Furthermore, to pretend that “For Colored Girls” is somehow disconnected from black women’s freedom struggles is like pretending that America’s current political divides are somehow unrelated to our nation’s racial past."

      That's where I'm at…

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