‘Everything About The Film Screamed Tyler Perry Instead Of Feminism’


Vibe | November 9, 2010 - 4:42 pm

2) ‘Everything About The Film Screamed Tyler Perry Instead Of Feminism’ // The Feminist Griote

I have been anticipating the film release of For Colored Girls since I heard the announcement. I was elated that Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf was going to be introduced to a new generation of women who might not have ever discovered this piece of Black literature on their own. Although I was happy the choreopoem was going to be made into a film, I had dire concerns and apprehensions because Tyler Perry was involved. Tyler Perry was not adding his name to a finished product like he and Oprah did for the film Precious. He was going to be producing and directing the film. I studied the choreopoem in college and I just remember reading it and seeing myself and my fellow sisters in the stories in the play. Shange wrote about date rape, abortion, domestic violence, and dysfunctional love all themes that every woman in my immediate circle including myself has dealt with in some form or another.

Finally November 5th came along and I saw the film. The film was everything I expected a Tyler Perry production to be. Everything about the film screamed Tyler Perry instead of feminism. The one thing I loved and appreciated about Shange’s choreopoem is the fact that the play is told by seven women who are represented not by name, but by colors which in doing so these seven women represent all women. Each of the women suffers from a different aspect of oppression, but by not giving them a name their story belonged to every woman. Therefore by Tyler Perry taking universal feminist issues and turning them into characters the universal message I believe gets lost in translation.

I hated the fact that Tyler Perry took so much creative license with the work. Whoopi Goldberg’s character doesn’t exist in the original work and I really do not see the purpose her character played in the overall theme and telling of the movie. Perry has an obsession with preaching in his movies and inserting religion. Which in theory isn’t a bad thing, but Tyler Perry doesn’t understand the art of subtle storytelling and tends to turn everything into a gross exaggeration. Whoopi Goldberg’s character was the stereotypical overly religious prude who comes off asexual and emotionally detached from the present world she lives in because she is so “heavenly minded.” I hated Whoopi’s character because her character wasn’t allowed to claim her power as a woman and Shange’s chorepoem is all about women finding their own inner strength and moving to ends of their rainbow where there is hope.

I don’t know if Tyler Perry knows that a woman can be a Christian and still have a libido one doesn’t have to cancel out the other. Every woman in the film finds the strength to rise and overcome except Whoopi’s character and I don’t like the message that is being conveyed about women of faith. Another faulty character depiction that I found problematic was Thandie Newton’s character who I feel Tyler Perry dug up the tragic mulatto stereotype and played it up to the 20th degree. Why must the bi-racial Black woman always be painted as being downtrodden and miserable?

Read the rest of this entry at The Feminist Griote

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