Conflicts of Interest! I Don’t Want to Meet The Browns!

I admit it!  I have never watched a single episode of “Meet The Brown’s.”  But since I watch a lot of TNT when the NBA telecast are on, I am constantly bombarded with the stations advertisers who tell me the show is “very funny.” 

But I just can’t seem to bring myself to be interested in this show.   Every time I see highlights, all I see is Mr. Brown shuffling and clowning like Stepin Fetchit.  He looks like a joke who buffoons on the screen singing and dancing like Mantan Moreland and Sleep n’ Eat on Spike Lee’s movie “Bamboozled.” 

“Bamboozled” was meant to make a point about the images in African-American media, and how many of the same issues of yesteryear when all black people were allowed to do on movies and television was to clown and belittle themselves are still relevant today.  History shows that African-Americans shows are mostly always comedies with very little if any dramas.  Since the show City of Angels there have been no dramas on television with a mainly African-American cast.  In many ways Bamboozled seemed to make this point among others by being over the top in it’s parodies.   Or does it?  Tyler Perry’s play – turned movie – turned sitcom looks like a minstrel show just from the previews.  And it’s sickening to me.

I wonder as well why black folk have not had anything critical to say about it.  Perhaps it’s because we are proud of the success Tyler Perry has amassed in the industry.  I think most of us are proud of what he has been able to accomplish, but it seems to me like the motivation for money and acclaim is allowing him to do just about anything with this show.  And it’s like a dirty little secret that we allow it without protest.  This proves that Bamboozled is relevant though many of us critiziced it. 

I already touched on the Mudear thing.  I was fine with the original premise of the plays and I thought it made for good entertainment.  I am not mad about the movies either because it employed black people and allowed a black man to tell stories about black people.  My thing was that it’s just gotten out of hand. 

Other directors like David Simon who did “The Wire”, talked about how after he told the complete story in five seasons on HBO, he didn’t want to do a “Wire” movie or continue the series for the sake of making money.  He  didn’t want to sell out his contributions or cheapen the significance of his product. 

Perhaps it’s not a fair comparison because the two shows are different.  But I am so not impressed.  If anything I am totally disgusted with the way this show is presented.  I can only imagine the horrors of having to sit through hours of it on TV.  Often the network runs hours of the 30 minute show in marathon fashion on certain nights.

I like to laugh as much as anybody.  I can certainly laugh at myself and African-American stereotypes as well.  Stereotypical comedy done artfully is hilarious.  Stereotypical for the sake of feeding steretypes and getting paid is treason!

As black folk we should hold Perry accountable.  But unfortunately, the popularity of the program shows we may be participating in the demise of our own images.  And then we wonder why we are not taken seriously.  For all of our success, this show takes us backwards!

WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!


WAKE UUUUUUUUUUUPPP!  That was the last line and the defining statement in the Spike Lee film, “School Daze” to sum up the message to the African-Americans students who fought a hateful and ignorant battle between light and dark skinned people.  The message Dap (Lawrence Fishburn) yelled as he stood in the yard of the school was not just to those on the campus for the sake of the movie, but also for the sake of the audience who fight these battles in real life. 

These words resonated with me once again when I saw the portion of the CNN series, “Black In America” when they showed the portion regarding the AIDS virus and it’s effect on the black community.  Don’t take my word for it, read the article yourself.  I will throw out some of the stats mentioned in the piece just to peek your interest:

  • Report: AIDS epidemic in black America as severe as in parts of Africa
  • CDC: About half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black
  • AIDS leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34
  • In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people (1 in 20 residents)

    Did you see that last statment regarding the nations capital?  How amazingly scary and tragic is that?  Speaking of the nations capital, I don’t hear anything from either presidential hopeful concerning these reports and statistics.  This needs to be put on the forefront and the nation needs to face this head on!

    I have been reading a series of books regarding the Rwandan genocide of 1994 where close to a million Africans were slaughtered for many complicated yet tragic reasons.  This lack of awarness on MY part regarding the AIDS epidemic specifically in the black community is stagering.  I do know this for sure, I have not done my part to contribute to fighting this disease.  But I vow to my community to do something.  I am not exactly sure what I should do specifically.  But I know I am going to find a role where I can fight the genocide like results of this monster killing our people.  My first step is this blog.

    I say again like Dap, “Wake Up!”

    Whats My Line?

    I admit it, I am a movie buff.  I love good movies of all kinds.  I have a love and appreciation for all of the different kind of artist who can take me into their worlds and allow me to see what they see, as well as get my own interpretation.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw “The Color Purple” when I was 17 and not only almost walking out of the movie within the first 20 minutes because the contents were so dark and hurtful, but it took Lethal Weapon 2 before I could like Danny Glover in any shape or form.  My grandmother STILL hates him. 

    Anyway when I see a great movie, some of them have lines that to me define the film.  And those lines I always remember most.  When it happens, normally I exclaim on the spot, “Now that’s the line of the movie!”  Some movies have more than one line, but most I find one or two at the most that says, “Its a wrap!”  I’ll name a few for instance:

    “Frankly Scarlet I don’t give a damn.” – Gone With The Wind

    “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Jaws (The first time Roy Scheider’s character got a look at the great white shark they were to fight with.) Or “Smile you son of a bitch!” … right before he blows up the oxygen tank in it’s mouth.  Take your pick!

    “There is no winning, only degrees of losing.”The War of the Roses (Danny Devito’s character when trying to tell Michael Douglas’ character how trying to win an argument with a pissed off woman was going to go.

    “Ahhh vanity!  My favorite sin!” The Devil’s Advocate (Al Pacino as the devil himself, posing as an attorney.  This summed up the constant battle that Kienu Reeve’s character faced when trying to balance his ambition at work against the fact that his wife was losing her mind and the life of his family would be the price for the success he desired.

    “Hey Sal.  How come you don’t got no brothas on the wall?”Do The Right Thing (Giancarlo Espisoto as Buggin Out who’s battles with Sal told of the polarizing issues of race within a Bedford Styssevant community in Brooklyn New York.) Or, “D mothafucka D!” – Radio Raheem trying to buy batteries from the Koreans.

    “Am I here to fucking amuse you?”  – Goodfellas (Joe Pesci – need I say more?)

    “Shut yo five dollar ass up before I make change!”  New Jack City (Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown talking to Christopher William’s character during the roundtable discussion.)  Martin’s parity of it was hillarious with the fake dog.)

    Oh here is a favorite!  “The call me Mr. Tibbs!”  In The Heat of The Night (Sidney Potier)

    Ok last one.. Most people will think of, “You can’t handle the truth!” when they think of A Few Good Men.  But my favorite line is Jack Nicholson’s first as Col. Nathan Jessup which sets the tone for the remaining dialogue he would have as the drama develops.  “Who the fuck is PFC William T Santiago?”  You knew it was ON when he said those words!

    What movie lines can you think of that bring you right to the time you last saw your classic?