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!

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What’s So Funny About Madea? Nothing. (Column from the Washington Post

 I would like to hear from people who both enjoy Madea as well as those who are offended or tired of him her.  Here is one man’s opinion.    

By Courtland Miloy

   Wednesday, February 25, 2009 

I went to see the Tyler Perry movie “Madea Goes to Jail,” in which Perry plays a wise-cracking black grandmother, Madea, short for “Mother Dear” and ebonically pronounced “muh deah.”

With an extensive criminal past that includes “supersize stripper,” attempted murderer and check fraud artist, Madea is a near-cult figure among many African Americans, especially women. Thanks in large part to them, Perry’s comedic creation debuted as the No. 1 movie in America over the weekend, raking in $41 million and 34 percent of the weekend moviegoing audience, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

At the AMC Magic Johnson Capital Centre 12 in Landover, where Madea is being shown 14 times a day, I was hoping to get a clue as to why this man in drag is so popular. And with the movie featuring guest appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, Dr. Phil, Judge Mathis and Al Sharpton, perhaps I’d even get in a laugh or two.

Boy, was I wrong — on both counts.

All around me you could almost hear the funny bones cracking — deep guttural laughter coming not only from kids in the audience but from my peers in the AARP set, as well.

And there I sat, silently ranting: There is nothing funny about this black man in pantyhose. And where is all of this cross-dressing-black-man stuff coming from, anyway? First, comedians Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence star in high-grossing movies as the fattest, ugliest black women that Hollywood makeup artists can conjure up, and now here’s Perry with his gussied-up version of the same butt of the joke.

By the way, I don’t want to hear diddly about Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire or Milton Berle in high heels. Having a black man play super mammy is not the same thing. Perhaps it would be were it not for America’s perverse, systemic and centuries-long efforts to humiliate African men and women and turn them into slaves.

The only good a Madea movie could possibly do would be to remind us that the scars of oppression are deep and enduring, often operating below the level of consciousness, then breaking out in the most bizarre manifestation of self-hate and self-sabotage, including pathetic images on the big screen.

Of course, Perry’s fans don’t see it that way. When I asked some women in the theater if they were at all uneasy about Perry in wigs, lipstick and rouge, they clucked tongues and rolled eyes in a manner that Madea her/himself would no doubt approve.

“Oh, please,” snapped Darlene Johnson, 51. “It’s just comedy.”

Yeah, and misogynistic gansta rap is just music.

Said Sheena Young, also 51: “He’s just multitasking. His initial budget didn’t allow for him to hire all the people he needed so he played them himself. It’s awesome.”

I’m not taking away anything from the 39-year-old Perry’s resourcefulness and ingenuity.. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps from a low-income household in New Orleans, started writing and putting on stage plays about Madea (supposedly a composite of women in his life) and went on to become one of the most successful filmmakers in America.

He has a beautiful home and his own studios in Atlanta. He hires lots of young black actors and production personnel and makes considerable contributions to worthy causes.

He is awesome.

It’s just that his movies are awful.

Here’s a typical scene:

Madea’s brother, Uncle Joe, also played by Perry, is a crusty old coot who breathes with the aid of an oxygen tank while smoking marijuana throughout the movie (he even wears a bong around his neck). Madea, ever the boss woman, scolds him mercilessly about the dangers of mixing fire and oxygen. And — here’s where the audience howls — as Madea waddles past, her behind wide as a doorway, Uncle Joe cracks: “King Kong ain’t got nothing on her.”

How’d you like to see that on a movie marquee: Madea the black woman as King Kong? That’s about as funny, say, as a dead monkey cartoon from the New York Post?

It’s not a sign of respect but one of disdain to portray black women as some updated Jemima (that’s what a white character in the movie calls her) from the antebellum South. Sure, all of Perry’s fans claim to know someone like Madea. But in truth, we know nothing — only that she is aging and irrationally angry, existing to clean up everybody’s else’s mess, a linebacker of a house servant whose unmet emotional needs remain a mystery even to the great Dr. Phil himself.

We may laugh at her, but the joke is on us.

I’m Just Saying…. Seriously~

…  or musings from being intoxicated during Monday Night Football

* Well with the Dow dropping in record numbers and the Bail Out plan in pieces on the floors of congress, I figure it’s going to take an “Incredible” to fix the economy.  Seriously!

* So I was in the hood the other day.  Picked up a bootleg copy of that new Samuel L. Jackson movie, “Lakeview Terrace.”  Sometimes you really have to watch those bootlegs.  I mean a guy can get ripped off.  I knew something was wrong when I saw Snoop Dogg playing Sam’s role.  Yea the c.o.p was being played by the D. O. Double G.  And then these bootleggers get all imaginative with their movies adding stuff that’s not supposed to be there.  They like to mix movies like a DJ mixes hip hop records.  So my bootleg copy of Lakeview was combined with Tyler Perry’s, Diary of a Mad Black Woman.  Yea.  After Snoop swiped a credit card down Mudear’s ass, I just turned the movie off.  I’m just saying! 

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* Did you get a load of John McCain smirking everytime Barack Obama got off on his ass in the debates the other night?  He had this look as if to say, “Look Sambo, you talk well and all but I am the white man… what do you think is going to happen on November 4th?” I don’t want to start any rumors, but right after the debates I was looking at an episode of Beavis and Butthead.  And Butthead asked the question,… “Senator McCain, are you my daddy?  Seriously!

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* So anyway, did I mention that it’s been quite a while since I had some?  Well when it’s been long enough for a guy everything you look at starts remindind you of sex.   I was watching Monday Night Football.  And at halftime ESPN has this segment called “The Fastest 3 Minutes in Sports.”  It’s where they cram all the highlights and scores from the previous Sunday’s NFL games.  I sat there and thought to myself, “Hmm… the fastest three minutes in sports.  Is that really supposed to be for highlights?  Or is it code for the amount of time a guy can get away from the TV and get a quickie before the third quarter starts?  I mean, thats about all a girl can ask for during halftime anyway right?

Oh… so what did I do with my three minutes?  Well that’s none of your business so I’m not gonna tell you that. 

Oh.. you want to know what happened Sunday?  No problem.  Carolina beat Atlanta, Cleveland beat Cincinnati, Jacksonville beat Houston, Kansas City upset Denver, The Saints beat the 49ers, Tampa beat Green Bay, (Aaron Rogers has a separated shoulder) Tennessee beat Minnesota, the Chargers beat the Raiders, (Kiffen is giong to be fired at any moment now) Buffalo beat the Rams (Linehan got fired) the Skins beat the Cowboys (T.O. is selfish) Chicago beat Philly, the Jets beat Arizona and Brett Favre had 6 touchdown passes.  I’m just saying….Seriously

 Steelers beat Ravens in OT