Transformations: The Family That “Preys”


Madea’s Big Happy Family comes out this weekend and there has been a “feud” brewing that has spilled out into the media between Director Spike Lee and director Tyler Perry . Now, I’ll do my best to recap: In 2009 in an interview Mr. Lee, while acknowledging the success of Mr. Perry’s films thought that it solidified or promoted negative stereotypes of blacks in America.

“Each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors, but I still think there is a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery,” he said in ’09. “I know it’s making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better. … I am a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows (Tyler Perry’s ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’), and I am scratching my head. We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?”Spike Lee

“This is where the whole Spike Lee [thing] comes from — the negativity, this is Stepin Fetchit, this is coonery, this is buffoonery, and they try to get people to get on this bandwagon with them, to get this mob mentality to come against what I’m doing. I’ve never seen Jewish people attackSeinfeld and say ‘this is a stereotype,’ I’ve never seen Italian people attack The Sopranos, I’ve never seen Jewish people complaining about Mrs. Doubtfire or Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. I never saw it. It’s always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a new version of the darkie because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone.”Tyler Perry

Let that marinate for a bit. Now, see if you can take the racial context out. Done? Ok. What is this really about? Two people with the same goal. To inform, entertain and most of all inspire us with a dialogue surrounding the struggles of ordinary people who overcome situations in their lives and come out on the other side empowered and transformed. Same goal but through different means. One through serious, rigorous debate and the other through feel good laughter. Which one is right? Does one have to be wrong?

I think there is a lesson in this. Many times we meet people who have the same desire as we do, the same passions as we do and possibly the same goals that we have. We find similarities and possible kinship in them because we sense that they share the same aspirations. We go our own way, learning, achieving, reaching higher until our goal(s) are accomplished. But we mustn’t criticize or look down on those who go a different route, forge a different path, traveling in a way that may seem strange or different to us. I’m learning this lesson. It’s all part of the “transformational” process. It’s all in an effort to be balance in my thinking. My goal is to be the best version of myself that I can be. There are those who are on the same road that I’m on, only they chose their own direction. They navigate themselves differently. Instead of “preying” on the differences and criticizing the person, I’m going to pray that we all reach our goal of self-improvement and encourage, empower and assist each other. Maybe sometime soon Spike and Tyler can hopefully display the unity that’s so badly needed.

Dedicated to all the men out there that are who are working hard out there battling the negative  stereotypes in their own special way.

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About TheStyleGent

I blog about character, competency and clothing. Giving back, living well and looking sharp is how you live life with style. What good is a new suit if the man inside is rotten?

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