Thursday, June 18, 2009


It's not easy being gifted and of color and American but I know it is easier then being female in the far east or even the middle east so we have very little to complain about. Yesterday on Facebook I opened a firestorm of discussion regarding racism and bad content in the media. It isn't so much that Tyler Perry sucks (he does) it's that it reinforces our negative stereotypes. Of course it doesn't surprise me that Lionsgate produces him they are a company run by the lowest denominator of human being. It is painful the success he has because is this all the man has to offer, Madea? As a group we have diversity in everything, not everyone has to be uptown and educated for certain but we need a balance we need to have a diverse representation. Okay I understand showing the fierce woman of color and her strengths being all that. We do get sick of seeing us down trodden Ho's or worse crack addicted whatever/s. I have shared in portraying my fair share certainly. Still it's about diversity and opportunity. I haven't always made the right choices in roles and I regret some of those choices. Mixed into this one has to make a living. Still no excuse but it is one just the same?...I still think if we are sourcing the material we have more responsibility to stretch and delve and expand the experience. It is broad and gorgeous and I for one hope with the paradigm shift in the highest place of power (Washington) we can celebrate it in the media. It is time we came out of the shadows end media tokenism on Television and Film and stepped up our visibility to at least 25% of content since that is what we represent in the population and people we must support the material but only if it warrants it. The tragedy of Hawtorne is that it could/should have been produced by the best and I am certain regarding Hawthorne the producers were afraid to say it sucked (Will and Jada being royalty) when it does. So now it will be a LONG LONG time until another women (of color) gets a chance to do a show as important as that.

That is why I am so personally hurt by this flop.


Austin Rhodes said...

I appreciate your concerns about Tyler Perry's material...but I do need to ask...should whites feel offended at the comedic portrayals of the Beverly Hillbillies? Or the pair from Dumb and Dumber...or, even a little closer to home for you...should hispanics and asian americans bristle at Cheech and Chong?

Don't clowns come in all colors?


Rae Dawn Chong said...

They/YOU/ I should bristle at Cheech and Chong's humor and within my family it is a HUGE "issue" we are not in agreement most of the time. NO me and my father have a vast chasm regarding his taste if you had the luxury or anti luxury of seeing C&C in concert my Fathers wife was extremely inappropriate. I am sad to say but it's their business not mine. Am I guilty because I am related? I hope not. YES we can complain about low or lowest brow comedy and by the way as far as the shows you mention the vast majority of media protraying "whites" isn't that LOW BROW number of shows protraying the White Majority is well represented, in fact beautifully. For the minority the same can not be said.

Rae Dawn Chong said...

Unfortunately clowns of color historically is all we have ever had until the last 40 years or so.

The Little rascals on up.

Austin Rhodes said...

"The Little Rascals"...I am a bit of an authority. LOL !

Buckwheat? ---> Alfalfa, Spanky, Porky

Stymie? ----> Chubby Chaney, Wheezer, Brisbane

Personally, I think the Rascals did it the right way...they were all street urchins...and Buckwheat and Stymie (from two different eras) were equals in the "gang" and truly beloved and trusted members of the group.

I interviewed Spanky McFarland shortly before he died, and he said the saddest part of those memories is that when the cameras stopped rolling, Matthew Beard (Stymie) and Billy Thomas (Buckwheat) went back to be treated "black" and not as one of the team. It was quite touching...

Back to your current Tyler Perry any better or worse for his "race" than Larry the Cable Guy is for his?

Isn't this country (and your industry) thrilled with...pleased with...impressed with...and CLAMORING FOR the future works of Denzel Washington, Hallie Barry, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith...etc etc etc...

Personally...I am waiting for "When We Were Pirates" to come out...


glt said...

May I interject a comment here?
Rae has a definite ax to grind.
Before Sidney Poitier, to my memory, all we had was Al Jolson, Little Rascals, and Butterfly McQueen!
Paul Winfield---but who's heard of him today???

In the '50's(maybe before)black culture became hip to the beat generation. Everybody wanted to score weed, bop to the tunes, and generally live with freedom of expression that was taboo in Whiteland. I hate to keep harping on the Christian right-wing, but I will until everybody gets it. They control this country, and are surely the most racist, bigoted, nay-sayers. They are anti-spiritual to the Nth degree.
Their minds are made up, by rules that were supposedly laid down over 2000 years ago! And the money boys in charge do the interpreting! It's disgusting!

But I'm off point a tad. Maybe not. Suffice it to say that they are bigoted for a reason...stupidity!!!

And their influence runs deep into our psyche...yours, mine , Rae's,
et al.

Thanks guys, I feel better.