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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Image...How many of us have them?

A couple of weeks ago, I engaged in a lively discussion regarding the images of Black Men in entertainment. The statement that proceeded the firestorm was:

"I'm proposing a boycott on all movies that portray Black Men dressed in women's clothing."
(The Tyler Perry bashing was surprisingly minimal.)

But it made me think (as debates often do...) about the portrayal of images in the media and how we are programmed to accept, embrace and possibly perpetuate stereotypes due to the entertainment industry's ability to spoon feed gruel with a suitable amount of sugar. The lively little discussion brought to light some of the caricatures that follow:

The Angry Black Man ~ and not just angry but a "boogie man savage who has yet to be imprisoned". I know precious few truly angry black Men. Most are too busy being Fathers, Husbands, Entrepeneurs, Homeboys, Friends and Family to find the necessary time/energy reserve for anger. Let's understand the culture for a split second: Black men rarely smile...on the dance floor, in church, at work, on public transit...a wide open grin is deemed less than cool...and we all know...
...Brotha's are the Definition of Cool

The Angry Black Woman ~ somehow, Black Women are louder, angrier and far more aggressive than anyone else on earth...and I thought that made us sexy >strikethrough<. VH-1 is singlehandedly packaging, processing and mass producing the image of the Aggressive Black Woman. Loud and erroneous, vocal and erratic, just plain angry and apparently powerless, the image of the "man eating Sistah" is a reality tv mainstay.

If you believe the hype: "We gone GET YOU CORRECT! Tell you da truf! Keep it 100!" and if you don't like ain't a man, "cuz we just keepin' it real!"

The Effeminate Male ~ The screaming tea kettle that set the cauldron boiling. Comedian, actor, Actor/comedian, Comedic/Actor, action star, extra...Icon, Layman...A BlackMan draped in women's clothing is apparently a Holly~huckster mainstay. This is no new phenomena, this question has been posed ad nauseum...and I'll pose it here: Name a famous actor/comedian in a major tv/movie/sitcom role who has NOT dressed in drag to make the joke, facilitate a catharsis, make a point...thus far, I'm aware of one: Redd Foxx!

The Idealized Female Saint/Inept Black ~ ...I stopped watching sitcoms about 4 billion years ago for one simple reason. If a Father figure is present (and that's a rarity), he is a fat, barely literate, sloppy, technologically retarded, and an unrepentant doofus slob who enjoys his doofosity ignorance. Seriously?!!! This is a two fold curse, ladies...follow me: If's he's "good for nothing" what is he good for? Nothing...what should you expect? Nothing...and what do you do when he's 5% short of your Lifetime ideals? You/we make them feel like nothing. The other side: Men...if she views you thusly, what do you do? Nothing. What do you expect? Nothing. Who do you blame? I'll leave you to that...

The Black President Who Precedes Armeggedon/The End Times/Catastrophically Life Ending Patterns of Nature.

Watch the Weather Channel closely, Sir...

We have so many more images to choose from, and somehow our entertainment dollar is appropriated to promote images that highlight/create/speculate/reinforce the negative.  In the course of this discussion, we sought to examine and understand the line drawn in the sand between "entertainment" and destructive generalizations...

Your thoughts?

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