I love movies. I love going to the movies. My senior year of high school, my friends and I would skip and watch movies all afternoon. Looking back, I should’ve avoided all this student loan debt and became a movie critic. I haven’t ruled it out.
As a card carrying member of the community, my favorite movie genre is Black. In the immortal words of Issa Rae, “I’m rooting for everybody Black.” I feel an obligation to support Black movies regardless. Recently I’ve found myself having the conversation with myself that Dre is having with his kids in this clip because I’ve realized going to see Black movies means I’ll either be traumatized or disappointed. (I REALLY want to see Captain Marvel this weekend. Samuel L. Jackson no longer counts though, he got that white dollar down.)
For example, when I finally mustered up the courage to watch Detroit, I had to pause the movie for a full blown panic attack. I was inconsolable during Fruitvale Station (even though I knew the story). I was PISSED when I left the theater after Birth of a Nation. I cried in the car after 42 (I was also going through a break up, don’t judge me) and I completely lost it at the end of Hidden Figures. I am not one to display emotion easily. These movies were huge triggers. I’m WEARY.
I’m exhausted by Black movies.
My mom is my movie partner. She’s been recovering from surgery and we hadn’t been in a few months. Last week, we got started again with What Men Want. I liked it. Erykah Badu’s character was HILARIOUS.
Here’s the thing. The movies my mom is going to see are limited. She likes lite, fluffy movies. She won’t go see slasher/horror films. This weekend, I want to see Happy Death Day 2U and Greta. I’ve been wanting to see Prodigy but those are out of the question if I want my mom to go and my local friends are very limited. I don’t mind going alone sometimes. I went to see Cold Pursuit alone. I liked that one too. I know we mad at Liam, but I’m a sucker for a kill everybody movie.
Anyway, tasked with choosing a movie we’ll both go see, I ask her if she wants to go see A Madea Family Funeral. She side eyed me! Her only daughter! Looked at me like I was crazy!
“No, I’m not spending my money on anymore Madea movies. Only way I’m going to see that movie is if Tyler Perry buys my ticket…. and picks me up.”
I laughed for a whole 60 seconds. But I aint gonna lie. I was relieved.
I do not want to go see A Madea Family Funeral. I had only planned on it because Tyler Perry is Black and he’s the star, supporting characters, producer, and director of the movie.
(We should probably consider the fact he’s a bit narcissistic and that keeps him from making quality movies because he won’t hire good actors or a director but I digress.)
Madea movies are not good. Madea movies are bad. There I said it.
From the plot, to the dialogue. Madea movies leave a lot to be desired. But the quality of Madea movies aren’t the only problem. The characters are cringeworthy, especially in the company of white people.
My Blackness won’t allow me to laugh at Madea WITH white people. White people love Madea because she’s exactly who they think Black and Brown women are; big, obnoxious, violent, unattractive, temperamental and funny. Tyler Perry’s characters are the kind of Black people white people aren’t threatened by. That’s why they flock to his movies and not other Black movies. White people didn’t go see The Hate U Give and Moonlight (also cried during that one). They were tricked into seeing Get Out. White people didn’t go see ‘Black’ movies before Madea.
Even in Perry’s movies without Madea (Why Did I Get Married,The Family That Preys), he almost NEVER portrays Black women positively. Tyler loves putting damaged, bitter, psycho, insecure, ignorant Black women in his movies. I really think this nigga hates us sometimes.
Furthermore, I’m tired of homophobic nig… Black people being the first in line to see a man put on a dress for entertainment. Is “manhood under attack” or isn’t it? Is the “gay agenda” and the “feminization of Black men a threat to the Black family” or do we love Madea? You can’t have it both ways.
We cannot clutch our pearls at an openly gay man in a dress on the Oscar’s red carpet and then turn around and keep supporting “straight” men who make a caricature out of Black women. You’re not threatened by feminine men, you’re threatened by someone being comfortable in their sexuality.
Anyway, I’ve long reconciled that the personal is always political and even when I just want to be entertained, I’m burdened with my conscious. My awareness won’t let me watch a bad, problematic movie with white people and homophobic Black ones. I try not to be too woke to have fun, but it happens. Not to mention that until I monetize it, movie going is not cheap.
So, I’m not going to see Madea this weekend because I don’t want to… and I’m STILL Black af.