Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tyler Perry and Chris Brown: A Teachable Moment


Earlier this week I was sitting in on a class about the Myth of
the Black Mammy.

Tyler Perry and the fact that his films are popular with
crowds and Black crowds alike came up. I mentioned
that Black comedians have a history of dressing up like
Black women begining with Red Fox and Flip Wilson.
I went on to say that in some ways it is a rights of
for Black male comedians to dress like older Black women,
ridicule them.
I pointed out that these are the very women
who have held down both Black and White families
throughout history.

The professor mentioned that one of the reasons why
Tyler Perry's films are funny is because Madea says things
out loud that Black women have been saying to themselves
since forever.

The professor went on to mention how her mother told her that
if a man ever put his hands on her, that you wait until he went to sleep
and you poured boiling hot water on him. She then went on
to mention the regional differences. In New York, it was lye,
in the west it was grease, in the midwest it was hot grits,
in the south it was just using a hot iron skillet.

A white student raised her hand and mentioned that her
never told her anything about what to do if a man
put his hands on her
and that in watching Madea was the
first time she heard a woman speak that way. There were
several murmurs in the class from other white women about
how they are beat, and that their mothers hadn't given them
a language, pep talk or pre-conditioning to understand, anticipate
or deal with it.

This was remarkable for me. In some ways I came to appreciate
the survival skills that all of our momma's have given us over

Which brings me to Rihanna. I wonder if she followed her intuition.
I wonder what her mother taught her. I wonder what her dad taught her.

There is nothing like being beat. There is nothing like being beat by
a loved one.

Here is where the teachable moment comes in . Here is an opportunity
for us to get involved in the lives of young people.

We often joke about Ike beating Tina, however this photo, if it is
true, it shows us just how dehumanizing violence is.

We can't fix what happened between them, in fact we don't know
what happened between them. However, given the attention
that the issue is receiving what we can do is take care of ourselves
and be an example to our peers and to the young people that watch
how we move

If you want to get involved there are a few organizations that do work
around gender and violence. The UNFPA does workshops. Women
Against Domestice Violence lists workshops and shelters
. The Audre
Lorde Projects does workshops and trainings around gender violence

What did you feel when you saw the Rihanna photo?

Have you thought about how Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence,
Tyler Perry, Flip Wilson and Red Fox have all dressed up like
older Black women?

For the women, did you momma's tell you anything in terms of
what to do if a many ever hit you?


thelady said...

it was very exploitative to release that photo, and way to taint the jury pool

Model Minority said...

Hey Lady,

Thank you for stopping by .

Why is it exploitative?

Why do you think that this case will require a jury?

J!!! said...

i thought about black actors in general dressing up like women after dave chapelle was talking about how some director tried to get him to dress up like a woman just for the hell of it. He said it was like a right of passage to have black actors/ comedians dress up like women in some way. Im paraphrasing but he said something to that effect. I didnt notice till he said it.

Life said...

well thought out - tho I don't really like Tyler Perry Movies.

blaqgurl said...

This is my first time comming across your blog and I really dig a lot of things you write. Almost every black female friend I have has a story of what their grandmother or mother or auntie or some women in their family has told them if a man every tried to hit her. I remember even when I was little thinking....if a man every hit me, I would pour hot grits on him in his sleep or...well I knew I would do something. Even to this day the thought of a man thinking about hitting me elicits images of getting back at him. So I this runs pretty deep in my family and I am sure of many more. I mean I don't want to be an advocate of violence but a woman must protect all I am saying hehe.

Aunt Jackie said...

My father always told me that if a man took to beating on me to poor hot lye down his ear in his sleep...he said liquid draino would do in a pinch but make it strong. There are stories about women in my family fighting back and fighting hard. Aunt Mary chasing her husband down the street with a frying pan, my father's mother was known to have ice picks hidden around the house in case her man got out of line...It was a ploy to teach us to protect ourselves, because for generations if a man beat a woman she put it with it because she was financially tied to him and there weren't allot of women living on their own with children and no husband..

Lord said...

I think it is hard for Rihanna to know what she should do. I would like her to set a "good" example for all the young women out in the world who look up to her but showing Chris Brown and any other woman-beating man out there that this is completely unacceptable. I'd like her to leave him.


I'm also completely in touch with the reality that it is not easy to leave someone that you care truly and deeply about.


I'm also aware that you staying, silently co-signs the behavior and increases the chances that you will catch a beatdown encore.

If she leaves him, she can end up spending the rest of her "Chris-Brownless" life wondering if she made a mistake... And who wants to spend the rest of their lives thinking that? Especially if she never finds anyone that makes her "happier" than he does (or did)?

So what should she do?...

Flip a coin and stick with it, lol.

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