By Yasmeen Muqtasid, Founder & President of Black Women Matter, Inc.
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — At first I thought Spike Lee was just hatin’ but after going to see the latest installment of the Madea franchise by Tyler Perry – I’ve got to shout it loud and proud that “I’m with Spike.” Don’t get me wrong – Tyler Perry is EXTREMELY gifted. He also seems to be a very nice person, generous and kind-hearted. Don’t know him – but from what we all see of his every day character there’s no doubt he has many admirable qualities and an impressive work ethic.
With that said, I must also say – that up until Saturday, April 23, 2011, I was a huge Madea fan. I first fell in love with the Tyler Perry Madea phenomenon after seeing the Madea Goes to Jail play at the Kodak Theater. I thought the characters were funny, yet respectable and the message was rich with spiritual undertones on the importance of faith and family. So I was more than excited to see the latest Madea’s Big Happy Family flick. I planned for weeks to see the film, purchasing advance tickets and even arrived an hour prior to show time to beat any crowds. I had eagerly awaited this much-needed cinematic break from reality.
However, reality is what gave me a classic Madea slap in the face as I sat through an excruciating storyline full of back-to-back black female characters that were the epitome of the most popular “angry, annoying, nagging, loud, unattractive, beat-down-your-man,” stereotypes of black women. The movie depicts all of our worst stereotypes on Barry Bonds steroids. I found these stereotypes to be extremely dreadful and frankly I was surprised that they were coming from Tyler Perry – who I had previously thought did a nice job of creating positive roles for black women.
Unfortunately, any earlier positive female roles Perry did create – now seem like they were just a figment of my imagination after seeing the first hour of Madea’s Big Happy Family.
Let me explain. There was the obese, weed-smoking auntie Bam who just couldn’t get enough of a high to satiate her appetite – to the overweight, cold-cream wearing daughter Tammy, who is so down on her man even after he brings her beautiful flowers for their anniversary, to this same couple’s Robin Harris Bébé’s kids that continuously refer to their dad as “punk ass.” Then there’s the pretty Kimberly, who plays the cold-hearted, career-hungry sister that treats her handsome husband (Mr. Old Spice) with spiteful disdain for no reason. And if that wasn’t enough, Kimberly is also depicted as an unfit and unloving mother who is cruel to her sweet-faced 18-month old son.
Really, Tyler Perry? Are black women that bad? Apparently so – because it doesn’t let up here.
Byron’s character, a.k.a. Bow-Wow, has some extreme baby-mama drama with his fast talkin’, burger pimpin’, ghetto