Madea and Oprah Walk into a Bar
Instead of letting all of my righteous indignation flood the internet, I email back and forth with a couple of homies about stuff we see here. We sometimes conclude that it must be our brains that our screwed up, because clearly everyone else seems okay with all of this mess. A recent string of conversations has featured a side conversation about how no black Onion exists because all of the potential black Onion articles are featured on other sites as serious thought pieces. (Now, I understand that this claim is rather reductive and does not apply solely to black people, but this is a blog about black people, so let’s go with it.) I mean, seriously, someone wrote an article about being sophistiratchet. Yes, not only is there now an official portmanteau for this “identity,” but there’s an accompanying article that does not seem to be satire. And said article is featured on a blog called For Harriet. (Yes,that Harriet. Not your mama’s cousin Harriet. Not Harriet Winslow. That Harriet.)
With articles like that, who needs satire?
But that’s not even that bad. Want to know why there’s really no black Onion? Because Madea and Sofia made a video.
Look. I had really, really resolved not to talk about Tyler Perry and Oprah anymore. I’m not here for either one of them. But I am here for literature. And black women. So I just couldn’t watch that clip promoting the two series Perry has developed for Winfrey’s OWN network and not ask the following question:
Is anybody going to hell for this?
Here we have Tyler Perry, in drag yet again, talking to Sofia, one of the most compelling characters in The Color Purple–to promote a couple of TV shows. Both Winfrey and Perry have gone to the ATM to withdraw some of that black cultural capital for a few laughs. In the process, Sofia–and her famous monologue–have been evacuated of any and all meaning. Seriously. That speech is about black women, black girls, and the danger they are in when they face certain violent forms of masculinity and patriarchy. Sofia had to fight–for good fucking reason. And yet, Winfrey is remixing that particularly poignant moment to help promote the work of a dude with a movie in theaters that features the sexual assault–even though it’s not called that–of a black woman?
Why in the world is this okay?
Is it because Winfrey and Perry are the two most powerful black people in entertainment? Is it because we forgot what The Color Purple is actually about? Is it because no one read the book?
Here’s the kicker, though: IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!! It doesn’t even rank on Madea’s list of funny moments.
Most importantly, where is Alice Walker in all of this?
Given Oprah’s involvement with black literature turned film, if y’all don’t say nothing, here’s are the Madea-centered OWN promos we have to look forward to:
- Madea and Janie watching God
- Madea telling Shelby she better quit trippin’ and get with Lute
- Madea spying on Lorraine and Theresa
- Madea turning Beloved into a Scary Movie/Exorcist comedy