Are positive black male leads endangered in film?

Despite the belief that there aren’t enough positive roles or representations of Black men in media, this year I noticed that there ARE. Movies like 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station, and Mandela, have rose to the occasion to provide a vision of the Black man in different eras.

All of these movies are based on true stories, where Solomon Northup, Oscar Grant, and Nelson Mandela are Black men who despite the tragic events that took place in their lives, have remained as pure as gold. Each in their own way, have placed their mark in history, affecting the lives around them.

These Black men who were incarcerated, racially profiled, and dehumanized, have shown their ability to rise ABOVE the oppressor creating stories that may shed a tear but with pride. Pride knowing that our scars heal with time and the ability to continue these stories, informing our youth and the country that we can be anything to YOU but we will not be BROKEN.

“The Haves and Have Nots” Gets Horrible Reviews; Inspires Petition Demanding OWN Dump Tyler Perry

Oprah Winfrey’s partnerhsip with Tyler Perry has gotten off to a very rocky start.

His new soap opera “The Have and the Have Nots” has been absolutely destroyed by critics for horrific writing, acting, and its adherence to racist themes and stereotypes. Everyone from the L.A. Times to the Crunk Feminist Collective has condemned nearly every element of the show .

A petition has even been launched, demanding that OWN sever ties with Perry.

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.


Tyler Perry Partnering With Oprah’s OWN Network for New Series

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network has just announced a partnership with filmmaker Tyler Perry.

OWN will reportedly host all of Perry’s upcoming tv projects, including two upcoming series.

They will be the first original, scripted programs on OWN.

From the Grio:

“The star and producer of the popular Madea plays and films said it’s a ‘dream realized’ to have an opportunity to partner with Oprah.

Life After Harpo (Run On)

Many years ago, when I was younger, less pessimistic, and even more obnoxious, the local black newspaper decided that I, along with some other black students in the area, was respectable and scholarly enough to feature in its annual round-up of ostensibly intelligent high school seniors.  Someone called a friend and me to the guidance counselor’s office and gave a us a form to complete; it featured the typical set a questions one might ask a seventeen-year-old: favorite subject(s), college choice, future aspirations, etc.  Outside of  one genuinely nice thing about a mentor, Mrs. Patterson, the answers to my questionnaire could have been surmised for what it was: a load of uninspired teenage crap, including the “Oprah Winfrey is my hero,” stock answer.

Like any child of parents who worked full-time, I was often babysat by old people and television.  As such, Oprah was part of my weekday afternoon ritual.  (Yes, I’m continuing with the ritual theme–again).  I’d come home from school, plop myself in front of Nannie and Papa’s television, and catch the last half-hour of The Young and the Restless while I did my homework.  Then, we’d catch Oprah at four.

Once I moved to Chicago I started watching Oprah every morning.  As a hater, it’s important that I begin each day with a certain degree of disdain for the world, and I find an hour of The Oprah Winfrey Show does the job.  Yet lately, the disdain I feel while watching has been replaced by great sadness, because each morning I remember that this is the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

How I will spend the nine o’clock hour next television  season is beyond me.  I’ll face that day when the tears stop.  In the meantime, I’d like to present a list: twenty-five reflections inspired by way too many years of watching The Oprah Winfrey Show.