DeityNyota

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How To Be Black: I have to agree with Mia McKenzie

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One of my Facebook contacts thought it would be funny to post an article titled  “How To Be Black In America: A (Relatively) Short List” written by author and activist Mia McKenzie. Mia studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh ; and is described as being a smart, scrappy Philadelphian (now living in the bay area) with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She see’s herself as being a black feminist and a “freaking queer” (her words not mine); who’s thoughts and ideas are often reflected in her writings, which have won her such awards and grants as:

  • Astraea Foundation Writers Fund Award, 2009
  • Leeway Foundation Transformation Award, 2011

She comprised a ‘short list’ of things that black people should do in order to become accepted or seen as normal by the rest of society.  Now,  knowing my friend I’m assuming this list was brought forward in attempts to poke fun of CNN anchor and social contributor Don Lemon. Who recently shared with the world the lessons his families elders taught him about to conduct himself. But in my personal opinion, her ‘list’ actually back fired.

Now, I’m no one of importance, I haven’t won any literary awards nor had any of my works published, but (based upon what I’m seeing) I feel that If  she was attempting to engage in a game of snarky sarcasm, it honestly didn’t work. Because I and many others happen to agree with the list she provided. But I’ll explain the hot sticking points for me, in more detail; because I think some ignorant, close-minded, and petty black folks are missing the over all big picture.

Here’s some of the list

1. Don’t sag your pants. Pull them up. Slowly. Don’t make any sudden movements: I don’t know about not making any subtle moves, but yes, please pull  up your pants. And while you’re at it, wear a belt. I do not want to see your boxers, much less think this prison style of dress is appealing or cool. This goes for the young ladies as well. Advertising your goods in low-rise jeans or cut off shorts that stop two inches short of your burning bush is not the example of a respectable young woman. Nor is this look cute either. And you’re wondering why you’re having men make derogatory comments via sexually explicit and suggestive ‘complements’.

2. Stop talking about racism. That’s over. (see: black President): No, don’t stop talking about racism, but do understand that we too are just as guilty of being racist. Not only towards other ethnicities, but we do it to one another (inter-cultural racism based upon complexion). We too become enraged with black men/women whom chose to date/marry someone who’s not black, and we too say and carry out racist actions towards others.

So if we’re going to point out the wrongs of others, we MUST acknowledged what we’re no better. If we’re going to talk about slavery, let touch on how ‘we’ (some of our African ancestors) sold us into slavery as well.

Let’s focus on how the Black Egyptians enslaved the Black Israelites/Hebrews.

Let’s talk about how we’re still slaves in mentality as a result of the physical enslavement we’ve endured (and how we continue to perpetuate this mind-set with our actions towards one another).  If we’re to have an honest talk about racism, let’s be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the part that we play.

3. Stop asking the black President to do anything to help you. That’s reverse-racism. Or something: This one still baffles me too this day. Because I keep asking black people this, what do “WE” want him to do for us that we can’t and shouldn’t already be doing for ourselves?

We keep harping on what he’s done for other communities, but we don’t mention the fact that these other communities do what we refuse to do; work together! They fight together; stand together for what they believe in and they hold the government (not just the President) accountable as such.

They learn the process of authoring bills and legislation in their favor, and they fight to push these bills and acts through the house and senate. They’re active in local/state/federal government and they don’t take no for an answer.

They VOTE during the primary and mid-term elections; because they understand that who ever is voted into the house/senate and local government affects the issues they hold dear. This is something many of ‘us’ fail to do. How can we hold the President accountable for what’s wrong in our communities when WE won’t even hold one another and ourselves accountable is my question? If we don’t fight to keep our communities free of drugs and gang violence, how in the heck do we expect the President to rid our communities of crime? He can’t do that for us, we have to do that!  If we don’t fight to ensure our children receive adequate health care and eduction, why do we expect him to do it for us?

4. Get an education somehow. Speak properly, for Christ’s sake. But don’t be uppity: I love this one! YES, WE DON’T STRESS education enough in our homes and in our communities! So yes, I’m all for education and I feel we need to fight diligently to ensure that our children understand the importance of being academically competitive.

AND YES, we need to teach our children how to speak proper English. Slang and street talk won’t help you get a job and it won’t assist them with effectively articulating themselves. The perception of individuals who ‘talk like that’ is one of negative stereotypes  (uneducated, dumb and ‘hood’). And may we agree with it or not, it assist people with passing judgment upon first meeting you. If WE seek to be seen for our intelligence and not appearance, DO NOT give society more ammunition to label you.

5. Be nicer. You know people are intimidated by you, right? Why are you making it harder on yourself?: There are some sisters and brothers with some nasty, unsavory attitudes. Even though this is not specific one ethnicity, we can all admit that we’ve shaken our heads at them while standing in line at the supermarket.

We’ve witnessed them speaking harshly to customer service representatives, and cursing out cashiers.

We’ve seen them hold up lines at events cursing out the volunteers because they paid “too much money” to get in for this.

WE see it all the time and it’s not a good look for us. THEY (the one’s whom demonstrate this behavior) make us all look bad, because there’s no need to be that way. You don’t have to curse people out or tell them like it ‘T.I. is’ (rolling my neck and snapping my fingers) to get your point across. But we see this every day. The manner in which many of ‘us’ carry ourselves is very unbecoming and ugly.

6. Be successful somehow. But do it without any kind of help. I mean, that’s how white people did it, right? No help whatsoever: Check out the chart below, and ask yourselves’ why don’t ‘we’ American born Africans get it?

Black Africans and people of African Origins come to this country and fare better in entrepreneurship, education, and finances than that of American Born Africans; whom have the same opportunities available too them, yet we’re lagging in these areas. They come here with absolutely nothing but a few mere belongings and they open businesses that are thriving (some within our community), they’re graduating with higher GPA’s from prestigious institutes of higher education and they pass down self-made wealth to their children.

That speaks volumes for how ungrateful ‘we’ (those of us born here) are. They’re more successful that most of us; and they do it with very little to no assistance.

We teach our children to become great workers (depending upon someone else to create job opportunities for us) while they teach their children to become the employers.

They understand the importance of commerce and how it’s linked to successful business ownership.

They do what we fail to do, stress education!

So, if they can find a way to be successful with nothing, what’s stopping ‘us’? They work together! They fund businesses with one another and they understand how there’s power in numbers. And its less of them; but they’re faring better than ‘us’; making do with next to nothing and still making it.

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7. Read a lot of books. Get recommendations from awesome people: YES! Black people need to encourage reading not only for our children but for ourselves. The problem I see with many of us is that we don’t read enough. And its one of the reasons why the chart listed above shows how we’re falling behind in education, and median house hold income.

Many African Americans refuse to broaden their scope and perception of life while gaining a plethora of knowledge on various topics by taking the time to read.

We’ll read Zane’s Sex Chronicles and 50 Shades of Stupidity; but we won’t read about African History, or how to become economically successful. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging reading! Pick up a book and turn off them damn soap operas and loosely based realty T.V. shows.

8. If you’re black and GLBT, choose which of those communities to align yourself with. I think the choice is obvious. (see: Recent Supreme Court Rulings): WE do this to our GLBT sisters and brothers! African-Americans reject them based upon sexual orientation due to religious beliefs and what we assume to be social norms.

WE see them as being an abomination, because many of us mistakenly believe that they made the choice to be gay (going against God’s design); thus such broad support within the African-American community for Prop 8.

WE don’t believe that their fight for equality is civil like ours, so WE reject their claims and tell them that their concerns are not ours!  We’re the one’s who reject them. Now, I have to admit that throughout the years our ideas and stances have changed, but African American’s still stand stanch in their fight against these civil unions (or making their marriage legal)

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9. Try really hard to get on a jury: YES! We complain about African-Americans not being judge by a jury of their peers, but we’re not getting actively involved in the litigation process. We will refuse to sit on jury duty (see it as an inconvenience) yet get mad when a brother or sister is convicted of a crime by people who don’t look like them. Take a look at these statistics and just image if we’re more active in the legal system, ensure that everyone is judged equally.

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10. Love: Yes, this is another problem with ‘us’! We don’t love one another enough. Black men and women don’t show one another enough love; and our mothers and fathers don’t show their children they love them enough.

We don’t have enough love for our communities, public schools and homes to ensure that they’re crime and drug free, up to code and a healthy environment for our children to flourish.

We don’t love our streets enough to keep them clean (NO we don’t) and we don’t love ourselves enough to ensure the images being projected of ‘us’ are not the negative and stereotypical images we see daily.

We don’t love ourselves enough to eat more healthier, nourishing foods that will combat hyper tension, diabetes and cancer. Many of us don’t even drink water because we don’t like the taste of it.

So yes, the Black Community is in dire need of love, love for one another, our children, our environment, our health/overall well-being and ourselves.

11. Look hard at your own individual selves and fix it so you can be better at love: One of the worst things in the world is witnessing a man or woman who refuses to take responsibility for their contributions to the dysfunctional relationships they engage in. These people will always blame everyone else for what went wrong in their relationship/marriage (it’s always the other person fault), while completely (conveniently) absolving their actions and themselves of being a contributing factor to why they’re either unhappily married, or can’t stay in a healthy relationship with anyone.

Some of ‘us’ fail to understand that for every action there’s a reaction and that sometimes the things we do and say to those we keep company with can be the reason why they’re “crazy”. Crazy doesn’t happen over night, there’s a gradual process of perpetual behavior (in most cases) that causes an individual to react a in a specific manner. Although this is not specific to one ethnicity, I always stress to both women and men how important it is to take the time they need to work on one’s self first! Prior to hopping into a new relationship after leaving another. I see so many people seek love from others, because they lack the spiritual tools needed to find love for one’s self. So I’m in complete agreement with this one.

12. Make crazy good, life-altering art: This one I can agree with 100%. And Its one of the reasons I started my small, minority, veteran, woman owned entertainment company. I was tired of seeing the images that society (and black people) believes to be an accurate representation of who we are. I seek to provide thought-provoking, socially controversial art that makes people think about how we as a people are being viewed and how “we” as a people view ourselves. We’ve seen so much of the negatives in the media that not only do other ethnicities believe this is who we are; we’ve come to terms with these images by embracing, internalizing and emulating them in the media geared towards black social-psycho consciousness.  The ‘art’ that we see today is no longer imitating life. And I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the lives of young black men (and women) is now imitating what we have been brainwashed into believing is art. Which is composed of nothing more than mediocre rap verses, over a hot looped track, heavy base line with half-naked (or fully nude) women in videos and on album covers; has replaced  what many within the African-American Community consider to be creative. There must come a time when ‘we’ become sickened with the perversion of our art by the entertainment industry; that’s telling us what it means to be black.

Please read “The 2nd Amendment vs. The Thug Image of Color”

https://dietynyota.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-2nd-amendment-vs-the-thug-image-of-color/

I’m not sure if Ms. McKenzie was seeking to be funny, or poke fun of African-American pendants via social satire; but may she realize it or not, she made some really good points.

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When Being Freaky is Being Plain Greedy

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Image I happend to run across this posting on a friends Facebook page that I frequent and stir the pot of controversy in from time to time.  The posting read

“I’m a 39 year old black man who’s so much in love with my wife… But at the same time I’m real freak…I have fantasize about having a threesome…how do I go about telling her.”

Keeping it PG here, he explained that she’s no longer providing the ‘spark’ that he’d once experienced upon meeting her many years back; and that he was contemplating adding an ‘additional member‘ to his team. In his mind, he felt that this would bring forward a newness of passion that would provide excitement to a rather dull love life. But, the new team member could only be coached by him! Since he was the team hitter, no one else (no other man) could step up to the plate and take a swing at his wife. “that’s me and mines” he proudly stated.

Here’s my take on this whole issue that men face when dealing with desires of new flesh.

I had to explain to him that its quite possible that he’s not the only one who’s think about a new member if that area of his marriage is lacking. Trust and believe there are times that his wife deals with pleasing him while sacrificing her own needs (and possibly thinking about something new). And I assured him (as well as many other men that’ve had this conversation with) that his spouse may not feel that his performance is all that great either. Thus she’s putting the same efforts into these lack luster sessions as he is. You get what you give. When ever your spouse feels that being with you becomes a duty, he/she will no longer feel a desire for intimacy. Because now it becomes one of those chores that we must do but really lack the time, patience or energy to complete.

You’ll experience this lack when YOU as their spouse fail to continue to do the same things you did to get them, as a means of keeping them. Drafting a new member to your husband and wife team does nothing but add complications to a situation involving two people who’s business should be kept amongst themselves. The bedroom is the sanctuary of a married couples love; that’s designed to nurture the intimacy they share between one another, contained within the vows they took before God unto each other. Their flesh has become one. And the last thing anyone (man or woman) should want to do is bring forward someone who’s values for love and intimacy may not be the same as yours, or that may bring added drama into your union.

I personally can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want someone else to view first hand the dysfunction between them and their spouse? The most intimate details that should shared between the woman/man in which you’ve formed a covenant before God should be taken before God, not “Sugar” the shake dancer.

But I found it funny how he loved his wife so much; and she was everything he ever wanted in a woman; but he was unwilling to ensure that she was just as satisfied as he wanted to be. He couldn’t see how selfish he was in his desire for new flesh; using the cop-out that its in his nature as a man to want more than one lover. This ‘desire’ which is really greed was causing him to have a mental block, that was hindering his ability to see the sensuality in his wife. His self-proclaimed ‘freakiness’ was nothing more than a selfish justification to satisfy his lust for another woman. Because I’m sure he’s already got the woman he wants to introduce to his wife picked out. If he hasn’t already slept with her.

After an exchange of opinions, he finally admitted that he simply really wanted to leave his wife for another woman. Which is a classic case of someone thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.

The 2nd Amendment VS. The Thug Image of Color.

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1016920_4928400260706_2106243091_nI find it interesting how we view gun ownership in this country (The United States Of America). On one hand, one image is seen as patriotic and a freedom of one’s rights to bear arms. Where as on the other hand, one image is seen as a depiction of impoverished crime, pre-medidated murder and a prime example of what’s wrong with our society.

Or, its seen as being justification for why the first image must fight to defend their rights to bear arms.

I don’t like to make such topics an issue of ethnicity (not race, because we’re all of the human race). But I like to focus more on the damaging affects of social norms, stereotypes and sensationalized propaganda in the media.

The first image is seen as being a normal American family, that’s proud of their impressive collection of firearms. The father is a man that provides for his family and will protect them at any cost. Society would have you believe that they’re all in their right minds, have no criminal records and have possibly never been convicted of a crime. They’re middle class (or affluent), drug free, educated and possibly reside in the suburbs. You wouldn’t think that maybe (just maybe) the guns they’re holding may have possibly been purchased on the black market (illegally). Thus they’re not accounted for and may have been used to commit a murder/crime. Looking at this image, you first thought would not be organized crime, nor would you see either of them as being members of a White Supremacist, anti-government group.

Maybe they are, and maybe they aren’t. But would the negatives of who would we assume they are would not be the first thing that comes to mind.

Let’s flip the script for a second

The second image could be one of an individual who has legally purchased and owns his firearm. Its possible that he resides in an environment where he’s forced to own a weapon to protect both his family and himself. Fire arms that he may have purchased legally! But, because of his style of dress, and yes; his ethnicity he’s more than likely to be seen as a repeat offender who’s been incarcerated and is possibly actively engaged in organized crime. The images being projected of individuals who looks like image two has programed society into believing that he’s a thug, gangster or pimp that’s ready to rape, rob, kill and steel.

Maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. We know no more about him than we do the family in the first image. But his skin tells us what he is and what he’s about. Why is this an issue?

I place the blame for the manner in which we view image one verse image two to rest squarely upon the shoulders of the entertainment industry and the 24 hour news programming. Carefully selected stories and crime dramatizations assist with feeding society a hearty helping of visual and electronic media that tells us image two is bad, and image one is good. Not to mention the dramatic change in the hip hop/rap industry that glorifies trafficking narcotics, prison culture, premeditated murder and sexual objectification of women through date rape/sexual assault; its easy for us to view image two as representing the negative of American society.

But what if neither is good, nor bad?

What if they both have a criminal history?

Or what if neither have ever been incarcerated?

If you where to see either of these images walking down the street with an open carry weapon; what would your reaction be? Your reaction to their presence demonstrates your perception of who they are as people (may you know them personally or not). And it demonstrates how media has assisted you with developing your opinions people who look like them.

You’re Pro Life, but you Love Guns, Support the Death Penalty, and Hate Government Aid For the Poor

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934651_623154197709566_1828265228_nI personally have found the whole pro-life stance interesting. Because the people who protest against abortion will sit for hours upon end picketing and protesting outside of abortion clinics, even going as far as bombing the buildings and shooting doctors who perform the procedures. Yet you won’t see them putting the same time and energy into ensuring hungry children both stateside and abroad are feed; or that children in war torn and impoverished communities/countries receive the care they need.

They’re all for adoption, as long as the couple seeking to adopt is a stereotypical, heterosexual, Christian/Puritan model of what society deems “wholesome” and “stable”  Homosexuals, single women/men and immigrants need not apply.

Do NOT abort your child after a rape/sexual assault; because

A. That was in God’s plan

B. Your body should have ‘shut that whole thing down’, so its possibly your fault that a child was conceived during that ‘situation’ you got yourself into.

C. At 15 weeks a human fetus can pleasure his/herself ; so they have a concept of pain.

I kid you not, A Republican Representative used that explanation as his reasoning for standing against Abortion and Planned Parenthood.

In my honest opinion (and this is just me speaking) you can’t say you care for the well-being of an unborn fetus future; yet care nothing for them once they’re here. And this is not to say that all children who’re spared from abortion are birth into these unfortunate circumstances, but the question comes to light

Do pro-life people really care about the lives of these children?

Or do they care more about pushing a political/religious agenda?

You hate abortion, but you’ll kill someone when standing your ground. And you have the right to defend your property; you’ve worked for it and its yours. But when you see these people justify the slaying of unarmed individuals (such as Travyon Martin) based more so upon behavior in one’s past or stereotypes.

Are you really “pro-life” if you feel he deserved to die?

You hate abortion, but you can’t stand such government funded programs as WIC, Foodstamps and TANIF, that assist parents on hard times with providing nourishment for their chdilren. BUT you feel that billions of dollars in Government spending is justifiable as long as its for new military weapons systems and vehicles.

You’re cool with bombs and bullets, but hate breadbaskets and free government cheese.

Never mind educating these children after their born. Because you feel the Department of Education should be done away with. So not only do you NOT care if they starve, but you have no problem with them being shot and killed if someone feels threatened by their clothes and stature, and you care nothing about supporting the very system set up to ensure they’re academically competitive if they lack the funding needed to attend privatized institutes of education.

So you want them alive, just malnourished, impoverished, uneducated and at risk for targeting.

I’m honestly on no side of the fence when it comes to such hot button issues as abortion. Because I feel that various circumstances arise which may cause a woman to make an unfortunate choice (which is not an easy one). But I just wonder about the people who’re pro-life, yet stand against programs that provide food aid, medicine and education for disadvantaged children? Not saying that a poor woman must abort her child; but

are you really pro-life if you don’t support the programs that assist some people (disadvantaged and impoverished) with sustaining life?

The Top Twelve Reasons Why So Many Good Black Men Are Still Single (Just a hint, Its Black Women)

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I love reading articals such as this one. Because it further demonstrates to me that ‘we’ as a people really need to wake up, and stop playing the blame game.

So, just a basic synopsis, it all boils down to the pits falls of black women according to this article.

(http://www.afro.com/sections/news/afro_briefs/story.htm?storyid=72903#.UfahrestofM.twitter)

Black Women, (according to this article) are the top 12 reasons why so many (good) black men are still single.
Never mind the possibility that maybe (just maybe) some black men still have unresolved issues with past relationships that are hindering their ability to engage in happy and healthy relationships with “good women” in their present. Because its a myth that some black men cheat on, misuse and/or abuse women; due to a fear of experiencing re-occuring hurt. Dismiss that, because its all a ploy by ‘the man’ to destroy the image of black men.

There’s no chance that some black men may also be superficial. Spending more time looking for the women who look like Miss. Black America while lacking the ability to get to know her for who she is (beyond her sex and what she looks like).

And there’s no way that some black men (or men in general) have a negative view of all women (womanizers); and it doesn’t matter her skin, looks, or levels of education; he’s just resentful towards the female gender period. And last I checked, its nearly impossible to engage in a healthy relationship with the people you deem to be your enemy. Trust me when I say I’ve meet a few brothers like this in my time.

It all boils down to the fact that black women fail to realize the worth of a black man. We’re superficial, materialistic, indecisive, have unrealistic expectations and don’t know what a good man looks like when they see one. Thus, the continued perpetual ‘blame game’ that black men and women willingly engage in, while conveniently absolving one’s self of all responsibility for how ‘we’ as individuals contribute to the dysfunction in our unions with the opposite sex.

This is no different than a scored woman blaming her broken past with men on the ageless excuses that ‘all men are dogs’; even though she keeps choosing ‘dogs’ because she believes that’s what she deserves. The people that any man or woman choses to engage in a relationship with is a reflection of how these individuals see themselves. And if you continue to get with people who only like you when you have money, when you’re having sex or when you look good, then you value yourself as being nothing more than the physical tangibles that can and will change with time. Or, you chose people who’ll treat you with the little worth and respect that you limit yourself too.

I PERSONALLY feel that the major sticking points in this article should resolve to the fact that its all about one’s choices in life. And these choices are honestly (to me) not gender specific. Because no two women or men are the same; so the blanket generalizations and stenotypes do not apply to all situations. WE (men and women) have all been over looked by a potential mate at some point in time in our lives. But to say that black women (or black men for that matter) is the reason why an individual whom society deems as being ‘good’ or a good catch is single is preposterous!

Sometimes “WE” think we’re good; but there are people and past lovers who’ll beg to differ. People see things within us that we don’t see in ourselves; and if we’re unable/unwilling to acknowledge the positives and negatives of our personality traits and habits, that too can lead one to live a single life.

Not to mention not being willing to compromise of one’s views of gender roles (traditional vs. modern), possible hang ups with religious beliefs (if any) and even an inability to see the opposite sex as being equal in value or worth (i.e. women aren’t as smart as men, or don’t contribute to society on the same level as men); these are all hang ups that some men have that I feel are worth mentioning in this article.

Lets not forget about this culture of being unfaithful. Before you become enraged, I’m not saying that ALL black men can’t be faithful to one woman. But there’s this social falsehood influencing SOME men that being faithful to one woman is not in a man’s nature.  I beg to differ with that; because no matter how many women a man beds, there will always be one woman that remains his true love. And if your heart is with this one woman, but you fail to acknowledge or accept her as being the woman meant to be your wife; this too can leave you single. You’ll waste time seeking completion in empty women (the loose women you chase after) due to the fact that you’re pride won’t allow you to admit and accept the fact that you’ve honestly already found what you’re missing in the woman you continue to reject (for fear commitment).

But, for the author and those who’re in agreement, it all comes down to none other than the misguided, superficial, untrustworthy, scorned and resentfully bitter black woman. The ‘bed winches’ of slave owners, who’re brainwashed by a society that rejects black love and keeps us divided.

And black men themselves have very little to do with their singleness.

I love it! Its like saying, I burn my self repeatedly, but its my mothers fault that I refuse to take my hand off the stove top burner.

How convenient it is to blame other people for where “we” as individuals fall short.

No Nuptials, No Nookie! (Part 1)

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Written by DeityNyota

December 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

“Cross…Alex Cross”

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Why is supporting creativity that’s different from what we’ve seen in the past a bad thing?

A friend of mine on Facebook tagged me in a posting recently that featured Mr. Tyler Perry. A very controversial, influential public figure and  house hold name within the African American community.

The posting read (and this is just a brief breakdown):

“If ALEX CROSS BOMBS at the box office (which it is destined to do) would it be safe to assume that TYLER PERRY will revert back to his comfort zone as a DRAG QUEEN? Did I say DRAG QUEEN? I meant MADEA?”

I giggled upon reading the posting, because I knew not to take it serious. He’s a good friend of mine and we  tend to go back and forward with one another over Tyler and his movies, shows and plays constantly. Thus, in the spirit of humility and good humor, we engaged in a long thread posting discussing Mr. Perry’s newest venture.

People have asked me in the past “Why are you such a staunch supporter of Tyler Perry?”. They don’t understand why I stand firm in my stance that his creativity is unique to who he is, and that his success deserves to be celebrated within the African American community. The conversations I’ve had with people about Tyler have in most cases become heated, and sparked a passionate exchange of dialog that have lead people to accuse me of having a fetish for men in drag and even asked if Tyler Perry and I where having a secret love affair (that’s the nice way of putting it).

But I find peace in understanding that I can’t do anything more about their misguided assumptions other than let it go, because the ignorance of some people (mainly many black people) is in most cases irreversible.

Some of us are so caught up on placing labels and stereotyping others (one another) that we don’t realize we’re subconsciously engage in the same form of discrimination against one another that we feel is being projected upon us by the elite and privileged of our society.

And as I venture into authoring a book that high lights the African American communities inability to find the courage to come together and support one another, I feel that various key points need to be made about Mr. Tyler Perry and his success with the Medea Character, while making “us” as a people aware of how bitter, resentful and slanderous we look when we speak ill of a black man that’s worked hard to get to where he is at this point in life. Because I believe that when we see such madness; we’re witnessing first hand how that particular person is spending more time and energy ostracizing and being critical of an individual they hardly know, vrs. wishing the best and nothing but success for that same individual that has possibly done more for the black community than themselves.

I may not like nor support everything this man does; for example I don’t watch his sitcoms because for me personally they’re not funny. But I watch his plays and his movies and I strongly support his efforts as an African American in Hollywood, striving to bring forward opportunities to people of color in the industry that I seek to break into. His trials and tribulations will one day be my own when I make it known that I put God first in my life and that my materials will have a faith based message that most won’t like nor agree with.

Don’t get it twisted, I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with critiquing one’s work; lets be honest, when you put your work out there for all to see; you leave ourself open to both positive and negative criticism.

But I do strongly feel that there’s a fine line between providing constructive and creativity critiques of one’s craft; and simply tearing someone down. In which I see many with in our community willingly engaging in when it comes to Tyler Perry. Many of the critiques given towards this man are personal in nature, and you feel it when you mention his name in a crowd of black people. The mer utterance of his name gives birth to a heated controversial debate; where on one hand you have people who may not agree with his work, but still support his craft. While on the other hand (to the extremes) you’ll witness “crabs” completely destroying him, verbally assaulting his man-hood by making homosexual accusations (calling him gay), saying he’s a drag queen, even going so far as to wishing death upon him.

WHY?

What has he done to you personally, that’s bad enough for you to wish death upon him?

My friend and many black men that I talk too states that they’re not ‘hating’ on Tyler Perry per say. They insert this convenient disclaimer that states they admire his bravery and can relate to his life story, in efforts to sugar-coat the adverse remarks that follow. To not make themselves look  hateful, that claim to support the works he’s done within the community (mainly  his philanthropy); they just despise the amount of times that he has revisited the MADEA character, or the fact that she’s even a figure within our community. Or they despise the fact that he is far more recognizable to the masses when dressed as his ‘drag queen’ alter-ego.

They make it known to me that their distain for the Meada character is not a result of a psycho-cultural “crabs in a bucket” mentality (it couldn’t be). Because A. you can’t support everything labeled ‘black’ (in which I agree) and B. If that were the case stars like EDDIE MURPHY, WILL SMITH, and DENZEL WASHINGTON would not hold such high regard within the African American community, or have a place in their beloved classic DVD collections. But they make it known that their over all disapproval for his craft is a result of a lack of technique in film editing, or the fact that the stereotypical characters have strong drawing power and pretty much emasculates black men.

Many of my brothers feel that “Big Mama” and “Shanany” (played Martin Lawrence) and “Wanda” (played by Jamie Foxx) are just as guilty when it comes to the homicide of the black male masculinity.  The idea that African Americans are forced to utilize a man dressed as a woman to spread a positive message of spirituality, pride, social responsibility and love to the black masses is shameful. In which to some degree I’m in complete agreement with them on this matter. Because it shouldn’t take a man wearing a dress to bring forward an accepted message of spirituality and self-evlauation. But what many black men don’t get (nor care to understand) is that Tyler Perry’s works and “Good Deeds” for the African American community goes beyond wearing thigh highs and a girdle.

Tyler Perry has done many great works within the community. Just to list a few:

A. He’s provided funding to help people build homes for Katrina survivors in a new neighborhood designated as “Perry Place”. The same as the famed actor Brad Pitt

B. He’s donated $1 million dollars to the NAACP in celebration of its 100th anniversary; which happens to be one of the largest single donation from a private individual to a civil rights organization. Additionally providing support to Covenant House in Atlanta by donating $110,000 to the agency.

C. This one is near and dear to my heart, because I’m an advocate for victims of rape/sexual assault. In April 2011, the organization MaleSurvivor received its first significant grant from the Tyler Perry Foundation; which allowed them to expand their world-renowned Weekends of Recovery program by adding new facilitators, support staff, and expanding scholarship offerings. Following the Sandusky scandal that broke in November 2011, MaleSurvivor responded by reaching out to Penn State, to offer any help it could provide by holding training sessions for Penn State psychological staff.  They have a documentary titled “Boys and Men Healing”  that I strongly recommend many men set their pride aside and watch. For the simple fact that male on male rape/sexual assault is serious! Its one of the most under-reported and less likely to bring forward prosecution forms of sexual assault; because most men refuse to tell anyone when this traumatic event has occurs.  MaleSurvior has greatly increased its use of social media to increase awareness and spread it’s message of healing and hope to survivors everywhere, and they have the full support of Mr. Tyler Perry, whom was a victim of molestation himself. And it take courage for a man of any caliber (famous or not) to admit to having experienced such a horrific ordeal.

And to be honest, once he made this publicly know, its as if his rejection from black men increased, due to the feelings of homophobia that runs deep within the African American community. They label him gay because he admit to being a victim O_o?


D. Tyler Perry’s “GOOD DEEDS” movie was linked too the “Good Deeds:Great Needs” initiative that provided support to Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides assistance for homeless youth. Through GiftCardGiver.com, Good Deeds:Great Needs collected unused gift cards and donated all the proceeds to the Covenant House. Which lead Lionsgate to take it a step further and make a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the GOOD DEEDS movie trailer. Every time someone watched the trailer, Lionsgate donated a proceed of the profits from the promotions and if I’m not mistaken the movie itself to the mentioned organization.

My support for this man goes beyond him wearing a dress or doing what many call ‘drag’; for the simple fact that He’s doing nothing no different than Flip Wilson, Eddie Murphy, Ving Ramies, Robbin Williams, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Shawn and Marlon Waynes, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downy Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, And Will Smith to name a few. They’ve all either played a man in drag or a homosexual on screen to either increase the comedic value of their craft, add drama to their character by playing a gay man or made the choice to create a female character that was in most cases very stereotypical and politically incorrect. Yet, we love their characters (call them classics) and dispute, refute and rebuke Tyler Perry’s because it’s a character that promotes the gospel.

Tyler Perry’s materials may not be for everyone. There are people in this world who’re famous of doing less than what he’s accomplish (the Kardashins and Paris Hilton for example) But no matter how I feel about a persons craft, I’ve learned during my spiritual journey that its best to pray that he/she improves and possibly provide a product that I may enjoy. Because lets be honest, being overly critical of a specific individual is not only ugly and petty, but its unnecessary and uncalled for (its just not a good look on you).

People have stated they want to see him step out the dress and do something different; well now that he has the same people who’re critical of him for not doing anything different are the same people hoping this new movie “Alex Cross” flops at the box office.

And this is why ‘we’ as a people have issues coming together in support of one another, because we prefer to pigon-hold people into what we think they are, or the limits in which we feel they should not surpass.

These critical people complain about the repetitive nature of all his movies and plays; but now that he’s doing something different, they complain about the fact that it was him who was picked for the leading roll in an action/drama/suspense/thriller. Wishing the worst on the poor guy, which to me signifies a serious need for our black men (and some black women) to really and truly evaluate why they don’t like him. If the man drew millions to Medea, he’s created a foundation that’s allowed him to venture past that character and do other things as well as give back to the community (which is something that I advise all of “us” do).

Tyler Perry doesn’t have to ask permission from the African American community to do something different. If he chose to do so, he has that right. You either like him or you don’t. Either way; how you feel about him has no bearing on his over all achievements, support and success. And if we’re going to hold Tyler Perry accountable for the representation of black male masculinity, then we have to hold ALL of our successful black men accountable; and this includes T.I., Lil Wayne, “Pac Man” Jones, both Jessy Jackson Jr. and Sr, Tikki Barber, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Flavor Flav, Lil Scrappy “Rat Face” and Chad Ochocinco.

If Tyler Perry is Tomfoolery and Buffoonery; than so is Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and almost every rap video we’ve seen to date.