“Tyler Perry hates black men.” That’s how a random dude responded when I told him that the images of brothers in Perry’s “For Colored Girls…” were less than flattering.
I previously shared that I think Lifetime Movies do nothing for healthy male-female relationships. 90% of the men in the made-for-TV movies are murderers, abusers, polygamists or embezzlers.
“For Colored Girls…” was no different, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse again.
What else struck me about “For Colored Girls…” was that Perry created each character and interpreted each poem to focus on how men shaped these women’s lives.
Why don’t TV, film and other media offer more stories about women outside of the realm of romantic relationships? Black women don’t always have to be defined by their relationships with men. Now, that I think about it, this is probably what initially irked me about being labeled “single.” I am more than who I date, or who I choose not to date.
True, Perry’s adaptation reflects the topics of Ntozake Shange’s poems, which deal with abortion and domestic abuse. One can’t ignore the male presence and responsibility when these issues arise.
However, in “For Colored Girls…” there was only one character who didn’t have a man (or men) in her life, and hers was the least developed storyline. One could argue that Phylicia Rashad’s unwed character’s weak development results because she was not represented in Shange’s original poems, but if you’re going to take creative license, use that freedom to offer something more balanced and positive.
I guess I should be pleased that the most well-adjusted woman on the screen was single (actually, she was widowed), but she lived right next door the promiscuous SIS who was mistaken for a prostitute by a married man she picked up at a bar.
For a movie Perry said would leave me “lifted,” I was anything but. What’s uplifting about women who endure abuse and disrespect in the name of love? That’s not inspiring. OK. So, they kind of, sort of come out of it in the end, but not to a point where you feel they’ve won. They lost so much in the first two hours of the movie that you doubt they’ll ever really be able to rebound, let alone soar.
For me, if there was any silver lining to the film, it’s that it reminds women not to be so desperate for relationships or intimacy that they accept anything that comes their way. As the movie suggests, being with the wrong man usually doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. So if you are a SIS feeling empty, find ways to fill up that don’t depend on romantic relationships. Who knows? Once you’re full, you might realize that what really makes you happy was in your grasp all along, and you didn’t have to endure abuse or misogyny to find it.