In case you are part of the large unaware majority, Black in America 2, the sequel to the wildly successful 2008 CNN documentary of a similar name, aired this past Sunday.
No different from the first one, this consists of hours of inspiring stories and important information and insights. Also like the first one, it’s an obvious ratings pull that borders on being insulting. Black people are not magical clan to be demystified with a handbook and some documentaries. The Black in America series does not pretend to be a guide to Negrodom, but it straddles the line of filling in the racial divide and driving a widening wedge into it.
This time around, the focus is on the revolving doors of prison, the paralyzing misconceptions about education and healthcare and the hardships of maintaining long-term relationships.
Oh, and Tyler Perry.
The Video’s a good 17 minutes long, so grab some popcorn or something
I’ve been waiting on an excuse to speak on this man and here it is. Yeah, I know, easy target, cue Sunshine Anderson and let us know you’ve heard it all before. Join him in his defensive chants. “How dare we?” Who are we to criticize the man and his creations? Well, we are the viewers, listeners, readers, and people who get affected by his doing, whether or not we care to. Ergo the ire, sire.
Seriously. Why put the emphasis on the morals and messages in the films, plays and sitcoms when they all border on being minstrel shows? That’s like saying a slave auction would revitalize the economy. Besides, will the focus really be on whatever the message of the screenplay may be when the recurring themes and characters are so corrosively negative? You realize that without the foul mouthed, cross-dressing, weed-smoking, heat-packing, persistent felon of a grandmother bringing up all your characters, they would probably be normal people, right?
Why don’t we address how to get rid of the Madeas and Mr. Browns and the slew of other characters that could sneak on set in BlackFace and no one would notice? Instead of saying “How can you ignore the message of forgiveness?, riddle me this. How can you ignore the blatant promotion, embellishment and endorsement of stereotypes in your protagonists? How about how do we eliminate the shit-talking 6′ 5” granny in drag and focus on what you claim to be the focus of your movies?
Now this is not to knock Emmit. He’s a kid from the asscrack of New Orleans whose big dreams turned him into a quasi-billionaire movie producer, director, actor, writer that owns his own full-scale studio in heart of Atlanta. Clap for him. And Precious was pretty tight so I ain’t completely mad at the kid.
But don’t make the man out to be the Black Jesus Christ meets Bill Gates. He, like the executives at CNN, realized that Black misery is an underdocumented story that just so happens to still be a tradeable commodity.