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14 comments | Wednesday, April 07, 2010

*Spoiler Alert* If you haven't seen Why Did I Get Married Too you might not want to read any further.

If you follow me on Twitter then you're probably already aware that I was just as excited about the release of WDIGM Too and Janet Jackson's performance as the dozens of church buses that I'm sure pulled up to theaters all across the country last weekend to support Tyler Perry and his latest film.

However, what I was not excited about happened towards the end of the film when Jackson's character Patricia Agnew showed up to her husband Gavin's( Malik Yoba) office with a birthday cake. A sweet gesture if it were actually Gavin's birthday and the couple weren't going through a bitter divorce. But the icing on the cake (no pun intended) occurs when a flamboyant black gay man(played by performance artist Jonte') dressed in a sequined spaghetti- strapped mini complete with a purple wig and exposed chest pops out of the cake in front of all of Gavin's colleagues causing looks of utter disgust.

And when you think it can't possibly get any worse Perry writes these lines for Jackson's character: "This is my gift to you. You wanna act like a bitch Gavin...well here's your man. Go ahead and run like a little girl Gavin...like the little bitch you are. You are a bitch"!

Is this what Tyler Perry thinks about gay men? Or is he simply incapable of including gay characters in his films that aren't reminiscent of In Living Color's Blaine and Antoine from Men On Film? And this is coming from a man who's assumed heterosexuality is about as convincing as Queen Latifah's which makes this all the more frustrating.

The images of white gay and lesbian characters on screen have come a long way, but sadly millions of black audiences who will watch Perry's latest film will have their stereotypes of black gay men reinforced because of Perry's poor judgement.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have a black gay friend who saw the movie and he said he enjoyed it. He didn't tell me about the scene you described though. I was thinking about going to see the movie (because my friend said he liked it) but I won't now.

As you corectly stated, MILLIONS of black people will see this movie. As if black gay men are not despised enough already in the black so-called "community".

I'm going to ask the friend I referred to above about the scene in question as soon as I finish this comment. It surprises me that this friend didn't mention that scene in our conversation the other day because I regard him as a "conscious" black gay man. I "schooled" him (or so I thought, lol).

April 07, 2010 3:19 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow...really? I have no plans to see this movie, but if I did, I'd wait till it moves to the $2 shows south of Chicago. "Bitch", "little girl", is that the context black gay men are reduced to?

I have no problem with flamboyant portrayals, but where is the balance? Where is the proud, down to earth sgl brotha who is not coming out of a cake or the butt of a joke? All the more reason to support directors/films from our own community.

April 07, 2010 6:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have seen the movie and I guess I will take the unpopular position and say that the scene mentioned in the OP didn't bother me one bit. Was it fair to the representation of black gay men? No. But I also don't expect every representation of us to be politically correct or accurate. Particularly if they come from someone who is questionable. We all know Tyler could use some assistance in the scriptwriting department but I was there for Janet. As long as she turns in a good performance, I will quibble about those details later. If we want accuracy or balance, then more of us need to tell our own stories, I wouldn't boycott black film because Hollywood ONLY understands dollars. Sometimes I just have to take my political hat off....

April 07, 2010 8:21 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Stop supporting scenes like this. I know this isn't the only representation of gay black men out there but it is the one that will get the attention of the larger black community.

We can't keep letting things like this go. The time is now to make the change. And that means making sacrifices. Your favorite actor/actress might be in these films and 90% of the movie might be really enjoyable and great but it's that negative 10% percent that matters now! If that 10% exist in that movie or that song or whatever, then it's not worth it anymore. Don't support it. Don't pay for it. Don't watch it. Don't listen to it. Don't ignore it. Don't let it go.

It's time to make sure everybody knows its not okay anymore and things will change.

April 07, 2010 9:06 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

^^^^ 100% Co-Sign on that statement!

Sure, it's nice to "let your hair down" and just enjoy a nice movie every now and then, but what we have to realize is that what is portrayed out there DOES resonate in the minds of people.
After the closing credits rolls, people are left impressions of what they have been exposed to and draw conclusions from it whether it be positive or negative.

I totally agree with this statement,
"If we want accuracy or balance, then more of us need to tell our own stories..."

If we as Black Gay People don't (or in some cases, won't) proactively go out and EDUCATE the masses about who and what we are, then we WILL continue to see the repetitive negative mainstream portrayals of Black Gay Men just like the movie referenced above.

Just like in the days in film when all blacks were portrayed as "Mammies", "Shoe Shine Men", "Railcar Greeters", or just your basic "House worker", it wasn't until we as a people demanded better and supported ( and ultimately produced) what was portrayed as more accurate to our lives did we begin to see change.

We as a Black Gay Community (Brothas especially) sometimes fail to see that this same principle needs to be applied here as well.

April 07, 2010 9:54 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Tyler Perry could've chosen to drive home the point of that scene in a different manner. I saw the movie and was not offended. I do understand the importance of well rounded accurate represenation however, I get the feeling that no matter how we're depicted on screen we will still face the same challenges of intolerance, acceptance, & self-hatred. I'm all for us being portrayed as multi dimensional regular masculine men with feelings and emotions. But the fact remains that the opposition isn't against gays because of flamboyant queens and stereotypes. They're against us because they believe the act of men sleeping with men to be sinful, vile, and so on. So no matter how we dress ourselves up and present ourselves those are still major obstacles to get past. And I'm not sure how cleaning up the publics perception of us will advance our cause.

April 08, 2010 11:06 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

If you went into that movie expecting realistic depictions of African Americans you really should have stayed home.

I'm a fan of Jonte and there are many gay men who are like him and deserve to be seen on screen as well.

There isn't an "acceptable" type of homosexual we all deserve representation.

I can't support this one sir.

April 08, 2010 2:48 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

What many of us don't get about the Black gay stereotype in the media it is the comic relief of any movie, any play, any stand-up comedian's routine. How in the hell can you hold Mr Perry accountable if you don't hold anyone else, Remember In Living Color, did anyone hold them accountable, no we laughed. Practically 99.9% of movies, television shows and plays that has a gay character will be no different than the character of this movie. If you want to do battle with the Black gay stereotype, boycott any movie, television show and plays that has this character. Tyler is one of the most successful Black Men in Hollywood and he's given back to the community in more ways than one.

April 08, 2010 4:42 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

First let me say that I LOOOOOOVE Jonte and his work, and had no idea he had a cameo in this film, I actually almost want to see it now!!!

But are we really surprised? We are always used as a cheap laugh by our "people." It's unfortunate that Janet participated in this, but then again she was just doing her job...

No matter what, someone is always going to have something to say about our images on screen. I know it's not the diversity reflected among us, but were we REALLY expecting that from Tyler Perry?

April 08, 2010 4:57 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

as a gay black man i was not offended by the scene in the movie.i have seen far worse like the way homophobic lyrics are said every friday on bet's freestyle friday on 106 and park with the crowd cheering them on laughing like crazy.to me that is more harmful to the kids coming up today because i know tyler didn't mean to be cruel but i know for a fact on bet's freestyle friday they are going in for the kill using the "thats why you gay this and that" left and right in such a disgusting way.someone needs to get bet in check for that instead of this little clip in why did i get married 2

April 08, 2010 6:53 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't have a problem with the scene. What I do have a problem with it that is was a cheep laugh that did not add anything to the movie. It didn't fit and there was a better way to write an ending to the movie. So if she had a problem dealing with killing their son how is she going to deal with killing her husband? A better ending could have been. The two in a conference room and Janet going off on him, and later show him drinking again trying to deal with the truth that came out of the meeting. He gets in his car and you have the same ending. If I was the DA I would be coming after her for Involuntary Manslaughter.

April 08, 2010 8:16 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is a serious issue. The issue is conformity to gender roles. Janet's script uses "bitch" and "little girl" as a weapon against a man. Whatever the man did to warrant divorce was as "wrong" as gay people, according to Tyler Perry.

I just YouTubed "JONTE", and his performance is good! There is nothing to be ashamed of, unless nonconformity to gender roles upsets you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THH5bq1KQP4

So, while Tyler Perry did bring a talented black gay performer to the big screen, he used him to play the roll of dog shit... to be cleaned up and taken out... out of "the sanctity of marriage."

For this, Tyler Perry needs to be called out and his ass whooped a bit.

April 09, 2010 1:39 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is just AWFUL!

April 09, 2010 8:29 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Late to this thread, but as a white gay man whose BF is black, I'd like to add a comment. My BF and I saw this together, and when this scene played out, he grabbed my hand and stood up and literally dragged me up the aisle. He was livid. Outside the theater, still gripping my hand, he managed to get out through gritted teeth how repulsed he was by the scene. Repulsed and angry that anyone, black/white, female/male, would shoot such a scene. He swore that he'd never see another Perry film. I very much want to see For Colored Girls, but he's said N-O.

November 12, 2010 6:39 AM


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