I still buy throw-away phones…
Dear Tyler Perry,
There is not much I can start this pointing out that you haven’t heard levied at you before. Thinly veiled[or not] accusations of buffoonery, misogyny & the like have been screamed from the rooftops for the entire time you’ve been on the map. At first glance, many of those reports can look accurate, but as a writer myself, heck even as an artist, you’ve always received the benefit of the doubt at a bare minimum when it comes to those issues, and “whatever, artistic license” when it goes a little further.
Besides Who the heck knows the kind of trifling chicks you have run into as you have crossed the spectrum from homeless man, to underfunded visionary, to the man living your dream now except for you? Who knows the kind of men you have seen who have informed your vision, possibly even against your will? In the end, it all comes out in the wash, right? I’m not a “fan”, but I am not a “hater” either. As they say “Big up for doing you.” &”God has his reasons,” stylistically speaking.
Here’s the thing:
There are some things you have done really well in this flipping movie “Temptation” that bluntly outweigh ALL the stuff people are complaining about you failing miserably at.
There are shots sent out here that “THEY” are complaining about…& then there are shots taken in this movie that in a most creepy( possibly terrifying if God isn’t in the viewers life-Not the Christianese God, the Real One)way…No One is saying boo about.
Everyone is focusing on “OMG-he invoked HIV!” or “He had his cardboard adulterous wife as the Loser!” and so on. & the thing that even has me writing about this is that the false ring to “the collective concern” about you having the audacity to bring these things up “in This way!” “In 2013!” just sickens me.
Never mind whether or not you are a “BAD Storyteller(& we will address THAT one in a minute)”.
I’m going to cut through all the mess and say the stuff:
We live in a world where, in the realm your target audience lives 24/7, for the last 32 years, from daytime to primetime to late-night, Adultery has been showcased not as a Sin, but instead as sexy. That’s a few official “generations” that have been conceived, born, weaned & raised on the idea that fucking someone else’s spouse is the road to having more “excitement” in their lives. Whether they do it or not, the beat of the “stolen water is always sweeter” drum has been playing loud & long towards Every community, not just the Black one. Across the color board we’ve been consciously blinded by the idea that this kind of “drama” was the equivalent of “Life,” to be pursued in lieu of being inspired to go & figure out what our lives could really be about. These are people who really believe they “think” in ways that they actually have just been programmed to in order to sell more goods.
And No one is addressing them outside of that loop. Even if they were to, just like in the Matrix, many would cypher out & beg to be put back in the plant if a sublime, nuanced expression of the diseased krill they’ve been on were given to them.
Those who ARE addressing them are straight “Faster Pussy- Cat! Killkillkill!” about the whole thing. Pop-stars throwing up shots of 666 in exchange for the chance to be idolized,pledging allegiance to shit for the fame of it all- and who can blame them? They’ve come up in that same infested, toxic pool. They just have gotten the head of “I want to be a big fish in this here spiritual cesspool if I have to be in it.” It was not until I saw Temptation tonight that I realized YOU may very well be the brick in that particular segment of the collective’s windshield that stops entire crops of good seed from driving into the wall. You can cuss about the car[that you leased] being ruined if said brick tags you, but at least you’re alive due to not hitting the wall.
People who don’t believe in Love or the sanctity of marriage are screaming at you for saying “Adulterers get f’d.” It was a broad representation of how doing the dumb shit we’ve been brought up being indifferent to or seeing as sexy can lead to really messed up things. And hopefully, the ones it was keenly meant to reach are as stirred up as the ones who are surprised they got tagged by it.
People who have no understanding of Love, who have grown up seeing marriage reduced to nothing more than an accumulation of things, instead of two entire, whole beings fusing into this androgenic super-being of sorts that can stand against 8000 more things coming for them than the 1000+ aiming it at them on a daily when solo are GOING to balk at a movie that has two cardboard characters who’d Only slept with each other after actually marrying prior to doing it. Of course “Marriage equality” matters in some circles. If its solely about the Things you got “together” & “The Law” doesn’t recognize your “same-sex union”[ Never mind the “open-we can screw whosever” clauses], it is very well possible that YOU can Lose your shit. & Nobody in America the Beautiful should have to suffer that, right? Which brings it right back to the sponsors. Heck, most are products of divorce anyway, right? We ALL know that marriage deserves derision. Especially any representations of the old-fashioned way it used to go down. There is Anger at you because in your broad strokes for you now-called evil characters, people are seeing themselves.
“Did she have to get AIDS, though? Damn Tyler! Damn! Haven’t people been cursed enough due to stigma- besides, we have better meds now!Are you trying to start the witch-hunts up again?! You Bastard! “Broad strokes again. & I could…have issue with it. If it were not for three things:
1.I see where they are coming from. that they are Balking about you using HIV is utter bullshit. It’s still crying about the “how” in your story & seeing snatches of themselves IN your broadly painted bad characters. They hadn’t heard HIV openly addressed outside of “we’re winning the fight” since like 2002. Never mind all those who’ve been lost to the disease and are battling against it now. & they are CLEARLY disturbed by you yanking it from under the rug. “In 2013? Really, Tyler?”
2.I graduated in 1993. Unfortunately, in the press & pamphlets, Black Women being declared the second largest group to be decimated by the disease has been going on since my Senior year in high school. there was another blip regarding this around 2005, when all the “Down-Low” mess hit the fan, then it was swept under the rug again.
3. In 2013, EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY that spread the disease and literally WIPED OUT creative sectors across this globe in the 70s/80s/90s…is now glamourized as the only way to be down. Sounds like a blanket statement that can be refuted. Oh really? don’t make me start naming TV shows on basic cable. Don’t Make me start naming programs that come on at 8pm Sunday night on free tv. ALL that peppering the consciousness with “this is cool” without ONE true reference to HIV/AIDS since a PBS series? And unfortunately, an aspect no one is yet again talking about is that there are some who KNOW they are sick-just like those did in the 70s/80s/90s who are- in 2013- once again trying to take out as many with them as they too possibly can.
[But why? Why do this?Because they want to wipe us out, that’s why. But that is a WHOLE other post.]
As for Ms. Kardashian, the outcry over her playing a character that would Idolize her TV show is the most surreal. You put the character she plays on her show…in the context of those everyday girls aspiring to living or at least looking like they’re living that life instead of the whitewashed context she is normally presented in. And of course those who don’t want to think down those lines are going to have issue with you. She is like a Trojan Horse that underscores the Sylph that calls down roads without realizing that is what she signed on for.
“Why you gotta bring GOD into this? Why she had to have this praying mama? Why did she end up hobbling down the road, diseased, to go to her mama’s church?!Oh her mama just Moved to DC? Come on, Tyler!”
One thing, though. Something that all those feeling traumatized by your broad strokes missed as they decried you from the rooftops. It was subtle, but HUGE to Any “Christian” dealing with any of our co-soldiers. She’s in the fight with her mother- the Reverend, & the subject of her father comes up. The mother says “Lets not speak of the dead” & Judith calls her on the lie she’d been told her entire life, that her father was dead, that she had tracked him down & knew how her mother left him soon as she found “that church.” This is the “Reverend,” screaming about respect & storming out the house after being caught in her lie. There are not many people truly stumbling sincerely through their walk with God who haven’t gone through Some Semblance of that kind of Christanese Bullshit exploding in a room & ending all bets.
blanks filled in? Judith knowing her mother lied& knowing her dad-who was left by mom for Christ-possibly due to whatever the hell she’d been up to WITH him prior to finding God… ties into the true hole filled by the Harley, the harlot character. You want to go deep? In a twisted way, she became her mother- who she was under the mask to close the chasm the mother created with the lie… with the guy who…
It’s subtle. Which you normally- as has been mentioned in here-do not seem to be with your movies. But this one makes me see you in a completely different light.
& In that light, a strange thing happens, that I pray to God happens for everyone who sees Temptation & gets something out of it, be it ire, release or hope, regret…whatever they’re meant to. In that light, after THAT ending that everyone is so raging about, it becomes apparent that this story is NOT about Judith & her fall from God & grace, her hobbled return. It is not about your supposed hatred of women, or your scar tissue with horrible chicks from your own journey at all.
In that Light…it becomes about Harley.
& the Harleys you have known.
Very subtle. Yet openly.
Why do I say that?
Because the Whole plot of the story, which seems to start with this happy little innocent, in love since childhood couple struggling in a boring marriage…does not take off until this Harley person [I keep mis-typing it as Harlet, then correcting it] shows up, in town to look into investing in the company Judith happens to work for.
If people were to look at it as His story- which, if you stop forcing yourself to ignore Judith’s blank stare or overacting, you Instantly see it is- then the “surprise ending” skews in a totally different way.
The not showing Brandy’s ex when he showed up, but showing her freak-out. He showed up to let her know she’d been found again. Then goes back to his latest conquest attempt. Meanwhile She is sitting there, explaining- in a way the completely confused all watching it because it went over their heads- how she’d changed her name & moved many times. Which means whomever is chasing her-& she gives the financial context of the man- can afford to keep stalking her so that she Has to leave.
Meanwhile, on the plane, when Harley says “you’re so beautiful” & Judith says “thank you,” it stuns him & he says “I was saying what I used to say to her.” Showing where the true fixation is. He was Solely setting up shop there because it was the latest locale of Brandy’s character Karen. Where do I get that? How do I know he didn’t have offices there? You never see his office, only his house. he is Always at Judith’s office, “daily” because he has no other true business there, outside of tracking Karen. And he was only attracted to the dim light in Judith for the sake of corrupting it, line upon line with the mean-streak she saw from his questionnaire, due to Karen leaving him.
In hindsight, the Brandy character stabilizes- Karen. Even with HIV due to choices she owns. Years later, at the same ending everyone is up in arms about, SHE, who had been running for years… is still there in DC, and, even still Also with HIV from the Harlot character…looks healed. Which, mind you, blows holes all through the premise that you are “witch-hunting HIV in 2013.”
So it has gone, on this end, from a hypothesis that you have known some trifling girls… to you have known…in detail…some horrific men, and are willing to walk into the blaze of a gunfight in hopes of hoping no more women blindly choose that type of guy.
This is Harley’s story.
And you are not the only one addressing it.
“Sex addict? No Problem! Guys will start asking to be punched in the face when the sex gets hollow! It’ll be great! ”
“Meth dealer? Why not? sure, the danger, but look at the excitement!”
“A Tv show on our favorite cannibal? Sure! Get’em used to the idea! They’ll eat it up!”
“Let’s make split personalities Sexy! Just wait until the incidences of folks pleading that pop up! our numbers will soar! they’ll buy a car for each one!”
People are just mad because you blunted *it in the other direction.
But back to the beginning. The title of this post is “there are things I still sometimes do.” That was one of the premises of the open letter.
“I still buy throw-away phones” is the sentence that popped into my head ,getting me to start writing. But by the end of this post, I am in complete gratitude to God…for what you did that was GOOD with this film that obliterates the so-called BAD in it.
I am able to realize that, even though, yes, I still have an absent default my head that is ready to toss a phone and move on if I have to again, in 5 minutes if need be… even though two days ago I was actually pondering whether or not to stay away from New Orleans for additional months just to not be here leading up to Independence Day weekend to not be bothered by a harasser I have had to deal with doing to me a variation of what the Harlot did to Karen…
I, by the grace of God and the odd love shown to my life & my journey from the strangest and most unexpected sectors… at 155am on April 9th, 2013…know the GOOD in the past five-years outweigh all the so-called BAD in it. And, even though hours earlier tonight felt differently, I can say the same for the GOOD in the 6 years that led up to that 5 year period I have basically been living out of a suitcase, in love with God showing me the Art of Life in lieu of stagnating in a Christianese-coated death up in NYC .
There is no longer much else on that list.
Which is God’s most beautiful mind-fuck yet.
…and I don’t even technically “feel” like I was your target market.
But you tagged me. I can only imagine who else this story hit for good. Maybe even some of the ones yelling bloody murder the loudest.
Not my style,
But I am surely not mad at you.
& In regards to that Good storyteller or BAD?
Because it works.
[*It’s bad no matter the sex or color- even to the aspiration. Actresses crave Gritty characters to “capture the public’s imagination” which used to equal “Prostitute with a heart of Gold” foolishness and migrated to “drug addict” “female serial killer” and so on. Even the better as of lately for women of color is always cut with some sort of pop culture crack aimed at destabilizing what God meant to work, because destabilized folk make better buyers.
(Case in point: a certain actress who I adore playing a enslaved woman whose husband- I said Husband- rescues her on hiatus from playing an extremely powerful woman in Washington DC…who just happens to be screwing the president. “Oh it’s such a complex character~” are the raves. but honestly, Beautiful Black chick cast as “ok, you can be the exotic temptress” is as old as the industry in America. Only now the amoral heart of Gold is being given depth by a woman who is well aware of the stereotype I speak of.) ]