Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey Network

Open Thread: Dark Girls

By Arturo R. García

D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke’s much-anticipated documentary Dark Girls premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network Sunday night, so let’s open the floor up for your opinions.

Following the discussion on Twitter, there seemed to be concern over the documentary touching on white men who entered relationships with black women, yet refusing to touch on issues related to white privilege very heavily.

White Men Discuss Their Attraction to African-American Women

In Dark Girls, hip-hop author and journalist Soren Baker, a white man who's married to an African-American woman, describes his early attraction to women of all races—and shares his father's reaction. Plus, another man in an interracial relationship discusses his wife's skin tone.

Also, a note via Shadow & Act: The film will be available on DVD on Sept. 24.

Tyler Perry Hates Black Women: 5 Thoughts on The Haves and Have Nots

The Have And Have Nots

The cast of OWN and Tyler Perry’s The Haves And Have Nots

By Guest Contributor Dr. Brittney Cooper, cross-posted from Crunk Feminist Collective

Welp.

I watched the premiere of  Tyler Perry’s latest train wreck on OWN last night for two reasons. A.) Morbid curiosity and B.) I didn’t wanna hear negroes’ mouths about how I didn’t give it a chance and was therefore uninformed and unqualified to speak on his show (despite the 12 or so movies and 2 stage plays of his I’ve paid to go see and time I spent watching episodes of his existing tv shows that I can’t get back.) Anyway. Here are my thoughts.

1.) Tyler Perry is a cultural batterer:  the cultural equivalent of an unrepentant wife-batterer. Why, you ask? Well, let’s see. In under 15 minutes of episode one there were three Black women: Hanna, a maid, who speaks like she just left the plantation; Veronica, a rich black lady bitch, who throws her coat and hat at the maid; and Candace, the maid’s daughter, a scheming, conniving prostitute who tells people the mom is dead, later can be seen raising her hand to her mom, has her own son who is God knows where, is allegedly in law school, but paying for it by questionable means, and ultimately by the closing scene of episode two can be seen raping the white patriarch/politician.

The fact that Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire, along with their remixes (Bad) Baby Mama, Golddigger, Freak and Hood Bitch showed up in under 15 mins is surely a new world record.

A few caveats: no knock to domestics who speak in Southern dialect — I am from the deep, rural South, love the cadences in our voices, and have a beloved, and dearly missed grandmama who cleaned white folks’ houses well into her sixties.

(But I know a fucking controlling image when I see one.)

No knock to sex workers, who I think should have rights, benefits, and legal protections. Black women sex workers in primetime is a whole different deal representationally, though, and we need to OWN that.

Black women deserve better.

2.) Tyler Perry can only represent Black men positively by throwing Black women under the bus. Since dude’s plotlines are so simple a 13 year old could write them — no disrespect to 13 year olds–, there are of course 3 Black men to balance out the 3 Black women. They include the husband of the rich lady –he’ll prolly be comparable to Scandal’s Cyrus, or at least Tyler prolly thinks that’s what he’s doing, lol; his son, a drug counselor (respectable profession); and the son of the maid, a Shemar Moore lookalike and all around good guy, whose sole aspiration in life is to — wait for it — drive a tow truck. So 1.5 solidly good guys out of 3 ain’t bad. Why 1.5? Because of course the rich drug counselor is on the DL, which in TP’s world makes him a sexual deviant. We’ll see how this plot line develops, but since TP outs dude by way of terrible slow pan shots, meant to simulate not-so-secret longing after the buff white dude, I am not optimistic.

Black gay men deserve better.

3.) I feel some type of way that Oprah would be in league with such foolishness. And that is because I AM NOT AN OPRAH HATER. And I have little patience for people who are. The chick is doing her thing, and I’m proud of her.  And I really want to see OWN do well. That aside. I like to think she has been duped, hoodwinked, and bamboozled. But I know that ain’t the whole truth. Really, OWN is struggling. And when networks struggle, they pimp the “urban demographic” for ratings and money. And once they are set financially, they bounce. The Fox Network did it: Living Single, Martin, In Living Color. The WB, UPN, and the CW all did it. So I see what O is doing, and I resent it.

Why?

I know she and Tyler  share that nouveau-riche-Black-southern-abuse-survivor-started-from-the-bottom-now-we-here connection.

BUT

Oprah doesn’t seem to understand, that a rich, independent, college-educated chick like her, who shuns traditional marriage, is in Tyler Perry’s world the DEVIL, a veritable, conniving bitch, who hates babies, men, and old people, needs Jesus, plus a good slap from a sexy Black man, and will still probably catch AIDS and live in misery because she chose not to conform to the dictates of Christian respectability.

Why Oprah doesn’t get this is beyond me. It seriously is.

OWN deserves better.

4.) On his best day and her worst day, Tyler ain’t even in Shonda’s stratosphere. This whack-ass mashup of Deception + Scandal + The Help in no way compares to anything Shonda Rhimes is doing. I can already hear the brothers now, talking about how Candace’s character is comparable to Olivia’s character. They are comparable in only one way: they both sleep with white men. Comparison over. And that is how you know that Black men’s primary issue with Olivia is not her moral choices, but her racial ones.  (But Edison was a good guy even though he didn’t get chose; and Harrison — well let’s just say I’m #teamGingham all the way.)

I digress.

My love of Scandal should be a clear indicator that my problem with TP is not about respectability politics. In other words, I am not advocating for positive representations. I’m advocating for complex, human representations. TP doesn’t complicate Black women; he demonizes them.

Candace is not just a sex worker, but a sextortionist and a rapist. A predator. She does not merely have mother issues, but she nearly slaps her mom and can’t account for her baby’s whereabouts.

We don’t hate Liv, because while we might reject many of her choices, we identify with her as a human being with needs, emotions, and as a person with the ability to do good in the world, despite the bad she also does.

Tyler Perry just thinks Black women — other than maternal domestics– are bad. That’s why he can’t complicate his analysis. But they have therapists for that, and I wish he’d see one. Posthaste.

And this brings me to my final point:

5.) Tyler Perry is dangerous. He has made Black women mistake hate for love. When his heavy-handedness is still not enough to chastise and discipline us for being independent, driven, and sex-positive, he will resort to straight up distortions of history, and assume that his working class audience will miss the sleight-of-hand. Case en point: that rape scene! Because of course history is replete with poor Black women raping rich white men. Not.

And the fact that he would traffic in such an utter fiction — a fiction that is the very basis for centuries of brutality against Black women on the grounds that they are by nature un-rapeable, a fiction that drove the creation of the culture of dissemblance and the politics of respectability — makes his cultural production not merely bad but despicable.

And that is why I titled this essay: “Tyler Perry hates Black Women.” How can he not?

Open Thread: Oprah Says Goodbye

By Arturo R. García

Every single day I came down from my makeup room on our elevator, I would offer a prayer of gratitude for the delight and the privilege of doing this show. Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience. Opportunity to have done this work. To be embraced by all of you who watched is one of the greatest honors any human being could have. I’ve been asked many times during this farewell season, “Is leaving the show bittersweet?” Well I say, all sweet, no bitter, and here’s why: Many of us have been together for 25 years.

We have hooted and hollered together; had our “a-ha!” moments; we ugly-cried together; and we did our gratitude journals. So I thank you all for your support and your trust in me. i thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings. I thank you for tuning in every day along with your mothers and your sisters and your daughters, your partners – gay and otherwise – your friends, and all the husbands who got coaxed into watching Oprah.

I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I’ve tried to be for you. I won’t say goodbye; I’ll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory.

- Transcript of Oprah Winfrey’s closing monologue, aired on May 25

Like her or not, Oprah Winfrey’s three-day farewell tour was, at times, as larger-than-life as the financial empire she built over the past quarter-century, out of a morning talk show on WLS-TV in Chicago. The roster of guests for the first two episodes, taped at the United Center, included the usual cavalcade of stars. But Winfrey signed off in front of a more traditional studio audience. Of course, with the arrival of her own network, Winfrey might have been a bit on the nose in going with an open-ended departure.

But for now, we’re curious, dear readers, about your thoughts regarding this “final” Oprahpalooza. Where do you think she’ll go from here, and what does that mean for you as viewers?