I’m not one of the anti-Tyler Perry black folks who harp on his lack of screenwriting, directing and producing skills. I don’t love him, but I also respect his hustle in terms of what he’s been able to accomplish. I’m also one of the people who has seen most of his plays and all of his movies, unlike most people who love to criticize him, therefore can give an informed and fair critique. But just like everyone else, I was worried the moment I got word he was doing Ntozoke Shange’s award winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.
How could this be? Who allowed this to happen? Where is Shange to stop this? Whyyyyyy? In all seriousness, I find it to be extremely problematic that Tyler Perry would be allowed to direct a play of this caliber. Although Tyler Perry has mastered the art of giving his audience exactly what they expect from his movies, he has not earned the title of a genius or even excellent director. If he took a few screenwriting and directing classes I believe we would be able to see vast improvement, but that’s neither here nor there.
My major issue is with Hollywood’s lack of black female directors. We need to be able to tell our own stories on the big screen. As great of a director as Spike Lee is, he wouldn’t have been ideal for the project either. This play is about black women, written by a black woman. I don’t know that black men are able to convey to an audience the intricate, complexity of that story. Especially a play as deep, intimate and powerful as this one.
Fortunately, Tyler Perry is only listed as the Director. According to IMDB, the writers are Shange and Nzingha Stewart. If he didn’t have anything to do with the writing there is a chance it will be done well. I’m also hopeful after seeing the veteran cast he has selected. Heavy hitters like Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton and others restored my faith. It appears Mariah Carey was either a rumor or has been pulled from the cast. Thank baby Jeezy for that.
After watching the trailer I will say I am going to go see it. One thing for sure is the acting is going to be on point. Let’s just hope Tyler Perry doesn’t make a disaster of such a classic play.
Hollywood: WHERE ARE THE BLACK FEMALE DIRECTORS? They are needed. Please allow them in.