My pimp training begins soon....
Ryan and I were at our friend Ankur's place hanging out over the weekend. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but the conversation turned to my love life (or rather, a lack thereof) and Ankur swore to place me under a tight regime of pimp training. He thinks it is atrosious that I do not "f---k b---hes on the regular", which is a sentiment shared by many of my male counterparts. I can dig it. I do not f---k b----thes on the regular and I am the type of person who typically would be. I'm a musician. I should be a rolling stone and have at LEAST 7 children by 6 mothers. Flava Flav and Ol' Dirty Bastard both have more than 10 children each. Mama wants grandkids and I've got some catching up to do.
My mother wants grandkids. She has said this numerous times over the past few years. I'm pretty sure it's at a point where she doesn't care WHO bears these children. I'm pretty sure I could get a girl pregnant. That would be easy. I don't mean to imply that I'm turning down poontang left and right, but...I mean...you know....it's available. These days getting a girl pregnant is as easy for anyone as a pot head coming up on a dime bag. I remember watching movies like Coolie High and seeing the main characters try so hard to get women out of their knickers. I remember watching that movie and thinking, "Wow, am I going to have to try that hard?! No thanks, Frank!" It's just not as difficult these days...which I think is sad.
My family (brother and sister specifically) do not think I like "black things", i.e., Tyler Perry movies and Rap Music. For the record I LOOOVE Hip-Hop. I'm one of those people who will tell you that Hip-Hop saved/changed my life. I just like good Hip-Hop. I love movies made by black film makers. I just don't like "black movies".
Let me explain.
There is a sub-culture in the realm of Black Entertainment that operates on a set of rules. These rules are set up by us (black folk) and no one else. We oblige ourselves to create and support sub-par work and I think it gives people of other cultures the chance to discredit our work by calling it "black ______". Black music. Black movies. Black comedy. I don't think it is fair for example, to say, "Brick Bronson is a really good black comic," as opposed to, "Brick Bronson is a really good comic."
Most of us think this is a good thing because it gives us a sense of individuality, but it does not. It awards people (of all races, even our own) the opportunity to NOT see us as an equal. You will notice that when an entertainer is accepted by all races that entertainer is known by their name and not given the title "black _____."
Dave Chappelle and Spike Lee are a perfect examples. People don't refer to Dave Chapelle as "a really good black comic." They say, "Dave Chappelle is hilarious." Film critics do not write off Spike Lee's films as a "great contribution to black cinema" and leave it at that. Further, people do not watch John Singleton's Boys in the Hood and say, "Wow, what a really good black movie!" It's just a great movie.
So what makes these entertainers and others like them so acceptable beyond the restrictions of the title "black ____"? They do not limit themselves to a certain tactic or skill level. They do what they want to do. Richard Pryor did what he thought was funny without considering whether or not people would accept it. I mean really, it takes BALLS to do the Mudbone thing....B-A-L-L-S. Pryor's bravery has no predecessor so there was no way for him to determine whether or not other black folk would respond or even "get it". It just shows that he didn't think about that sort of thing. He thought something was funny, so he said it and he did it. He didn't stop and think, "how will black people respond to this."
The fact of the matter is that if we are just ourselves, then we will identify with each other and the black experience will get across naturally. I am a black man. If I share my experiences through entertainment honestly, then THAT is the black experience. How can it not be? We don't have to say our words a certain way or stick to a certain type of subject matter to get our point across; nor do we have to try to appeal to anyone of any other race. We just have to be ourselves.
I'll be the first to acknowledge Tyler Perry's talent. You can't discredit the fact that he knows what he's doing. It just breaks my heart to see him limit himself in the ways he is. He is sticking to a formula and it's boring the hell out of me. It's at a point where characters from one film are showing up in his televisions shows and vice versa. "Black comics" feel like they have to act a certain way and touch on certain topics and other things are off limits. All this is doing is creating and supporting stereotypes and giving us an excuse to limit ourselves and be limited.
I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. Feel free to share your thoughts if you like.