Tyler Perry’s films are one of the main outlets for African-American representation in film today, often starring Perry himself as the infamous Madea linking the films and the families in them together. However, Perry has recently ventured away from this linear scheme by directing a critically acclaimed remake of the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, shortened to For Colored Girls.
This film is taken from the ‘70s play by Ntozake Shange. Perry’s background in making films based off of his well-received plays makes his decision to turn this famous play into a movie an anticipated one. But, with a title like For Colored Girls, many people are left wondering if they can relate to the film.
Perry can be seen as a one trick pony and this doesn’t help with people’s perception of his newest film. The majority of his films revolve around a struggling African-American woman, an African-American man who comes in to rescue said woman and life lessons provided by the wise yet unhinged Madea. Although these films do serve their purpose and shed light on issues in the black community, it’s easy to see where the key demographic of these films lies and how moviegoers outside of this demographic might be unresponsive to his films.
But never before has Perry specifically addressed the fact that this film is for more than just black women.
“You don’t have to be a colored girl to enjoy this film. It is for everyone,” Perry said on his blog after thanking fans for their support of his film. You would think that it goes without saying that, of course, this film is for whoever wants to see it, but to some it may not seem so obvious.
In general, Perry’s films are seemingly geared towards one audience, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be a part of that audience to enjoy it. His films also address problems within the black community, but not problems that exist solely in the black community. It is definitely possible to be a white man and find yourself feeling associated with the characters in a Tyler Perry film.
The fault of his films usually lies within the plot’s repetition and predictability rather than the depth or meaning of the plot itself. For Colored Girls seemingly breaks this same repetitive cycle of the predictable African-Americans in Perry’s films with its star-studded cast and a plot that doesn’t leave the viewer knowing what’s going to happen before it happens in the movie.
People of any race, gender or religion should not shy away from seeing For Colored Girls because of its title. After all, it is just a title. I can’t recall anyone wondering if they should see the film Why Did I Get Married? because they don’t have any marital problems, but this film is still questioned in terms of for whom it is intended. Ironically, For Colored Girls could be seen as one of Perry’s most inclusive films in terms of audience, so don’t be fooled by the title.
Published Nov. 17, 2010 in “The Signal” http://www.gsusignal.com/opinions/for-colored-girls-is-for-everyone-1.2409421