For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When Tyler Perry Is Enuf.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TMUtr4f9k0&hl=en&fs=1&]

Take a long, hard look at this clip, y’all. This could be what awaits you—in theatres everywhere—in six months.

By now, we all know that Tyler Perry is well on his way to making Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. He’ll be adapting a screenplay for it, directing it, and producing it. Of course, he should only be wearing one of these three hats. (Guess which.)

I won’t belabor this.

We all have our reservations. Yours may be the very real possibility of Madea as the Lady in Blue.

Mine have to do with the fact that Perry just announced his intentions to adapt this on Thursday and plans to begin filming in two months. He’s also boasting a 2010 release. We all know that the quicker Tyler Perry makes a film, the shoddier it looks, the crappier the acting, the jankier the poster.

So what we have to look forward to is a picture of Taraji P. Henson superimposed in a yellow rose (or Kimberly Elise in an African violet); a trailer that looks more like a screen test; and casting that includes a formerly chart-topping singer (say Whitney, as part of her comeback junket?), an Oscar nominee, and a couple people from Perry’s stage plays or TV shows.

Worst of all—for me, at least—is knowing how much more sense it would’ve made for Perry to simply produce the Broadway revival of the play that was already underway last year until the financing fell through. We know that his theatre efforts haven’t fallen by the wayside, as he just sent out a national tour of some “stage play” called The Marriage Counselor a year ago.

This would’ve been his chance to briefly depart the chit’lin circuit and infiltrate the Great White Way. This is a man who owns his own production studio, complete with soundstage. Surely, he’d love to add a Broadway credit to his heavily plumed hat, right?

What would’ve been the problem with hiring someone awesome to direct and making a larger, but far more rewarding financial contribution to the Broadway effort? He could’ve still called it Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry Version of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls: A Broadway Production. No one would’ve begrudged him that.

To be sure, it would’ve been superior to the film he’s going to throw together in six months, with a trailer he’ll start to air as early as March or April of next year.

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slb (aka Stacia L. Brown) is a writer, mother, and college instructor in Baltimore, MD. Check her out here: http://stacialbrown.com and here: http://beyondbabymamas.com.

30 comments to For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When Tyler Perry Is Enuf.

  • Madea Sees A Play.

    sigh. I’m still *really* pissed at this.

  • this is so sad :( Ntozake Shange is still alive…why can’t she cast/direct it? What in the world gave Tyler Perry the impression that he had any right to adapt/direct/produce this play? Does he not know the history of the play is rooted in WOMEN in theater (read the prologue brotha sheesh)

  • geo

    i know it’s tyler perry, but people seem to be overreacting. there is no script, trailer, or movie yet. who knows? it may actually be a good movie. *gasp*

  • in general, i avoid films that were writing, directed and produced by the same person no matter who they are, with very very few exceptions. Its too easy to become enamored of your own work and surrounded by people who wont tell you the truth. One becomes invested in every line of script, every camera angle, every scene because YOU YOURSELF wrote it, directed it, produced it. that combination often adds up to overly long films with bad pacing and scenes, lines and camera work that could have been eliminated or done effectively in some other way.

    I have only seen one Perry flick b/c I tend to hate stereotype-laden black movies that have are basically blackangrychiklit and/or church-heavy story lines. I saw Madea/Jail and hated it. That whole, “girrrrrrlfrieeeeeennnnnd” tone drives me nuts as if this is the totality of black women and men. Its aggravating to me. I’m not looking forward to a perry adaptation of it. Where the hell is Lee fercrissake?

  • at what point can you assume that you’re familiar enough with someone’s work can you write it off as not your bag?

    must someone see every TP movie out of “openmindedness,” or can they just see two or three and decide that they’re just not a fan?

  • April

    I’ve seen two of Tyler Perry’s films, and while they weren’t abhorrent, the man does not employ any subtlety at all in his films and relies heavily on stereotype and camp. Which is pretty diametrically opposed to for colored girls, IMHO. I think Lionsgate should have brought in a black female director and/or screenwriter…after all, the play, er, choreopoem, is about black women!

  • Nzingha Stewart had purchased the film rights, written a screenplay and was set to direct this film with Angela Basset, Halle Berry, Jill Scott and some others last March until Tyler bogarted the project. I wish we would’ve known Stewart was going to be put on the auction block because we could have wrangled a producer on board to slow the Perry steamroll. I mean Debbie Allen is a director and she created the original choreography. I know by the reaction of black women on Twitter that many of us would’ve been willing to come up with financing and suggestions just to keep the project AWAY from Perry. I’m gonna need bleach for my eyes to even attempt to view this garbage he’s going to spit out.

  • Zesi

    Jasmine Guy + others just did a staging of the play in Atlanta this summer; maybe that’s when he thought to revive it on film.I honestly don’t know how this play will do as a film, or how it will do with Tyler Perry. It’s hard to make a non linear story linear (if you’re not trying to make an art film).

  • Sojourner4Truth

    What is also problematic is that For Colored Girls is a collection of narratives by a woman and about women defining and speaking for themselves and demanding to be seen, felt and heard. And yet, Nzingha Stweart is invisibilized and marginalized in this process by the industry. This is so very painful. There are too many dissenting voices with regard to this for us to be deemed unreasonable…

  • ladyfresh

    I believe when geo said “but at least, he has a blueprint for this one that is not his own.” addressed this.

    Are you familiar with his adapted work?

  • “It’s impossible for him to produce any work of value period? Even if the starting material is better than his own?”

    lemme slow this down for you: Tyler Perry is not a good filmmaker. He is not in the habit of making good, thoughtful movies. I have no idea why you think anyone who feels that way should not be suspicious that this work is going to be different, when as Stacia pointed out up top, this has all the makings of one of his typical rush jobs.

    Please, please MISS me with the “snobbery” shit. I’ve argued against the classism often used to attack Tyler Perry’s work before on this blog. this is about his flaws as a moviemaker, which are myriad.

    by your logic, we should all “hold off judgment” if we got word that Michael Bay was directing “Othello.”

  • Amazing. A man who hates women and uses physical violence as a sign of a man’s strength (Why Did I Get Married and The Family That Preys) will be directing this classic piece of work. Wow. WOW.

  • Shayla_B

    Its my understanding that Nzingha Stewart was originally charged with adapting this to film, went to Lionsgate for backing, who then deferred to Perry’s studios. How this got muddled and turned into a single-person production, I don’t know, but I agree with a seemingly general consensus that bringing on other extremely talented visionaries (Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kasi Lemmons for starters) would’ve have been a great move for not only keeping the integrity of Shange’s work, but for opening the door to a kind of hidden treasure trove of brilliant filmmakers of color.

    Not entirely a shot at Perry, but I do get wary when a single person serves in ALL capacities. It opens up the opportunity for tunnel vision and lessens accountability. I don’t abhor Perry and what he’s done thus far. However, my feelings toward him are a complex mixture of pride & admiration for, in a way, making Hollywood movie studios eat their own words (however short-lived that “take that moment” was), and disdain for almost playing into the very notions that kept people of color out of Hollywood mainstream in the first place. That and the fact that when you break down the essence of his work, the creativity behind it is less than remarkable. There’s nothing novel or challenging about it really.

    I’m making a point to NOT speculate on the patterns of type-casting, the single-handed retrograde of the black image through his characters, or the any of those notions (however valid or over-reaching). Its not my place to base my feelings on the nature of his soul. I simply don’t see a value in his writing that would warrant him a candidate on such a remarkable piece. There are clearly others that would do it more justice.

    Can he produce it? Sure. I have no qualms with him supplying the resources. But I’d rather he play up his strengths (resources) and put his weaknesses on a workout plan until he builds it up. Its like having trying to life 50lb weight with 20lb muscle. You’re gonna hurt yourself.

  • Shayla_B

    Please excuse the typos…

  • omi

    fking hell. i would have supported him financing a broadway revival. and it would have actually made sense. didn’t know about that angle.

    i’m afraid of a film adaptation.

    where’s shange???

  • Sad colored girl

    I like Tyler I really do. But after being introduced to this play in college I was hooked. Ntozake should be in charge of this or it won’t hold water.

    Sad and colored in Chicago

  • My annoyances with this (which are basically the same as a lot of people, it seems):

    1. I wish he’d choose to take one part in the role and put his all into it, instead of spreading himself so thin.
    2. I wish he would of been more original with casting. I love the black women he’s chosen, but it’d be nice to see some fresh faces, you know.
    3. He’s rushing it… Since he’s taking on all quite a few roles, he should take the time to get each in order separately.

  • loveinchaos

    I’m a bit annoyed as well but will maintain a wait and see stance.
    Hands are akimbo though as the only one of TP’s flix I have enjoyed is the Family That Preys.
    Meaning I didn’t want to go running screaming into the night.
    I have not seen his full body of work unless dragged or tricked and basically Yuk!
    In terms of Theatre, I have not liked any of his productions, not a one.

    I too wish he only wears one hat on this treasured piece of theatre history.

    Hands akimbo and toe tapping…
    BTW- Debbie Allen and Ntozake Shange should serve as consultants at MINIMUM.
    Shame on Lionsgate…

  • Debbie Allen? really?

    Apparently you never saw Fantasia’s biopic…

  • slb

    which of his previous seven movies did you consider to be good?

  • geo

    i haven’t seen most of movies, but “why did i get married” was pretty good. i think people should be somewhat open-minded before seeing this movie. i know he’s writing the script, directing, and casting, but at least, he has a blueprint for this one that is not his own.

  • slb

    I’m glad you used that term, choreopoem. That there’s no choreographer attached makes me wonder if he’s dropping that aspect and making this thing less about synchronous movement and poetry and more about an overwrought, strictly linear, storyline loosely based (read: “Inspired By”) Ntozake’s original.

  • how does him having a blueprint allay anyone’s suspicions? if he’s not shown any proficiency as a story teller or any restraint as a director, why should anyone assume he’ll magically bring those to someone else’s work?

  • ladyfresh

    Because his work doesn’t require restraint?

    But really folks it’s that cut and dried?

    It’s impossible for him to produce any work of value period? Even if the starting material is better than his own?

    There isnt an iota of possibility?

    I’m not a fan but wow at the snobbery that came out on this

  • ladyfresh

    I don’t think i will miss you all with the snobbery accusation. It’s not shit, it’s quite high handed and high horsed what is going on. You may need to slow yourself down.

    It’s one thing to be doubtful, quite another to completely lambaste. This isn’t simple ‘suspicion’ the judgments have been quite clearly rendered. In here I would say I would be one of the few who would be simply and soley suspicious, if only slightly concerned. There is definitely way more than that going on in here. You let me know if the ‘chit’lin circuit’ is solely about his film making abilities apparently there is a great need for him to depart it and make it to ‘the great white way’…um…really? I’m struggling in here to believe it is solely about his moviemaking skills.

    with regards to michael bay a more apt comparison would be baz luhrmann and his version of romeo and juliet and i was fine with it, moulin rouge not so much.

    I’d venture to say Tyler has gotten better. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt while i don’t expect anyone else too I was hoping for the usual balance discussion i find at post bourgie but this is evidently quite the sore spot. While i did expect some backlash you have to admit it is quite vehement in here. I’m not convinced this backlash is as simple as you are making it out to be. I’m not so sure this is solely about his film making abilities.

  • i’m gonna try this one more time:

    There is definitely way more than that going on in here. You let me know if the ‘chit’lin circuit’ is solely about his film making abilities apparently there is a great need for him to depart it and make it to ‘the great white way’…um…really?

    stacia’s point up top was that there was already a Broadway production in the works — about which there was a lot of excitement — that died due to lack of funding. Perry swooped in and announced that he’s going to roll out a film version of that same beloved play in less than a year’s time. Tyler Perry is a shrewd businessman. He’s also a hack. You can give him the benefit of the doubt. But no one else is required to assume that this won’t be another half-assed effort.

    with regards to michael bay a more apt comparison would be baz luhrmann and his version of romeo and juliet and i was fine with it, moulin rouge not so much.

    um, what? please make sense. thanks.

    I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt while i don’t expect anyone else too I was hoping for the usual balance discussion i find at post bourgie but this is evidently quite the sore spot.

    Seriously: gtfohwtbs. I have defended TP before. I’ll (reluctantly) defend him in the future. The reason Stacia and other people are annoyed is because they don’t have confidence this will be any better than the other crappy movies he churns out at a steady clip. (Some people, like April below, have wondered whether “For Colored Girls…” is even adaptable.) Stacia et al are lamenting the fact that aforementioned version of the play that never came to be, and TP is one of the few people who could have used his clout to make that happen.

    And you’re really, really reaching. The aforementioned chit’lin circuit — that’s what it’s called — is actually a major peg in Tyler Perry’s business model: he writes/produces plays for the chit’lin circuit (which make a killing) sells those plays on video for a wider audience (which make a killing) and then he makes some of them into films (which make a killing). Stacia is not taking a dig at dude at all by calling it that or referencing that.

    Seriously, if TP threw his money behind a Broadway version of the play, it would be a hit the same way “The Color Purple” was — you know, with black audiences who usually don’t show up in droves to Broadway shows.

    I’m struggling in here to believe it is solely about his moviemaking skills.

    please tell me what this is about then. stop insinuating and pussyfooting and state where you see this snobbery. Not liking his shit and thinking he’s a bad fit for this is not snobbery.

    There are a lot of snobbish arguments Tyler Perry’s work. This isn’t one of them.

  • [...] divine feminine in this movie? i doubt it. so, i’m pissed.  i think it’s apparent from this piece written by stacia on postbourgie that the concern of colored girls fans is very real, and [...]

  • [...] said, I’ve been voicing concern about Tyler Perry helming this project for quite some time. And now that it looks like he’s firming up his plans to actually do this (not that I really [...]

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