All Articles Tagged "temptation"
In a recent interview with Vulture Magazine, Tyler Perry was asked to address criticisms of his work, previously made by noted filmmaker Spike Lee.
If you need a refresher, Lee said this during an interview at the 2009 Black Enterprise Entrepreneur conference:
“Because each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors. But I still think that a lot of stuff that’s out today is coonery [and] buffoonery. And I know it is making a lot of money, breaking records, but we can do better. That’s just my opinion. I mean, I’m a huge basketball fan. And when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows and I’m scratching my head. You know, we got a Black president. Are we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep n’ Eat?”
Of course, the comments were directed at Tyler Perry who at the time had two shows (“House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns”), which ran on TNT’s sister station, TBS.
And naturally, Perry would respond by telling Lee to “go straight to Hell”
The two directors would eventually squash their beef, but Perry did tell Vulture’s writer Rembert Brown how those comments made him feel:
“That ‘coonery’ buffoonery was a direct Spike Lee quote,” Perry told me. “And that’s what everybody started to say, with those words in particular. But you have to be careful, because our audiences cross-pollinate a lot of times. There’s a lot of my audience that likes what he does. And there’s a lot of his audience that likes what I do. And when you make those kind of broad, general strokes, and you paint your audiences in them, they go, ‘Wait a minute, are you talking about me? Are you talking about my mom?’”
In the same interview, Perry also directly addressed criticism that many of his characters were nothing more than bad stereotypes of Black people. More specifically he said:
“Let me tell you what took me aback about that, when people were like, ‘How dare you put fat black people on television, these are caricatures, these are stereotypes’ — I was so offended because my aunt’s fat. My mother’s fat. My cousins are fat. People who are like, ‘How dare you — these harken back to Mammy, Amos ’n’ Andy.’ I would hear all these things, and I would go, hmmm.”
Truthfully, I like some of Perry’s work and don’t have a problem with who his characters are. I like down home Southern people. But generally, I find many of his themes regressive and drenched in a type of religious moralism, which I personally can’t stand. And I especially detest how he writes about Black women (The Family That Preys and Temptation immediately come to mind). Real or not, some of the things he feels about Black women and what should happen to them (including being smacked across the table or contracting a potentially life-threatening disease all because you sinned against God by cheating on your “good” husband) is particularly troubling for me.
With that said, he does have a point.
Yes, Lee is an iconic Black filmmaker who has given us such Black cinematic classics as Do The Right Thing, School Daze and Malcolm X. But we can’t act like Lee doesn’t stereotype Black people or that some of Lee’s imagery is not problematic as well.
In fact, a huge part of the criticism of Lee’s latest feature film entitled Chi-Raq is how it misrepresented not only the gang violence, which is happening in the streets of the Chicago, but also the look and feel of the citizens itself. One such critic was Chicago native Chance the Rapper who said in a series of tweets:
“Let me be the one from Chicago to personally tell you we not supporting this film out here. That sh*t get ZERO love out here. Sh*t is goofy and it’s a bunch of ppl from NOT around here telling u to support that sh*t. The people that made that sh*t didn’t do so to “Save Lives”. It’s exploitive and problematic. Also the idea that women abstaining from sex would stop murders is offensive and a slap in the face to any mother that lost a child here. You don’t do any work with the children of Chicago, You don’t live here, you’ve never watched someone die here. Don’t tell me to be calm.”
Moreover, we can’t act like Lee and Perry do not share some of the same audience. And yes, I’m talking about Black folks here. As Perry neatly suggests, many of the same Black folk who will rush to support (shield and defend) Perry because he is a Black filmmaker will often do the same for a Spike Lee Joint. And to take a jab at Perry for creating “coonery and buffoonery” is an indirect jab at the audience who actually enjoys and sees themselves in his work.
After all, not every Black person can be from Brooklyn.
Granted, in terms of nuanced storytelling and execution, Perry is no Lee. And there is just no denying Lee’s masterful ability to raise complex political and social issues within the framework of Blackness. But there was an air of Northern elitism in Lee’s (and others’) critiques of Perry, which can’t not be ignored. And I am happy that Perry finally called it out.
You don’t have a dirty mind, or a weak constitution, or loose morals: you simply find the forbidden so tempting, just like the rest of us. And if you’re on the single scene long enough, you’re bound to engage in at least a few of these forbidden types of love.
If you saw the latest Tyler Perry-directed film Temptation, then you know that it sent some very strong messages about people living with HIV. If you haven’t seen the film, and plan on doing so, you may want to click out now.
At the end of the film, Judith the adulterer, discovers she has HIV and Tyler’s depiction of the plot twist is a bit extreme. The visuals lead us to believe that HIV has taken such a toll on Judith that she has aged three times as fast as her husband . So much so, that Perry decides to employ an entirely different, older, actress to portray her character just a few years later. And in one of the most depressing scenes of the film, older Judith literally limps off down the sidewalk.
If you know anything about HIV, you know that’s not necessarily an accurate representation of the disease. One of the reasons it’s such an epidemic is because people are often able to look and live without visible symptoms, especially if they are taken the proper medication. (See Magic Johnson and probably a couple of people in the neighborhood, you didn’t know about.)
The Positive Women’s Network of the United States of America took issue with Perry’s portrayal of the disease and wrote an open letter expressing their frustrations and petitioned him to do better.
They begin the letter like this:
Dear Mr. Perry,
We write as people living with HIV and their allies to express our deep disappointment with your latest film, Temptation. This disappointment is made all the greater because you have done much that can be applauded. Audiences see your plays and films not simply as entertainment, but as opportunities for inspiration, spiritual healing, and unity.
They continue discussing stigma…
As you may be aware, one of the greatest barriers to addressing the HIV epidemic is the high level of stigma and misinformation attached to this simple virus. Stigma prevents people from getting tested for HIV, from protecting themselves during sex, from accessing care when they test positive, and from disclosing their HIV status to family, friends, and sexual partners. Myths and outdated perceptions about how HIV is transmitted and the implications of an HIV diagnosis have resulted in discriminatory treatment towards, and violence against, people living with HIV.
Unfortunately, Temptation can only serve to perpetuate stigma. Your film depicts people with HIV as untouchable and unlovable, doomed to a lifetime of loneliness, and unable to tell their own stories. It implies that men with HIV are sexually irresponsible and predatory. And the final image — that of a woman who has been infected with HIV due to an extramarital affair walking away alone and unhealthy — sends the message that HIV is a punishment for immoral behavior.
Read the letter in its entirety on the next page.
Serious Question: Is Sex In A Public Place (A Dark One) Too Taboo For You, Or Would You Say, “Never Say Never”?
So there I was, minding my business, grabbing my things and putting my jacket on in the darkness of a movie theater after spending more than two hours watching the Rock’s fine behind in Pain and Gain.
As my friend and I proceeded to exit the theater, I realized that we were a few of the last people to leave. Hey, you never know what extra scenes you’ll see or information you’ll get during the credits. Walking out, I noticed two more people, a young man and woman, still in the theater seats, way up, chilling. And then before I knew it, before they went out of my eye view, the young lady went ahead and straddled her male companion and they started making out ferociously. That was it. They were about to get it in.
My friend started laughing on our way out the door while I was completely in shock. I think we’ve all as young people gotten a little frisky with a boyfriend at least once while watching a movie (in college for me though; If me or my man is spending $13 for a movie now, we’re for damn sure going to pay attention to the whole thing). But as dirty as movie theater seats are, I wouldn’t be trying to expose my goodies in any of the four corners of such a place.
“That’s sooooo gross, man!” I said to my friend as we went down the many escalators on our way out, but she didn’t really have a response. She just smirked and then filled me in, happily reminiscing about the time she got caught with her boyfriend having sex in a public place–by the cops. There was no arrest made luckily, and she just counted it as an experience, a seemingly unforgettable one. I plan to go on a vacation with my boyfriend this summer, and knowing this, after telling her, “I just couldn’t do all that,” she said, “When you go on vacation, please, have fun.”
AKA, have sex on the beach, in a park, at the movies, in a car, on a balcony, or anywhere that might get my heart pounding for more than the obvious. Oh hell no is all I could think at that moment.
And after telling a few more folks about the frisky moviegoers, it seems that my friends were equally bold in their places of sexual activity, and in the end, I was pretty much one of the few people I knew who cringed at the idea of doing it in such a risque way, where any ‘ol body could find me in a compromising “position.”
I’m not trying to sound like Brice from Temptation, claiming that every time you engage in sex with your partner, it has to be in the sanctity of your bedroom, but I barely like engaging in a whole bunch of PDA. Therefore, for me, it’s always been something very taboo. But the more I thought about it after my conversations yesterday and today, I thought to myself, “Hmph, that actually sounds like it could be…interesting.” I’m not saying that the next time I have sex I’ll be dropping it low somewhere in a Starbucks corner, but I’ve learned that it’s best to never say never (thanks Brandy!). Except in the case of bringing third parties in, because that’s just a terrible idea (and gross). Being close-minded, especially when it comes to the ins and outs of a relationship and what you are willing to try with your partner is a good way to end up with conflict, but I would say that I’m not about to do something I’m uncomfortable with. Thankfully, my partner hasn’t asked for anything like this, so for now, I can continue to say that I’m not really down with the idea. But let’s just say that in the heat of the moment, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the future…
And yes, Pain and Gain was very entertaining…if you were wondering.
So what are your thoughts on the idea of having sex in public? Is it just too taboo?
Warning: This is not another (eyeroll) Tyler Perry review so please if you came here to say that TP is ‘getting money’ so therefore ‘stop hating,’ save that for the next TP production. I’m sure there will be a Madea in Africa or something like that coming this Christmas we can trade TP jabs over. Also there are spoilers all up in this bish so if you haven’t seen “Temptation,” and don’t want it ruined for you, you know what to do…”
So I saw the new Tyler Perry flick.
There is lots to say about this film however there is one scene in the film, which has perked my interest: It’s the kitchen scene with Judith (played by my girl Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Brice (played by Lance Gross). Sexual excited from the tales of wild, animal-like sex in strange places from a client (later identified as the devil) at her job, Judith grabs her husband, who is obliviously munching down on a sandwich, and tries to jump up on it. Her husband, who looks confused as to why his wife has her6 legs wrapped around him, pleading with him to give it to her Ol’ Dirty Bastard-style on the kitchen counter, is basically like, ‘Nawh, Judith stop! What has gotten into you woman. Can’t you see I’m eating a sandwich. A SANDWICH! So this is what’s going to happen: let me eat this sandwich first and we can go in the bedroom and do this the RIGHT way.’ Then he leaves her there on the kitchen counter, looking shell-shocked and rejected as he goes back to his delicious sandwich.
The fact that he wanted to finish his meal prior to sex means of little consequence to me. Sometimes you are just that hungry or the meal is just that good. Plus men are not animals therefore can, should and do exercise their rights to say ‘no’ to sex as well. But here is an instance where a woman is trying to assert herself sexually and is rejected, not because of a hunger or because he doesn’t feel like it but because her approach to sex was deemed not-right. The implication here was that there is something unnatural and perverse about her desire to want to get freaky with her husband outside the bedroom.
As I am watching the film, I notice that it is not just her sexual appetite, which is being neglected. Judith tells her husband about how she feels about her job and how she feels she is ready to start a business of her own. Most people nowadays wants to applaud women for taking ownership of their professional lives. Instead, Brice again dismisses her feelings and tells Judith to wait for like 10-15 years. Because nothing says “ambitious in life” like waiting for it to happen. This sort of neglect isn’t just with her husband; Sarah, her own mother (played by Elle Joyce), too had a problem with Judith asserting some independence. Going as far as to smack her in the face for “sassin” her. Clearly, this Judith character was disenchanted from jump of this film (and for good reason, if you ask me) and she made several attempts to express as much to the people in her life. Yet they just kind of ignored her concerns or were blatantly dismissive of ways in which she sought to make herself happy. After a while, I kind of felt sad for Judith because it totally felt like she was in a no win situation here.
After All The Controversy And Hype Behind Tyler Perry’s “Temptation,” How Did It Do At The Box Office?
Did you spend your money to see Temptation this past weekend? We sure did. And while one author has already expressed the effect the movie had on her thinking on our site today, seeing that this is not a Madea movie, or a sequel to his previous works and the hype around it was big, how did it end up doing at the box office this past Easter weekend?
Not bad. According to ABC News, Perry’s newest film came in third, raking in $22.3 million. It came behind G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods at number two. I can see the appeal of the films that beat it out at the box office. G.I. Joe had the action that men want and the eye candy that women would sit through it for (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Channing Tatum? Yes, please!), and The Croods was just number one the weekend before, and kids movies with a decent plot always bring in big dollars. But considering the advertising, the buzz surrounding the movie (especially since Kim Kardashian was in it and there was that whole threat, aka, folks pretending they were going to boycott the movie), and the people I saw standing in line for it on Saturday in NYC, I thought it would have been number one. And the movie isn’t actually bad. Despite a few predictable moments and a confusing ending, it was very entertaining.
Either way though, it’s a success for Perry and around his average opening weekend performances (Shadow and Act says his highest opening weekend performance was Madea Goes To Jail with $41 million, and the lowest being Daddy’s Little Girls with $11.2 million) so kudos to him.
If you saw the movie this past weekend and happened to be one of the people who helped it do $22.3 million at the box office, what did you think?
So, I decided not to let all my black bourgeoisie film-critic friends keep me from going to see Tyler Perry’s Temptation this weekend. I too have shaken my head at many of the overly dramatic scenes and “coonery bafoonery” that can often cripple his films, but a conversation with a good friend who appreciates Perry’s efforts to tell black stories and employ black actors, made me give this one a chance. Plus, I think we’ve unfairly put the accurate and vast, yet still noble, depiction of our entire race on his shoulders like he’s that one black kid at an all-white school who has to represent us well. I think it’s time we (myself included) gave him a break.
This Easter weekend, spirit of grace and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (who I wish had grown up more in Hollywood like her Olsen contemporaries, then again, maybe not) got me out with all the other black people for our family reunion at the movies. You know, that’s another thing about going to see a Perry film—it’s an experience you get to have with your theater cousins and aunties who are laughing and giving their commentary right along with you. I’m pouring it on kind of thick, huh? Well I’m not going to go as far as nominating this one for an Oscar, although I hope one day he makes a film worthy of one, but I do think this is a movie worth its ticket price.
While some moments linger too long, his flare for the dramatic still takes center (maybe left center this time) stage, and there may be a hiccup or two (Why doesn’t Brandy appear aged at the end, while the other characters do?), I appreciate this film for all the questions it made me ask myself. I’m all about that. And while centered on infidelity, it poked at the human experience in many ways, beyond relationships.
The storyline and its characters asked, “Are we satisfied with our lives?”
Maybe there is more that we should pursue (unless you are married, please just tell your husband to keep pursuing you), or maybe we need to learn the secret of contentment.
They prodded, “How far will we go in pursuit of satisfaction?”
So many of us are unsatisfied with our careers and relationship status that we’re willing to quit our jobs or lower our standards to be happy. But as ol’ girl from “Rock” reminds us, the pursuit of happiness can lead to a dead end or be a thrilling drive in the wrong direction—count the costs.
They challenged and pleaded, “Have we already compromised ourselves?”
While our closet can be full of new clothes and shoes, when we look in the mirror, we should still know who the heck we are! We must establish immovable boundaries in our sober times, so while we’re focused on progressing we don’t get drunk off success.
Finally, they left us asking ourselves, “Do we know our own worth?”
Having a firm identity will give us expectations for ourselves, our jobs and our significant others, and keep us from being lured away by something or someone who promises to buy us. Our self-worth cannot be found in something or someone else. It must be established by and in the unchangeable.
Yes, I got all that from Temptation. So, thank you, Mr. Perry, for teaching us a few lessons on life and love without the bodysuit and wig. I think we’re willing to learn from you, if you take yourself as serious as you should. I, for one, am now.
Lance Gross Talks “Temptation,” Tyler Perry And Why We Should Give Kim Kardashian’s Performance A Chance
After some pretty good promotion and some very captivating trailers (“He’s going to take you straight to hell…”), I’m sure you know that Temptation was released yesterday, and everybody and their mothers will be in the movie theater watching it. While promoting the film, one of the film’s very fine stars, Lance Gross, opened up to the Huffington Post about all the early backlash the movie received (back when it was still called The Marriage Counselor) because of Perry’s choice to allow Kim Kardashian to be in it. But Gross says that while he can understand why people might be upset about her being in the movie, she actually did a great job so people should give her and her performance a chance before they talk crazy.
So what is the movie about? Clearly its center is the fight to resist the temptation to cheat. While no one would dare cheat on Gross in real life, his character of Brice doesn’t have the same luck:
“He’s a small town guy, very passionate about his career, on his way to becoming a pharmacist. And he’s just a very regular guy. He married his childhood sweetheart, “Judith,” played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Along the way, as far as his relationship, he becomes comfortable and stops doing the things that he used to do to make her feel special. And then she meets this guy and the temptation comes in. He shows her a whole new world that she’s just not used to. So I spend most of my time in the movie fighting for my marriage.”
He also discussed how Perry is also starting to target a wider audience with his films and what kind of director Perry is:
“It’s definitely different. Tyler has his thing. He appeals to a certain type of audience, but Tyler really targets the African-American, church going community. And actually, it’s really growing now. Tyler works very quickly, he knows what he wants and he executes. It’s like a good boot camp for an actor, because it’s just puts you on your “A-game.” It prepares you for other directors who tend to take their time. But it’s depends on who it is, because some directors work fast like Tyler Perry and some like to take their time and do 17 takes.”
As for Kim K…
“I’ve been working with Tyler since 2007 and he has a great business mind. He knows what he’s doing and he knows what he wants for his films. So I don’t really question his decisions in casting people. To Kim’s defense, she did a great job. The role that he gave her was well thought out. It was something that he believed she could execute. And I think she brought her “A-game.” I get what all the fuss was about, but at the end of the day you got to give people a chance. And I feel like she really proved herself.”
I guess we’ll see now won’t we?
Are you catching Temptation this weekend?
More times than I can remember, I’m sitting with a group of black people I’m just meeting or don’t know too well and the conversation drifts to Tyler Perry. The myth, the man the legend. And what self respecting black person can talk about Tyler Perry without bashing his movies? When this happens, as it often does, I sit there waiting for my turn. Then I hit ’em with the zinger.
“I actually like a lot of Tyler Perry’s movies.”
The atmospheric pressure changes as folks start judging me. I can almost read their minds.
Is she educated?
Is she from the south?
She must be a staunch Christian.
Is she related to Tyler Perry?
While I will say that Tyler Perry could stand to grow artistically, I’ve been entertained by a majority of his films– with the exception of Meet The Browns and Why Did I Get Married Too? And I say I’ve been entertained because I don’t need every movie I see to cause me to think deeper about the world, to expose me to some universal truth, make me cry or change my way of life. Sometimes, I just want to chill out and have a laugh or two. And Tyler Perry, Madea, and the overly dramatic story lines do that for me. I don’t need Tyler Perry to make Spike Lee-esque films. Spike Lee does that. If people would stop expecting Tyler to be Spike, the world would be a much happier place.
In fact, let’s just rest there for a minute. One of the main gripes people have about Tyler Perry is the fact that his characters and story lines rely so heavily on stereotypes. I won’t argue that they don’t; but so do most forms of the entertainment we unashamedly claim to love. Reality shows, hip hop, sitcoms etc all rely on stereotypes. And some of ya’ll tune in every week…religiously. What we need to realize is that though stereotypes can be harmful, when consumed by the wrong people, most of black folk who see Tyler Perry’s movies know enough about other black folk to realize we’re not all the same. Every black person is not a Christian, every black woman is not in need of a man to save her from her sense of entitlement. And every black grandma, doesn’t swear and carry a gun. But let’s not pretend that these women and characters don’t exist. In fact, most of us know somebody who’s a little something like Madea. Whether you want her broadcast on an international stage is more of a personal issue than it is about Tyler’s artistic abilities. As a free man, he chooses the stories he wants to tell. And since people continue to see and support his work, including the highly revered like Oprah, Maya Angelou, Cicely Tyson and apparently Ntozake Shange, I doubt he’ll be disappearing anytime soon.
Now, that I’ve professed my love for Tyler and his work, let me tell you why I’m seeing Temptation this opening weekend.
1. Jurnee Smollet is a very talented actress. If Tyler was going to cast a woman who can seamlessly tackle a range of very difficult emotions, I think she’s the one to do it.
2. Tyler employs black actors. It’s been said before but it bears repeating. Though Jurnee has been working since she was a little girl on “Full House,” as an adult actress the roles have been a little sparse. Why? I don’t know. (Though, I have a couple of guesses.) What I do know, is that Tyler Perry employs black actors who we might not see otherwise.
3. The trailer just looks juicy as hell. Nothing like watching someone else’s personal life crumble, to reassure yourself that you’re not doing too bad after all.
4. I can ignore Kimmy K. Do I really want to see Kim Kardashian in a movie? Not really, but just like I do on the internet, I can look past her, if necessary, when she’s on screen.
5. Two words: Lance Gross. More words: From the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing a woman willingly betray Lance for a man not nearly as attractive. I must know why.
6. It looks like it’ll be entertaining. Plain and simple.
What do you think about Tyler Perry’s movies? Do you plan on seeing Temptation?
When author Victoria Christopher Murray received her first NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction, in 2001, she was beyond surprised. The nod was for her debut novel Temptation, and she was up against stiff competition in the likes of bestseller list mainstays Terry McMillan and Eric Jerome Dickey.
“It was huge,” Murray said. “I was literally standing at the door shaking, waiting on my husband to come home so I could tell him.”
She didn’t take home the prize that year, but following an official announcement by the NAACP on December 11, Murray now has a second nomination for her book Destiny’s Divas – albeit in a literary landscape that hardly resembles the one she first encountered 11 years ago. The presentation of the NAACP Image Awards will air on NBC on Friday, February 1 at 8pm, the first day of Black History Month.
The bankruptcy and subsequent closing of Borders bookstores, plus the growing popularity of e-books, and the ease with which self-published authors can take to the web and sell their writing to the masses (often for as little as $.99) has had a tsunami-like impact on the industry. Reports lamenting the death of traditional book publishing are likely false – or severely premature, at least – but make no mistake: the game ain’t the same.
Murray has certainly noticed the strain on her books’ sales, but regardless, she has exhibited a level of sustainability that is rare in any corner of the entertainment world. She’s been continuously signed to a major publishing house since Temptation, with a total of 16 novels under her belt – even as many of her contemporaries have failed to receive new contracts.
“I believe I was put on this earth to do this,” said Murray of her writing career. “It gets very hard, but I know that God has it all under control.”
She may be confident and secure in her career choice now, but Murray’s road to literary success was a long and winding one. She worked in financial services for ten years before deciding to focus on her writing full-time in 1997, a luxury she was afforded through a sizeable bank account. Together, she and her husband invested $50,000 of their own cash to publish Temptation, a contemporary tale of love and friendship, complete with sex, scandal and, notably, Jesus.