A fairly well known actor named Brian White who has starred in such movies as Good Deeds, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, and Stomp The Yard as well as many TV Series interviewed with Hello Beautiful’s Shamika Sanders about the producer/director Tyler Perry and, in general, how black women/people are represented in life and on film. Brian White responded, and please see and listen to the full interview at Hello Beautiful:
Do you think Tyler Perry only depicts black people in a negative light? There are a lot of black people who fit into the stereotype but there are a lot of black people who don’t.
You can’t call it a stereotype if it’s the majority. The most prevalent image in “urban society” right now is women like Nene [Leaks]. If there’s a fight that breaks out on “Love & Hip Hop” those people are one every blog, the cover of every magazine the next week. It’s not Taraji or Gabrielle, it’s whoever just got into a fist fight. Tyler’s not stereotyping, he’s holding up a mirror and people are mad at him because people don’t want to look at that image in that way.[sic]
Do you believe that the stereotypes we see on TV are prevalent in the race or just portrayed on TV? Is it really the majority of black women that act like Nene?
I have five sisters and two moms, none of them are like that! To me, I can say I’m offended if they want to represent that and don’t want to represent my mom, but my mom represents Phylicia Rashād and has been represented on TV all my life. I can’t say that. I don’t watch “Real Housewives,” I’ve never seen an episode of “Love & Hop Hop” I’m not supporting it, I’m not giving it ratings. I’m not making the stereotype exist on TV. You’ve watched it, you’ve added to why it’s on TV.[sic]
So without the whole interview, we can see how many people can disagree with the one statement that could get Brian in “trouble” – “You can’t call it a stereotype if it’s the majority. The most prevalent image in “urban society” right now is women like Nene [Leaks].” Obviously, at times, people can misspeak or be misunderstood because the majority of black people truly aren’t represented on television. Television is fictionalized at all times, even in many cases the news which is supposed to be fact, thus, leading people to believe that stereotypes are true.
The honest answer to all the racial questions that Brian White was asked in the above interview is this in my opinion – EVERY CULTURE IS UNDERREPRESENTED OR OVERREPRESENTED on various levels within their culture. For example, take the most recent false issue making the news during this 2012 election season – Black people collect more food stamps than white people. Uh, no. This is a MISREPRESENTATION.
The UNDER-REPRESENTATION comes in where Caucasian Americans, who COLLECT more government assistance than both black and Latinos, are NEVER shown as the people collecting the most food stamps in their population, which is by the way over 50 percent. Caucasians’ affluence is OVERREPRESENTED while African Americans and Latinos affluence in society and success is UNDER-REPRESENTED in both Hollywood and the ‘factual’ news.
Understand the word PRESENT, or how something is PRESENTED. How you present something doesn’t make it FACT, but only shows a certain VANTAGE point. That being stated, anytime one reads an urban book or watches movies such as Tyler Perry’s films that have come under controversy for allegedly depicting African Americans in a bad light, remember that when it is a film or book not based off of fact, it is FICTION or coming from that own writer’s life, even being exaggerated to entertain.
Lifetime movies and horror flicks always show Caucasian Americans killing spouses/families and kidnapping children, so is that the norm for Caucasians? If the answer is no, then the same should apply to African Americans and movies/books where they are depicted. It isn’t the true norm. Instead it’s what could possibly make the most dramatic story to PRESENT to the public, misrepresentation or not. DRAMATIC = DRAMA
In conclusion, there should be funny, serious, factual and non factual items for entertainment across the board for all cultures, and there is nothing wrong with funny or “act up” in any form of entertainment, including reality shows, because let’s face it – reality shows aren’t that real. Many of those same people take acting classes, and use that reality show as a way into the business. It works. Entertainment is entertainment, and everyone doesn’t act like Mob Wives either, but on a regular day, these women are also family women as well. The MEDIA zooms in on the excessively dramatic for ratings, thus, OVER-REPRESENTING the bad side without the good side.
People are all the same, but to any one particular viewer, the question will always arise – IS THIS HOW “THEY” ACT? No–it’s entertainment. FICTION. Facts tend to bore people. Hollywood would NEVER make money for the most part, nor would networks.
Rich, poor, black, white and the rest, young and old all ACT UP the same exact way at any point in time. It’s the presentation that gets people confused when on a daily basis there is less interaction with real people and more interaction with the television and social networks that exaggerate things for money or acclaim and fame.
By the way, Beverly Hills Housewives, Mob Wives etc fight more than the Atlanta Housewives…see my point. For some reason, people miss those fights and ACT UP. Everyone is the same, just with different skin.