For the past couple of days on Facebook, I have been seeing the same video of a disgruntled movie-goer who saw the film Girls Trip. I won't be linking to her commentary because as far as I'm concerned, it has already gone viral and we ain't friends (and yes, I'm hating because I would like to go viral myself one day). Instead allow me to summarize her take on the movie:
In all honesty, I didn't get through the entire video because of my visceral reaction to her overuse of the word "female", but her chief complaint was the depiction of the characters as stereotypical. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, and most of the responses honed in on the issue of whether her criticisms were realistic.
I won't take issue with her opinion, nor will I offer up any substantive review of the movie. If you are in the mood for a laugh or a night out with your friends, then by all means go! See it, and be sure to pack a blanket, some snacks, and strategically hide a few adult beverages...which is exactly the complaint that one of my FB friends posted about her experience at the theater. Ironically, that was also my experience, perhaps proving yet another stereotype about going to see a black movie.
Can we agree that not every film will please everyone? Can we discard the notion that every black movie has to be "positive", which is code for respectable? Can we accept that some stereotypes are indeed true, and that isn't a reason to be ashamed on behalf of all black people? Can we just take a break from time to time?
I have gone on record before as a critic of black imagery in the media, and once believed that certain depictions were problematic. Then I realized that if we only limit ourselves to what is deemed positive, then all we have are biopics, historical dramas, and documentaries. We would miss the vibrancy and variety of seeing all of ourselves, and in turn, be limited to a rather narrow perspective of blackness, which then becomes its own stereotype. I mean, we all love Chadwick Boseman, but he can't portray everybody.
Let's get over ourselves and accept that most stereotypes are based on real life, and that comedy will always get a laugh by exploiting them. A whole lot of folks are hood rich. Some of y'all have gone to New Orleans/Las Vegas/New York/Jamaica and turnt ALL the way up. So many of us have a carefully curated public persona. All of us have family members that are beyond extra. You may have encountered a few stereotypes in your life: dumb blondes, loud Italians, sassy Latinas, sci-fi geeks, spoiled rich kids, annoying hoteps...or maybe you need to get out more.
There are plenty of other stereotypes to be wary of as well, such as the self-righteous killjoy. The sanctimonious church lady. The person who uses too many hashtags. The judgmental social media critic.