When I was a little girl, my mother had this play by Ntozake Shange on her bookshelf. I would always pick it up because of the colorful cover. I never read it, never looked beyond the cover, and never contemplated beyond its cover. It’s an unfortunate characteristic that I’m still striving to not employ…ya, know the cliche’ judging a book by its cover…but, isn’t that what we sometimes do? Whether it’s negatively or positively, we judge. We think we know how someone is doing by the price of her stiletto, by the smile on her face, or by her oh so spiritual facebook status update. Never taking the time to actually open the book. MESSAGE…LOL
My take on the movie is a lil’ bit different. Although I do see , understand and agree with the commentary that has been given on the continual diss of the black male in front of the entire world…I must say for the record HILL HARPER portrayed a positive black male character…unless he did something real crazy in the first 20 minutes (cuz I was late).
Despite the critics trashing it and other negative reviews, in my opinion, I think the movie brought to light a lot of issues that we are dealing with in our community. To name a few (not in order of importance): emasculated black men, crazy parents, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, veterans not being cared for(economically or emotionally), alcoholism, big I’s little U’s, hypocrisy in religion, infidelity, abuse, poverty, abortion, Claire Huxtable not getting her due, low self esteem, fertility issues, HIV, rape, cheap wigs, haunted by past mistakes, relationship issues, the fact that Idris Elba should’ve been at least a mailman in this flick and cultivating true sisterhood. All are important and realistic issues we are dealing with that can’t be easily dismissed. We must really and truthfully look at our community and see where we fit in eradicating things that negatively impact our community.
I remember the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan telling the sisters that we “had lost touch with the women.” As I watched this movie, I was over whelmed with the fact that I know some of these girls that are portrayed, I was/am some of these “girls”… I gotta ask myself, have I lost touch? When I watched the movie, I couldn’t get away from the thought that there are “girls” who currently live these lives and incorrectly think they are not able to escape the pain of there own realities. There are “girls” who do not know the reality of God, however you see Him. Yes, I cried at all the appropriate times and was straight shocked when Raheem did that to Princess Tiana (damn where Bishop at when you need him???), but at the end of the day, it was just a movie and reality is waiting right outside our door or inside our own homes. Isn’t it our responsibility to at some point let our “girls” know that they are NOT in fact “colored”? That they are the progeny of God…made in His image…not a colored, or altered version. Oh, no “girl”, you are so much more…you are God’s little “girl”. But, who is going to tell/show them and remind us of this TRUTH!???? Isn’t it up to those of us who claim to know otherwise?
If anything, though, I’m sure this was not Mr. Perry’s complete motivation, this movie was a reminder…a visual reminder that even though some of us may have children, health issues, some of us may have husbands, some of us may have nice fashion related employment and wear oh so fabulous leather tops and bangin’ stilettos…(sorry the fashionista was trying to escape…ssshhhh, HM…this blog is not about fashion) we are all connected with those of us who don’t have what we think we have and even more, still we are all sisters and we have a mission. Like Sister Nojma Muhammad said in her review entitled No Apologies , “While sitting in the theater watching ‘For Colored Girls….’ I began to feel intense pain, not just the pain of the characters but the movie will also make you focus on your personal pain. I looked around and I saw the same pain reflected on the faces of my Sisters.” I had the same experience, we went as a group of sisters the other day (shout out to Mo, Noni, Mena, Mattie and Charnie) and we sat there for a minute absorbing all that we had seen…we honestly had to take a minute… As we cried watching the scene with the children (you know what scene if you saw it) how many of us (meaning all that have seen the movie) have the same emotion when we walk past a shelter where women and their children are seeking refuge from similar situations? So, we shed some tears, now what? I could tell all of us were thinking about the collective pain of our “girls” and wondering how we could help more.
Real talk, I’m asking myself this same question. Now, I understand, we are busy. But, I’m asking us to ponder the question of our responsibility to our community. Does our responsibility to our communities range outside of raising our OWN children properly or living our own lives as what we think is proper and right? I’m married to a minister/self employed hip hop activist (hey babe!), I home school my two children, am active in the mosque, am in school, I study, and oh yes you best believe I’m that Proverbs 31 Chick! But, that doesn’t negate my responsibility to my community. I gotta do more and consistently so. Please don’t think that I’m undermining all our respective responsibilities….Lord knows I’m not…I’m just encouraging us to occasionally look outside our own stuff to the grander cause. I know it’s hard…I fell off with my own stuff last year dealing with a trial that I know was directly from God and am fighting/clawing my way back to working this thing…so yeah, it’s real we are going to deal with our own issues, but that doesn’t change what we have to do. All through out Torah, Bible, and Qur’an we see women handling God’s business despite what they got going on…All through our personal interactions with real life everyday women we see them handling our communities business despite what they got going on in their own personal lives…
I don’t want to be a religious hypocrite…at home judging when I know I have a big ole log cabin in my eye. Its not easy, but I know for a fact that it has to be done. God’s guidance always appears in the actions of a person effecting positive change. I’m not saying that we have to just roll out all willy nilly (yeah I said willy nilly…lol) but we can all do something to help others… to build a “girls” self perception and help change realities. We gotta seek refuge in God…ask Him what He wants us to do…roll up our sleeves… be more organized…and do what God told us to do.
Patrice Muhammad has her own radio talk show where she addresses such issues. Shirley Muhammad has her own non-for profit that address such issues. Adilah Muhammad is working for the homeless. Aminah Hanan is blogging for righteousness. Audrey Muhammad is the founder of Virtue Magazine. Beatrice X is on the ground and helping first hand with Oscar Grant’s family. MoMo Willy is building self esteem one verse at a time. I’Aisha Eybers has been working miracles for a minute with our youth. Yeyide Kmt has been encouraging Black Mommies for quite sometime. Orlana Darkins is helping young people Shyne year round. Toya Jones is a counselor helping shape mental realities every day. Kimberly Ellis is raising a collective conscious as an educator, activist, and performer. Cherwanna Thurmond volunteers by being a Big Sister. Reshonda Smith brought new underwear for some children who needed it just because they did. There are so many more sisters out there doing their thing! My point? It can be done! How do I know, because all the sisters I’ve mentioned are either students, or have either children, jobs, or husbands (some are all of the above) and are active in their respective communities in their own way.
We gotta put our emotions in check and rise into the thinking of God! God doesn’t let His free will having children frustrate what He’s got going on. God handles His business er’ day! Our mission is aligned with God and it doesn’t have to be the same as the sisters I mentioned above…cuz we all have our own gifts, talents, circumstances and assignments. It can be supporting the sisters we know…it can be that word of much needed encouragement…it can be inviting someone to the very thing that has improved our lives…it can be being a mentor/an example… it can be volunteering once a month, it can be attending something a sister has put together, it can be as simple as listening…or as huge as donating funds…We all know what are capable of doing by God’s grace…I’m just asking us so called “Concious Girls” to step up our game and actually do it(-: