Needless to say, I find this all rather laughable and ridiculous, but in case you haven’t heard, there’s a social media movement that sprouted yesterday called the “Boycott Madea” campaign.
The basic idea behind it, from those who created it, goes something like this: Tyler Perry has destroyed black cinema for an entire generation, so let's use social media to try to convince millions of people out there NOT to see A Madea Christmas when it opens on Dec. 13th. Then the Hollywood studios will see that audiences want better black films like 12 Years A Slave and The Best Man Holiday which are doing very well at the box office, and not TP’s films which are played out.
Simple logic, yes? Well, no.
First of all how many boycotts against a particular film have there been in history? Like, hundreds at least. And how many of them have actually been successful? That I can answer: None. Zero. Zip. The big goose egg.
You cannot convince people not to see a particular film via some mass movement against it, using whatever message in it you oppose. It’s their own hard earned money, and people, by their own choice, will go see a film because they want to, or won't because they don't.
It’s like when some black film supporters say that “Let’s all go out and support this film and send Hollywood a message” nonsense. As I have said before, people go see a film because they want to, not because they have to. And anyone who says that they are going to see a film just because they want to support it is lying. Making that statement just makes them look good on the surface to other people. They know that no one is going to be following them 24 hours a day to see if they keep their promise.
People want to see those Madea films. Nobody wanted to see Perry’s For Colored Girls, and he did get the message all right: No more trying to be serious by reaching for something that requires more than his abilities and skill-set. Just stick to what you know.
Also how would boycotting Perry’s movies be sending a message to Hollywood? What does he care? He works outside the studio system. His films are distributed by Lionsgate, but he finances and produces all his films himself. If Lionsgate decided today to stop releasing his films, Perry would have no problem distributing them himself (and I’m surprised that he hasn’t decided to do that already).
Also, another thing that really irks me is something I’ve been hearing a lot lately: That there have never been so many black films released in the same year, as the year we're currently in; or that now is a great time for black movies.
It irks me because when people say those things, what they're really referring to are Hollywood studio released black movies, as if those are the only films that matter. The obvious fact is that there are many black films being made every year, and the vast majority of them are being produced and released independently.
The number of films that could be considered “black films” released by major studios or distributors are a pittance compared to the huge number of black films made every year completely outside the Hollywood system, without their support of any kind. For God's sake, we write about them every bloody day on this site.
Yet, to a lot of people, those black films are not as “important” because they don’t have any recognizable stars, or have a studio logo before the credits. And if they’re that closed minded, then they can’t be helped.
But for anyone who is actually thinking about boycotting A Madea Christmas, I suggest you forget about it; and if you’re so obsessed about sending Perry, or Hollywood for that matter, a message, go check out an independently made black film, such as Jono Oliver’s wonderful film Home, which opens this week in L.A. and N.Y.
As I said earlier today in my article about the film (HERE), don’t worry, Madea and Best Man Holiday will still be there. There’s no rush. They’re not going away anytime soon. And if Jono Oliver's Home does do well then, no doubt, it will expand to other cities, allowing more of you to see the film. That would send a real message.
So let everyone go see what they want to see, and whatever makes them happy.