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Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls

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Interesting review. I had to look up the word "defenestration". Who knew there was a word for that - and why would anyone use it in everyday prose?

Two stars from a white male reviewer. If I apply the standard conversion I get:

Zero stars from the Black male perspective

Four stars from the Black Woman's perspective

I'm sure the film will do poorly, relative to the success of Tyler's other flicks. While white folks will have ample amounts of Black dysfunction upon which to feast they will not flock to the theater in large enough numbers to boost the film.

Black men will not go to the film, unless the are trying to score points (or just score period) with the woman they are rolling with.

Black women will probably not support the film as much either -- it is dark and depressing subject matter. I suspect many sistaz will opt for something a little lighter given the increasing depression stuff real life is churning out nowadays.

We'll see what the weekend box office tells us.

I will see the film, but I'll wait for it to come on netflix of itunes.

The one good thing about the flick is, based upon my web stats, has renewed interest in Ntozake Shange's work.

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Kola Boof, our former resident feminist, shared her opinion of this film on FaceBook and she found it "entertaining", but was disappointed with Tyler Perry's treatment of the play, which was a favorite of hers when it appeared on Broadway. She seemed unimpressed with the rather stereotypical portrayal of black women but happy for a vehicle that provided a showcase of a stellar cast of black actresses. "He's no Stephen Spielberg" is how Kola summed up Perry's directorial endeavor, - an obvious to reference to Spielberg's production of "The Color Purple", also a favorite of hers.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, the distinguished dean of movie reviewers, who is, incidentally, a white man married to a black sista, also gave a luke warm review of the picture, awarding it 2 and a half stars, having had his expectations met when he anticipated that this play should be spared what a movie would do to it, especially in the hands of Tyler Perry and his "unsophisticated" audience.

The consensus about this film seems to be that it lost something in the translation. It was a stark, artistic stage drama that had to be dumbed-down when adapted for the screen, a transistion which burdened its cast with the task of staying in character while alternating between aesthetic soliloquies and common dialogue. Apparently this proved to be a daunting challenge for the actresses and a distracting pitfall for the film.

This is probably a movie that will be better enjoyed by those who approach it cold without having ever seen or read the play. Those who are not fans of Tyler Perry will also probably have a hard time divesting themselves of their prejudices when judging this film which was not entirely free of his vibe.

BTW, "For Colored Girls" opened in third place with a $21,000,000 week-end box office take. Also, I just received a mass e-mailing from Tyler Perry who announced that with the release of "For Colored Girls", he was going on a long hiatus to try and find himself and resolve the conflicts of his past that were revealed by his true confessions on Oprah's show.

I think I'll wait for this film to come on Cable TV.

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I see most of the online services I check IMDB and Rottentomatoes rated the movie poorly. While the film took in approx $20MM this weekend I suspect that it will fall off a great deal as a result of the reviews and the fact most of the people anxious to see it have done so.

There was a humorous review in the Washington post: "For black men who have considered homicide after watching another Tyler Perry movie"

Cynique what true confession, worth repeating, did Tyler reveal on Oprah?

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Fighting back tears, his voice tremulous with emotion, Tyler revealed how the intense hate exhibited toward him by his father confused and devastated him and that this, along with the sexual abuse he endured from older men while a youngster, made him a dyfunctional sex partner with the women he later tried to romantically relate to. He couldn't perform in bed with them presumably because his mind was blown by the guilt he carried inside. He was apparently conflicted because, although he was mentally revolted by the molestations, he couldn't deny the physical pleasure they evoked and this made him vulnerable and more responsive to men than women...

I think that was what he was laboring to say. In trying to explain his feelings he became increasingly distraught, so much so that I turned away before the interview was finished. Oprah, as usual, was getting on my nerves as she tried to interpret Tyler's distress through the filter of her own experiences. Anyhow, it's sad that all of his fame and fortune does not seemed to have assuaged the pain and shame of his past. Poor Perry.

I wouldn't be surprised if after he emerges from his hiatus, he will come out of the closet.

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"tried to interpret (fill in the blank) distress through the filter of her own experiences" --- Exactly Cynique!

I rarely watch Oprah, but this ALWAYS irks me. Sometime Oprah will talk more than the guest, interrupting speaking for them. This is working fantastically well for her, so what do I know...

Humm, I thought it was common knowledge that Tyler was gay? Again, what do I know.

While I can sympathize with Perry, I won't be shedding any tears. He could have all those problem and be an unemployed janitor wasting away in obscurity. He has the financial resources to get help and pursue he dreams, I believe he'll do that.

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Linda. I did not see the movie.

Would a well meaning man be justified by having issues with how the Black male characters were portrayed in this flick?

(It don't bother me.

They ain't talking about me when they are running down these dudes--

Besides we do it to them all the time, too. We just can't make a movie or play about it)

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I think Perry meant well, but he is starting to believe his own publicity. He is about like the purveyors of drugs and alchohol thinking that their products sell so well because they are healthy and nutritious.

He is successful because his stuff gets into N-mess--he ain't the only one. Mess sells.

I think also you got problems when you try to take a play to the big screen. I just saw a DVD of "American Buffalo", which is a play by David Mamet. It has three characters.

In a small, intimate theater it might have been good. It was a failure as a movie.

Plays are all about the actors and their delivery of the dialog. A movie can be successful even when it eliminates dialog for long periods.

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Thanks for mentioning me Cynique.


Right now, a lot of "Hate" is being aimed at Tyler Perry by Black feminists.

While I was disappointed in "For Colored Girls" and wrote that I was disappointed.

I can never HATE Tyler Perry. And the reason is...

...since when in history have so many Black Actresses ever been employed in films at the

same time?? He literally casts 12 to 20 Black Female Speaking Parts in every movie he makes!!

This ranges from the STAR to the small "Nurse", "Bank Teller", "Veterinarian" roles. His

movies show us non-stop images of beautiful Black women and to the contrary of what is

often reported...he also shows an awful lot of loving Black couples in his films.

Unfortunately, the "VILLAIN" of TP movies is **ALWAYS an abusive Black man and that's

all anyone talks about--not the other love couples. In this latest film, "For Colored Girls"

he only had 1 "good black man" and the rest were all demons. That was problematic

for me, because I didn't think men should be in the movie period.

In my fantasy of Kola Boof's version of "For Colored Girls"...it would be a merged remake

of two films...1939's "THE WOMEN" (all female cast starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford

& Rosalind Russell) and from the 1970's "A Clockwork Orange." I would have set the film

in outer space with each Black woman being on a different planet..."Lady on Red Planet",

"Lady on Purple Planet," "Lady on Green Planet"...the abusers would be sexualized Alien

Monster Images (Half-Man muscle-bound negro-faced SLOTHS with flowing golden hair) And from

there I would have strictly used Ntzoke Shange's poems to tell this story of these Black

Goddesses who at the end of my movie would converge on Planet Earth; swooping down in fits

of colorful flight; defiant, wounded & willfully triumphant. They would all have "natural hair"

and the final poem would show them walking down a city street looking like regular black women

--survivors. LIKE THE PLAY.

Sort of like these recent photos of me with my natural hair:

post-320-032521000 1289582432_thumb.jpg

post-320-076451200 1289582466_thumb.jpg

post-320-075489100 1289582496_thumb.jpg

post-320-035823500 1289582611_thumb.jpg

NO...Tyler is not talented. No...he is not the best person to tell our stories. But the

fact is, just that he FOCUSES on Black women and "TRIES" to half-way give us a Public

Face (one that's way better than BET)...I can't completely betray his efforts with scornful

hate and dismissal.

I suspect that him being gay is partly why some Black women feel it's OK to dismiss him

and I KNOW that his attack on the EGO of Black male privilege is an even bigger culprit--as

Black women are notorious for betraying people who actually love/defend them over the

all elusive Black men who don't give a shit about us or our condition.

We stay supporting Kanye West, Piss Puffy, Biggie, Michael Jackson...and what have THEY

done really to create and perpetuate Black female images in their art?? Think about it.

Tyler is NOT perfect or even very good at movie making. But hell, he damn sure puts

Black women FIRST and these roles are not hardly the worst ever---at least he has strong

beautiful Black women (who actually LOOK Black) and they always have a happy ending.

As well---there's usually a BLACK WEDDING at the end of Tyler Perry's films. Hokey or

not, I can hate that.

The majority of us lived through or rediscoved the 1970's Blaxploitation films. We

will live through Tyler Perry. His movies remind me of the absurdity and "fun" of

"Superfly," "Shaft," "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown." And from an artistic and social

point of view, I thought those films were TRASH. By supporting "Superfly" I was

supporting a Pimp, drug dealers & all around Black Sexist Pimpology that I don't

in real life appreciate or tolerate. So how in the hell am I going to hate Tyler


That's what I say to my fellow Black feminists.

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Guest denissemarie

This was an awesome movie that woman of all colors can relate to. We all carry scars and can relate to at least one of the characters in the movie. As intense as it was and although I still have some of the disturbing scenes in my mind, it is real life (the majority of women have gone through things like this).I think by focusing on the fact that black men are being portrayed as abusers or rapists etc. we are just missing the point of the movie. The male characters in the movie also come in all colors in this unfortunately, ugly world.

I am reading an awesome book called Captivating about how women were made in the image of God. We have the side of God that makes us lifesavers, vulnerable, filled with love and romance yet we have an unbelievable power which is also why we as women go through so much hardship in this world. I am also raising three daughters and this movie was released at the same time as I am reading this book which I am grateful for because I feel it prepares my husband (a wonderful black man) and I to raise our beautiful daughters and teach them, make them aware of the sufferings of women yet the power we have.

I am a huge fan of Tyler Perry. I think he did an awesome job with the movie. He chose great actresses and instead of putting him down we should be supporting him as much as possible. His movies have a message, a meaning. They also always mention God. How many other movies are sending these kind of messages today? And better yet, it's a black man sending these messages, which I am proud of! The ending of For Colored Girls has hope. The nosy neighbor tells the one that lost her children to help other women (we do go through sufferings in this world for a reason - we have a purpose and sometimes need to use our sufferings for good) and more than that it ends with mentioning God, “the laying of the hands” on our souls and that is how we get through these trials.

I do not know the work of the Ntozake Shange but this is just my feelings about the movie itself.

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I was initially so impressed with how well you stated your case that I was curious to learn more about you so I clicked on to your FaceBook icon, Denissemarie To my surprise, you appeared to be white in your picture and advertised yourself as a "virtual" marketer available for hire, a someone who will do for a client what a client is too busy or inept to do for themself. In your glowing review of this movie you referred to your husband as being a "wonderful black man", further mentioning a book which, from your description, seemingly reinforces the idea that, in God's plan, women exist to be understanding of men, and being used as a door mat by them comes with the territory. Yeah, right. This may be the curse of black women but surely not white ones, particularly those married to wonderful black men.

Take notice of my screen name and pardon me for thinking you sound like you're plying your trade in recommending this movie. In reconsidering your review, IMO I now find it just a little too patented.

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Kola I have to say that was a very interesting reimagining of Ntozake's work.

I don't think anyone is putting Tyler Perry down as a person -- His is an incredible success story. However we can critique his movies -- even the ones we have not seen ;)

On one hand Chrishayden has no problem with the flick 'cause he knows Tyler was not talking about him. However the universal female response is to the flick is one echoed by Dennise Marie (welcome by the way): "...We all carry scars and can relate to at least one of the characters in the movie."

If all women can relate to a least one character, then presumably there is at least one man responsible for that abuse. So either there are a few Brothers wrecking a whole lot of havoc or many Brothers causing Sisters a lot of grief.

The more plausible explanation, given the numbers of women having the Oprahian ability to relate to the characters in For Colored Girls, is that there are many Brothers (not Chrishayden) causing these problems.

Given the stats and how the flick resonates with so many women, if looks like we are just a very damaged community and the Brother who have issues with the flick are in profound denial.

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Troy, go see the damn movie. Most of the garbage you're hearing is simply that .... GARBAGE!

There's only one black man in the movie that could be considered a monster. And he was only in the movie for about 5 minutes. He committed date rape. The other man was a damaged war veteran. Like many men that return from the brutalities of combat, he was deeply scarred. He's not a villian, he's a victim.

This movie is NOT about male bashing. Like denissemarie (above) said, many are missing the point of this movie. If you've noticed, those that are talking the loudest, have not even seen the movie. What fool would listen to them?

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Yes, Troy, it is becoming increasingly clear that the message of this movie is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you for your circumspect comments. Who needs all of the hystrionic outrage or the Mary Sunshine happy talk? Not me. I'll take Kola's and Courtland Milloy's critiques any day. They were incisive and witty.

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...ah, this is reminenscent of the good 'ole days at thumper's Corner...

Carey take a deep breath and keep in mind increasing the font size of your posts will not strengthen your argument.

One question begs asking off the top; what makes your comments about the movie valid and those of the others I've heard, particularly those of professional reviewers, "garbage"?

Why can't someone voice an opinion abut a movie they've never seen, once they know what it is about? After seening my first snuff film; I know I don't want to see any more - I don't care how well it is done or what the reviewers have to say.

The same pretty much goes for Tyler Perry flicks. Tyler has a formula. Which works for a lot of people and that is cool. Formulas work and are indeed necessary for romance novels and street fiction; stray too much from the script and you risk losing an audience.

Right now if someone wants to go to the theater and see a film with more than two Black people in it, then Tyler Perry flicks are the only game in town. This, more than anything, else is the real problem: There is a profound lack of variety and volume of major motions pictures with majoirty Black casts.

Imagine a world in which all the books, with Black characters, in it were in the street fiction genre. Do you think people would complain more or less?

img47.jpgBack to Perry's Film:

I actually agree with Kola (I sure it is snowing on hell right about now) in that men should not have been in the flick at all or had very minimal roles. But that would have made the flick even more difficult to pull off; Given the Perry MO.

As I suspected the box office take, opening weekend, For Colored Girls was the 2nd lowest of any Perry flick and is on track to be one of his lowest grossing movies.

It would be interesting to know how much each in the star studded cast was paid to do do the flick

But fear not I'm sure the 2011 release of Madeas Big Happy Family will greatly enrich Perry coffers.

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Troy, you know we've been doing this for over 11 years, and I've never heard you make such a porous argument! I am going to give you a do-over so you can take this back.... "Why can't someone voice an opinion abut a movie they've never seen, once they know what it is about? After seening my first snuff film; I know I don't want to see any more - I don't care how well it is done or what the reviewers have to say"

Excuse me, obviously you didn't get the memo because based on your words, you don't know what the heck the movie is about. So you can't know what you are talking about.

I knew you had lost your mind when you agreed with Kola. I mean, that's my girl and everything, but why would you agree that men should not have been in this movie? Flash-back.... you have not seenn the movie! How can you make a qualified opinion (about something in the movie) ?

And tell me, what how many men were in the movie? opps... you can't answer that. Well, maybe you can ask a professional reviewer.

Tell me ol'crystal ball, how long were the men on screen? Oh wait, that's right, you have not seen the movie. How was the acting performances? Oh wait, that's right....

So troy, tell me, "particularly those of professional reviewers" and who might they be, and what did they say? You bring me 2 and I'll bring you 5. Troy, your argument makes no sense. You might want to go back and restructure that puppy.

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Linda. I did not see the movie.

Would a well meaning man be justified by having issues with how the Black male characters were portrayed in this flick?

Hi Troy..first of all..this is probably not going to be a movie all men will be able to watch for several reasons. The stories in the movie were written by a woman as you and most men know. I say most because there are men who have no clue who Ntozake Shange is and her work. That she wrote this on the 70's but that these issues are still with us in 2010. With that said, SOME men will understand that the characters are not a reflection on the majority of men but we can not bury our heads in the sand and say there are NO men who act out in the ways the men on the screen do. In my own life I have know everyone of those men. So, I would say to a man who is willing to go see the movie and judge it on the "entertainment" value alone that it is a good movie based on the acting perhaps not the subject matter. Is it dark, yep. Is it fun, no. But if the man is willing to understand the above I stated, it makes for a great discussion of SOME issues men and women do have.

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The original Play was a record-breaking Classic and there were NO MEN in the play whatsoever.

The males were "talked' about fleetingly. The focus was on the women's "blossoming" and what

hardships they had overcome to reach these glorious "Colors" that they were. It was a very

powerful and "affirmative" experience watching the play IMO. I think the film should have kept

the MYSTICAL vibe by doing something totally artistic--like setting the women on different

colored planets to play out their experiences/poems and then having them gush to earth.

Believe it or not, we still would have gotten the message just as strong using my idea.

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The original Play was a record-breaking Classic and there were NO MEN in the play whatsoever.

The males were "talked' about fleetingly..

Believe it or not, we still would have gotten the message just as strong using my idea.

Hello Kola, I've seen the play (twice). I will agree that N'Shange's words were the most compelling parts of the movie. I've said that in many of my debates. However, since was not doing a play, Tyler had to weave in male characters, to enhance the movie experience, and Shange's words., or what was the point. Who would enjoy a stream of women reading poetry? Yet in doing so, its' my opinion that the male actors dropped the ball. Their performances were the low points of the movie. The rapist never coulld act, and Loretta Devine's guy was a fat dude. He couldn't even beg his baby with any sincerity.

And btw, I can't stand that mammy acting Loretta Devine. She should retire that whinning thang.

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Have you ever seen "A Clockwork Orange"? It's sort of a wild imagery movie.

I feel that's how "For Colored Girls" could have been a movie but remained

like the play. There's so much you can do (and tell) with imagery and fantasy

and words. Black cinema needs to move into other realms. We need science fiction

films and other modes of storytelling. We're quite sophisticated now.

I do understand why Linda liked the movie, though. It was entertaining and the

acting was superb!

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I'm still trying to figure out why carey implies that Linda's answer to Troy's question invalidated Troy's points. Linda didn't challenge anything Troy said. She simply replied to his question by using references to the movie to clarify her response. But carey is so desperate to have his nonsense reinforced that he claims as allies those who don't strengthen his argument.

Next he proceeds to agree with Kola whose input moreoreless bolstered Troy's remarks. So there carey dangles, talking out of both sides of his mouth, dissing certain cast members while giving Tyler an "E" for effort but a failing grade as a director, still insisting that if his detractors go see this flawed movie this will exonerate him from looking silly. Typical carey logic.

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Well Cynique, I've figure it out. You and troy have a thang about my words. Troy likes listening to "professional reviewers" and you're just a grumpy cynic, so I brought along a friend.

Actually, a woman from Richmond, California just stopped by the blog and left a little something. Ii am going to share that with yawl...

"Just wanted to throw in a piece by Michael Ealy, on the topic of men's treatment in FCG:

"ESSENCE.com: You've expressed that you want to set the record straight about how Black men are portrayed in "For Colored Girls." What does setting the record straight mean?

MICHAEL EALY: I think that if you say this movie is male bashing, you're not looking at the bigger picture. Yeah there are some men with problems in the piece and if you did notice, yes, Hill Harper is one good man. But this is a play by women, by a woman. And it's not like Tyler [Perry] or anyone else wrote the script that had all these men with problems. In my opinion the bigger picture is that the issues that were applicable in the mid '70s when the play was on Broadway, are still plaguing our women and our children right now. The bigger issue is that the piece is timeless. And if you're a man who is handling your business then you know this doesn't apply to you. This isn't a film that showcases men; this is a film that showcases the triumph of our women."

Troy, there's your review. How ya like me now?

Cynique, don't listen to me.

Kola, I agree, this could have been done in a different way. And yes, I have seen A Clockwork Orange.

And you still look good.

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Carey as I suspected, your font choice has no impact on your argument.

Are you trying to suggest that my watching virtually all of Tyler previous films has no bearing on this one? Are there no similarities, no indication of his "creative" touch?

Are you saying that the trailers, the scores of reviews I've read, actor interviews (several of which I've published) including conversations with Ntozake herself, mean nothing? I also saw at least two performances of the Stage play as well as the PBS specials from back in the day.

No I did not see this film, but that does not mean that I can not comment on the portions of which that I'm aware.

Indeed, two people who have actually SEEN the movie will come away with very different reactions. People will remember different things, and what they remember will be remembered differently.

You might also note that none of my comments have anything to do with specifics from the flick. I've asked questions, based my comments on information provided by others and said from the outset I had not seen the film.

In fact the stuff you are accusing me of I never stated. I never accused Tyler of man bashing -- you manufactured that story.

Carey please answer one simple question: When you went to see For Colored Girls, how did you make the decision to select this flick?

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And why carey keeps trying to convince me that this movie is not a male-bashing film, I don't know. I NEVER said it was. I have never critiqued the movie, but he just keeps going on and on trying to refute arguments that his mind has, indeed, "manufactured", obviously attempting to deflect attention from the muddled position he's trying to defend. The more he accuses others of being at fault, the more stupid he, himself, looks. He''s so busy trying to appear important, trying to promote himself and his blog that his ego has clouded his logic.

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All I apologize when I made my comments last night I completely missed the second page of the conversation. That said my original comments stand PLUS.

Carey, as I said I've read a lot of reviews -- including your emotion fueled rants.

I even read Michael Ealy's comments. But Michael was a star in the film and clearly his comments are biased. Did expect Ealy to have ANYTHING bad to day about the film?

Ealy points out that "Hill Harper was one good man". Sheesh he was the ONLY good, man and one can even argue that, by the way he questioned the rape victim. Further, the male characters were manufactured by Tyler. Which is one reason I agree with Kola that men should have been left out...

But alas that is seemingly all Tyler knows how to do - pit evil men against Christian women. "To a boy with a hammer all the world is a nail".

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"To a boy with a hammer all the world is a nail".

Is that right? Well, "to the victor goes the spoils"

And, wait one minute, lets take a look at your other mis-steps. "But alas that is seemingly all Tyler knows how to do - pit evil men against Christian women"

Now Troy, do I have to tell you that you've stepped in a bucket of doo doo? Oh, that's right, you didn't see the movie. But do tell (maybe you read it in a review) what "Christain" woman (character) was in FCG. Huh.... tell me that? Wait, I'll tell you, ONE, Whoopie was a religious fanatic. But more importantly, what evil men were in FCG? Huh... tell me that? Of course everyone knows about the rapist, but other than that, there was not one other evil man. And please, for you to imply that Hill Harper was some type of evil or "no good" man is purely ridiculous. Obviously you must have read that sentiment from someone that knows nothing about police work, particularly how a rape victim has to be questioned. The questioning of the rape victim was standard procedure. I am sure you've been reading the paper? Sure you have. So you have probably seen how some "rape victims" are not really rape victims. So lets move on.

"I even read Michael Ealy's comments. But Michael was a star in the film and clearly his comments are biased. Did expect Ealy to have ANYTHING bad to day about the film?"

Ahh Troy, excuse me? So let me get this straight, since Michael Ealy was in the movie, his words have no merit? Do I have to say that that's ludicrous. In this instance, the man simply gave his perspective on the overall theme of the movie. Gosh Troy, you're sinking.

So Troy, tap the mat or cry uncle or go see the movie because you're woefully unprepared to voice a qualified opinion on FCG. You should just leave "well enough" alone. But that's right, you're talking straight talk and my addition to the conversation is a rant. Now that's something to ponder.

Run, run, run, but you sho' can't hide

An eye for an eye

A tooth for a tooth

Vote for me, and I'll set you free

Rap on brother, rap on

Well, the only person talkin'

'Bout love thy brother is the preacher

And it seems,

Nobody is interested in learnin'

But the teacher

Segregation, determination, demonstration,

Integration, aggravation,

Humiliation, obligation to our nation

Ball of Confusion

That's what the world is today

The sale of pills are at an all time high

Young folks walk around with

Their heads in the sky

Cities aflame in the summer time

And, the beat goes on

Air pollution, revolution, gun control,

Sound of soul

Shootin' rockets to the moon

Kids growin' up too soon

Politicians say more taxes will

Solve everything

And the band played on

So round 'n' round 'n' round we go

Where the world's headed, nobody knows

Just a Ball of Confusion

Oh yea, that's what the wold is today


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Carey, when you went to see For Colored Girls, how did you make the decision to select this flick?

Beyond that I no longer had the energy or time to defend every comment of mine that you have distorted for you own purposes.

For example, I did not say Ealy's comments have no merit (otherwise I would not have bothered to read them myself), I was simply stating that he comments were biased by virtue of the fact that he was in the film. He would have very little incentive to say anything against the film considering that it is still in theaters and Tyler paid him to be in it.

This point should be profoundly obvious. Therefore it clear that we can't have a meaningful discussion about the film.

If you spent less time tying to poke holes in my words, and put more effort into understanding what I'm trying to communicate, we might have a meaningful exchange of ideas.

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