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Dave Chappelle made this emphatic statement back in 2006 during a soul searching sit-down with Oprah Winfrey. Chappelle is not the only one who’s been balking at this increasingly cliched kind of comedy. For the last decade a growing chorus of critics and commentators has decried these films as sexist and degrading.
Flip Wilson became one of the biggest black stars to breakout in television during the early 1970s in part because of his exaggerated black female character Geraldine. Yet the black-male cross-dressing comedy became a full-blown genre when Eddie Murphy released his wildly successful comeback film The Nutty Professor in 1996. Audience members who frankly didn’t find this funny were left scratching their heads — why so much hostility towards black women? Later this year, Lawrence is expected to team up with Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (how long ago does his Ray heyday seem these days?) in yet another drag comedy (featuring their infamous Sheneneh and Wanda characters) inexplicably titled Skank Robbers. The fans and filmmakers behind these movies will likely argue — can’t you take a joke?
Chicago native Aries Spears discovered his comedic abilities at the young age of 14, when he started doing his own comedy routine around his hometown. Star Siblings: Famous Brothers and Sisters From the Hemsworth brothers to the Olsen sisters, take a look at some famous families. For years, the standard comedians have used to measure a joke’s appropriateness was whether people laughed. He told her a revealing story about an experience he had on the set of a Martin Lawrence film (presumably Blue Streak) — where producers wanted him to perform a scene in a dress, which made him uncomfortable. This weekend, Martin Lawrence will headline a third entry in the man-in-drag Big Momma’s House comedy series.
The argument being that these films both emasculate the male performers and vilify the black women they are supposedly mimicking. Later in that same decade Saturday Night Live writers, who struggled to find roles suitable for the cast’s lone black actor Garrett Morris, often saddled him with drag parts because they knew it provided an easy laugh.


Of the plethora of characters Murphy created in the film, his Mama and Grandma Klump were arguably the most compelling and memorable.
There was Juwanna Mann, Big Momma’s House, Norbit, White Chicks and many incarnations of Madea. There have been enough cruel and insensitive interpretations of black women on the big screen from the early days of mammies and pickaninnies, why would these films, all starring and often conceived by black men, revel in making black women look like gun-toting psychopaths?
Norbit may have cost Eddie Murphy an Academy Award but it was a solid smash at the box office. Dustin Hoffman was brilliant in Tootsie but he didn’t make a career of imitating women.
These characters are very amusing in the context of a sketch but are their capable of sustaining a feature film? The usual routine is to fault black audiences for not supporting more uplifting or at least, less stereotypical black films.
Meanwhile, Super Bowl ads, cartoons and other forms of media reinforce the idea that black women are undesirable and even worse, physically abusive. By the age of 17, he landed a part in the movie Home of Angels (1994), starring Abe Vigoda, Sherman Hemsley and Joe Frazier. We’ve already spent much of this week debating some regrettable tweets from Trevor Noah, the new host of The Daily Show. As the filmmakers begged him to reconsider, Chappelle began to reflect on just how many black male comedians had embraced the black man in drag gag to get paid. Jamie Foxx became a breakout star on In Living Color in early 90s with his uproarious Wanda character. And while these films varied in terms of success and style one thing united them all — they all portrayed black women as angry, violent and ugly. Martin Lawrence’s film career has largely floundered outside of the Big Momma series.
There’s something a little sad about these undeniably talented comedic actors resigning themselves to endlessly return to this tried and tired formula of black man acting like an angry black women to score cheap laughs.


But I think the actors themselves should be held more responsible for the roles they choose. This mom isn’t the first parent to feel this way, but YouTube offered a near instant response to a radio show joke that offended her. Holus bumps entertainment to 3D holographic gloryWant to customize, transform your audio environment? In that same span of time there will not be a single major film released where an actual black woman plays a lead role. Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry have the clout to choose or produce better pictures. The best comics, such as George Carlin, had no sacred cows and believed we shouldn’t either. Instead the dominant Hollywood portrayal of a mature black woman in film will be a black male comedian playing an exaggerated stereotype of one.
Twitter kept them in a time capsule, just waiting for the time people other than his diehard fans knew who Noah was.
But the more controversial the subject, the harder the comedian must work to find both the humor and the truth in the joke.
But instead of appealing to our better angels on screen as dramatic actors like say Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle do, a performer like Martin Lawrence can only brag about the size of his paycheck. Simply aping the mannerisms of a mentally or physically challenged person is just lazy and mean-spirited, even if the performer isn’t trying to hurt anyone. But once you have, why not use your stardom in creative way that’s positive and intelligent?



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