Tyler Perry

The Haves and the Have Nots’ Post-Accident Benny

Tyler Lepley

(Photo Credit: Kontrol Magazine)

Benjamin “Benny” Young (Tyler Lepley) is emerging as a more interesting and complex character since the accident he was involved in that landed him in the hospital.  Fans of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots are witnessing a Benny who seems to have greater zeal than he had before the accident.  When he speaks now, he does not have any reservations.  Before the accident, Benny wouldn’t use profanity around Hannah Young (Crystal R. Fox), his mother, but now he says exactly what he wants to say—with little to no regret.  Hannah is even surprised by how blunt Benny is now. She frequently has to look at him and tell him that he needs to calm down.  It will be interesting to see if we’re about to see the full manifestation of his spunk, a spunk that shares deep affinities to Candace Young’s (Tika Sumpter), his sister.

Benny, the Uniter

Benny appears to be making a stronger effort to bring Candace and Hannah closer together.  One of his chief failures (thus far) in attempting to eviscerate the barriers that exist between Candace and Hannah is the omission of a challenge for Hannah to employ the powerful faith she has in God to help her to have a true willingness to close the gulf between her and her daughter.  Benny has heard his mother talk about God all of his life, and he seems to have grown a little tired of hearing her speak about God, especially when they continue to experience the struggle of surviving with very limited financial resources.

Benny’s Potential Danger

Although Benny’s new passion is refreshing, he has to be careful about seeking revenge on Quincy (Medina Islam), Candace’s baby daddy.  From what we know right now, it appears that Quincy murdered his baby.  If Quincy will murder a baby, then you know he doesn’t mind killing Benny. Benny, therefore, shouldn’t allow his anger to metastasize into wrath.  It’s clear that Quincy doesn’t mind going to prison, and Benny shouldn’t let him lead him on a path that leads to prison, the hospital or the grave.  Hopefully, Candace and Hannah will be able to communicate to him the importance of remaining calm and logical.  While it may seem to be the right thing to go after Quincy for murdering Candace’s baby (and for whatever he did to her before he went to prison), Benny is a good man and has much more to lose than Quincy does.  If Benny elects to take the law into his own hands, he could do more harm than good.

Conclusion

On July 22, 2014, fans of the show will have an opportunity to see if Benny will make tragic mistakes. Unchecked rage often leads to destruction.  Benny has to understand that Quincy is Satan in the flesh, and all Quincy comes to do is steal, kill and destroy.  Will Benny pass this test of his faith?  We learn the answer to this question on the next episode of Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The Haves and the Have Nots Should Be Longer

Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots

(Photo Credit: Oprah)

Tyler Perry has just completed a successful first season of his new hit drama, The Haves and the Have Nots (2013), on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).  Although it’s an hour long show on Tuesday nights, it’s really only a 30 – 35 minute program when one factors in the numerous commercials.  With so many interesting dynamics and complexities, the show needs to be two hours long or air twice a week for one hour each of those days.  Perry has indicated that in the second season of the show he will be providing viewers with more background information about the characters that will help viewers to understand how they evolved into the characters we see today.  Viewers can certainly benefit from deeper knowledge about the backgrounds of all his characters, and I believe that he will execute the revealing of their backgrounds in interesting ways.

For those who assert that Perry’s works lack sophistication and complexity, I would love to engage in a serious discourse with them about these unfair critiques when it comes to The Haves and the Have Nots.  Of course, many people, especially many of his African-American critics, simply will not like anything he does because of his unwillingness to cater to their narrow visions of who he should be as an actor, director, writer, producer and man.

The show offers a powerful reaffirmation: all relationships and families have problems, no matter how much money they have and regardless of their race and ethnicity.  At the core of the problems that exists between the characters in the work is a failure to be sincere.  In some degree, all of the characters engender vexing quandaries for themselves and others by lacking the courage to deal frankly with their internal and external challenges.  We will never solve our problems by running away from them.  Our problems are conquered when we muster the courage to address them candidly and thoroughly.

More background information about all of the characters will enable fans of the show to increase their investment in their favorite characters, and viewers will be able to gain a greater appreciation for all of their characters, even if they do not personally like some of the characters.  I am a huge fan of the show and was eager each week to watch it.  I do, however, come away from each episode feeling like something is missing, something that’s essential.  This feeling of something essential being absent is mostly not a positive thing.  The show needs to benefit from an additional hour each week to take it to the next level of greatness.

In order for all artists to continue to advance, it’s necessary for them to involve themselves in reflective thought.  They must consider ways to ameliorate their works to keep them fresh, relevant and interesting.  Perry is not exempt from this need to engage in critical reflection about The Have and the Have Nots.  Whatever he has to do to extend the time of his episodes should be done.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

SoulTrain.com Feature on Tamela Mann

Tamela MannAcclaimed gospel music artist and actress Tamela Mann has the number one gospel music single, “Take Me to the King,” which is from her latest album Best Days (2012).  She’s known by many for her role as Cora Simmons in several of Tyler Perry’s plays, including I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Madea’s Family ReunionMadea’s Class Reunion, Meet the Browns and What’s Done in the Dark.  Mann was an actress in Kingdom Come and Diary of a Mad Black Woman.  She first began singing in her church’s adult choir at the age of 12, and she often performed solos.  Her professional singing career began with the renowned gospel group Kirk Franklin and the Family.  She has collaborated with many diverse artists, including Bono, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Yolanda Adams, Celine Dion, R. Kelly and Fred Hammond, and is married to David Mann, most known for his role as Deacon Leroy Brown in several of Tyler Perry’s plays. Read the full article here: SoulTrain.com

Share, “Like,” and comment on this article from the SoulTrain.com website here: Tamela Mann: A Leading Lady in Gospel Music.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls: Two Thumbs Up!

For this piece, I could have given it a more imaginative title, but I want it to be clear from the outset how I feel about Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. Since there are so many negative reviews of this film, mostly from Black professors and scholars who don’t think Tyler Perry is tutored enough to do this film, I want to offer a positive view of the film as a Black scholar who loves it. In a sea of negative reviews of Perry’s film, my piece should be refreshing to those who love it, but have not been able to find any positive reviews of it. When you read some of the reviews of some of the Black scholars and professors who have composed negative reviews about Perry’s For Colored Girls, I want you to investigate what they have written about him and other popular Black artists in the past. You just might discover that some of these Black scholars and professors have waged a concerted war against him for no apparent reason other than they hate him or they are envious of his success.

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls is based on the classic American choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (1975), written by Ntozake Shange, a Black woman playwright. Perry maintained a fundamental commitment to the authenticity of Shange’s work, although he intentionally strays away from the original choreopoem at times. For instance, Whoopi Goldberg’s character is not in the original choreopoem. Perry did not, however, leave out accounts of rape, domestic violence, and child murder that are found in Shange’s work. Some people have told me that these aspects of the film and more make Black people look bad. Well, you cannot hold Tyler Perry accountable for this—these elements are critical aspects found in Shange’s choreopoem.

One thing I appreciate about Perry is his unwavering commitment to presenting disquieting, unsettling, and unnerving aspects about Black life that many Black people want to conceal and not engage in serious discourses about. By taking on Shange’s work, Perry presents to the world issues about abortion, rape, domestic violence, and homosexuality that many Blacks would rather he not show to them and White people. These are real issues, however, that the Black community must be willing to wrestle with and do it through open, inclusive, and public discourses. Perry’s film empowers us with a critical opportunity to begin serious discussions about these controversial issues the film engages.

Although I really love Shange’s work, I enjoyed the film better. Perry was able to enspirit the choreopoem for me. The film gives you the opportunity to see a range of complex problems Black women have to face. A sophisticated presentation of Black female sexuality is offered. The power of the film for me lies in how it is able to unveil a serious revelation about Black women: Despite great traumas and challenges being malevolently inflicted and imposed on them, they find ways to overcome them. At the end of the film, I contend that there is utopian energy. All of the women gain a sense of redemption through solidarity with Black women, through reflective discourse about the traumas and challenges they have faced and how to move past and conquer them, and through resisting self-estrangement by seeking community (evidenced by all of the women meeting together and talking with one another and their holding of one another at the conclusion of the film).

I highly recommend that everyone go out and see this film! Tyler Perry has given us a postmodern gem. We should seize on the opportunity this gem affords us. Although the play and film does not proffer an affirmative view of Black men and Black masculinity, it does depict some social realities about many Black men and parts of Black masculinity and Black male sexuality. Go and see it today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month: Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia awards a Person of the Month to someone embodying the unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing spirit that founded this blog. By winning the Person of the Month, an individual is not precluded from winning the Person of the Year award. It is with great pleasure that Revolutionary Paideia names Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Tyler Perry’s willingness to tackle taboo topics in the African-American community has unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused many African-Americans who have wished to bury serious discourses about issues like homosexuality that too often make many Blacks very uncomfortable. Revolutionary Paideia is proud of Tyler Perry for going public about being molested as a child by both men and a woman. I believe many Black men will now gain the courage to speak about how they have been victimized by people who have molested them as a result of Tyler Perry speaking out on this issue. America needs to engage more with serious discussions about molestation, especially African-Americans. African-Americans often want to push the issue of molestation under the rug because of the shame attached to it.

Tyler Perry has a truly moving and uniquely American story. His story is one that proves that if you are willing to fight against great challenges in your life, no matter how disquieting they may be, you can be successful in America. This Black man has been tremendously successful in a White-dominated Hollywood. People told Tyler that his style of films would never make it in Hollywood because they are too deeply connected to the Black Church and to religion in general. His critics could not have been more wrong. This year he is the second highest earner in Hollywood.

One thing that I appreciate most about Tyler Perry is his unwillingness to compromise his personal relationship with God for Hollywood’s money. Today, he has been so successful with his television show, plays, and films. In all that he has done, he has never allowed himself to get bigger than the God who put him in the position he is in today. He allows the African-American presence to be depicted in such a positive and comprehensive way in Hollywood than was previously available.

Although there are many people who do not like Perry’s style, he has refused to change his style to pacify his detractors. I have heard some horrible criticism waged against him. Spike Lee has been one of most unfair critics, but Spike Lee is just hating on Perry because he has never experienced the level of success, including financial success, that Perry has experienced. Spike Lee simply needs to step his game up. Tyler Perry’s films help to reveal some truths about Black people that Spike Lee has not been willing to explore in his work. Therefore, Mr. Spike Lee, we need Tyler Perry to do what you lack the testicular fortitude to do.

Again, it is a pleasure to name Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia proudly endorses Tyler Perry and his excellent body of work.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison