As far back as slavery, the Black male has been warned to keep his masculinity. Any type of behavior resembling femininity was deemed an abomination or a curse and even shunned by his family. If there was a feeling of not being able to live up to the strong Black family value, the Black man displayed his clandestine feelings of sexuality across town. By using the term, “across town,” it is to mean that the Black male had to be himself somewhere else – not at home. Fear of being chastised and physically abused in his own environment, the Black male found himself having to live on the “Down Low.” Creeping, sleeping around, staying in the closet are just a few of the terms placed on men who can’t admit to a sexual pattern or behavior that is deemed abhorrent by many who call themselves Christians. There is no question, as reports have shown, that switch-hitting or pitching puts the female at risk for testing positive for HIV which could result in AIDS. And there has been a drastic increase in infection cases of Black women becoming infected with the virus. Why does this happen? For the Black male, it’s all about image.
On the outside, the Black male exudes strength and virility. While the physique could give the impression of complete masculinity, the male’s voice does not often match the body. But even with that being said, some men are just very soft-spoken. This really has nothing to do with his masculinity. But in the Black community, a deep voice and body proves manliness. Then, there is the old saying, “You can’t keep them from thinking, but you can keep them from knowing.” Does this mean that you can’t see into the mind of the man? It makes complete sense. If the woman doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist. So, what is it about Tyler Perry’s character, “Madea,” that makes many Black men cringe? With cross-dressing being the ultimate no-no sign dispelling any sign of masculinity for the Black man, could this be the reason so many Blacks have jumped off the Tyler Perry bandwagon? I mean, when a young Black male questions his mother about the Madea character, how does that Black mom explain that she is played by a Black man named Tyler Perry? With the Black Church voicing harshly against homosexuality, it’s obvious that somebody is not being truthful about God not liking homosexuals. Not to say that Tyler Perry is a homosexual but a side-by-side photo, unlike the star RuPaul who is openly gay, only proves that acting “gay” is big business for him. Did Mr. Perry not make the bulk of his fortune exploiting Madea? Has any pastor of a Black Church ever allowed Mr. Perry to speak to the youth of the church? Tyler Perry may give his time and money to different youth programs, but does his not being married or having children of his own make him more vulnerable of scrutiny even by the youngsters he helps support? Another taboo in the Black community is states that by a certain age, a Black male, even a Black woman, should be married…heterosexually married, that is.
Tyler Perry has since broadened his talents to include more mainstream Caucasian actors like Denise Richards and Eugene Levy in his new film: Madea’s Witness Protection. Though he has now broken past the $40 million box-office range his films achieve domestically, Mr. Perry has yet to be credited for his achievements. Sure, he has won BET awards and Image awards, but will he ever be seen as a bona fide Writer, Director, and Producer instead of a narcissist? We live in a completely different era from the days of Flip Wilson and his character, Geraldine.” Wilson wasn’t a spokesman for race relations – but he was the first to host his very own television variety show. Maybe what sets Geraldine apart from Madea is the fact that Wilson was a comedian. Just maybe, if Madea hit the comedy circuit, much more respect will be given to Mr. Perry. As he nearly owns the TBS network, Tyler Perry will continue to reign as the most successful African-American male in television. Having his own network may actually help his notoriety…just as long as little Black boys can see him as a comedian and not just a Black man who puts on a dress and acts like a woman. Then again, maybe he needs to better appeal to Black women with little Black boys.