Although those laughs didn’t translate into ratings and Flip’s show was cancelled within four years of being on the air. Geraldine brought Flip an impressive level of recognition, creating space for him to stand out in the entertainment industry, but at what price?
When Martin took on “Sheneneh” in his vastly popular sitcom, “Martin” and Jamie Foxx took on “Wanda” on “In Living Color,” it seemed the Black community was willing to accept funnymen in women’s clothes as a piece of comic relief. Even though Lawrence and Foxx were faced with critics, they weren’t shunned for their female characters the way Perry is constantly berated for disgracing our people. Maybe it’s characters like Perry’s “Madea,” Eddie Murphy’s “Rasputia” or Martin’s “Big Momma” that irritate Black people. Who are these disheveled, disproportionate, often plus size and the butt-of-the-joke women these comedians in drag represent? At least with Kevin Hart’s “SNL” skit as Quvenzhane, there was pop culture reference and relevancy without trying to act out a Black woman stereotype.
I think Chris Rock said it best, “Tyler Perry is great in a dress, but I don’t want to see Denzel or Will Smith in a dress.” The powers that be in Hollywood have found a formula that equals success: Black man + Dress = Hilarious. With that formula, many Black people are faced with a paradox. Do we find entertainment in the cross-dressing buffoonery or do we fight against the effeminizing spectacle?
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