There are so many things wrong with the trailer — and the concept — for the movie Think Like A Man, it's hard to know where to start. Should we start with the fact that woman-beating convicted felon Chris Brown has been cast in a romantic comedy? Should we start with the fact that Steve Harvey, a comedian and not a therapist or counselor, who as been married three times, is dispensing love advice to black women? Or perhaps we should start with the fact that this flick was written by David Newman and Keith Merryman, two white guys also responsible for Friends With Benefits? It's all so mind-boggling. The worst part is how the men in the movie are terribly flawed, but it's the women who "need" to change. The women are seeking advice. The voice-over man actually says the words, "Guys will be guys." Girl, that's just how it is!
Over the weekend, Angela Stanley — a researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University — wrote a great piece about being black, female and single. It read, in part:
Some black women choose to be single rather than settle, but rarely is this discussed as a real explanation for why some black women are unmarried. When a black woman says she is choosing to be single, most people assume she just can't get a man.
Despite the visibility of people like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Condoleezza Rice, black women as a group are still largely negatively stereotyped in movies, television, music and other forms of popular culture. However, because black men have been disproportionately affected by social inequities, black women have been implicitly conditioned not to add to that burden. Being critical of black men, instead of being supportive and sympathetic, is often viewed as adding to the problems of black men.
Having a bunch of ladies put up with bad behavior and having a bunch of men say, "This is war, gentlemen," does nothing to help the problem. And worse: It's not funny. Which "advice" from a comedian really ought to be. It's just a trailer, but you certainly get the sense that a relationship's health is the responsibility of the woman, and if women want things to change, we'd better listen to a wise older thrice-married man. As exciting as it is to have a fun romcom with black actresses (and an interracial couple!), this flick — being marketed toward black women — seems bad for black women, black men, human beings, the universe and eyes.