If you know the names of theatre, film, television, literary or other cultural productions in which the main character(s) is a Black woman (regardless of the “biology” (gender, nationality, ethnicity) of the author) AND the Black men are NOT dysfunctional, please forward the name of that cultural production and any related information. I know there are many cultural productions which center on Black men where women are not portrayed as dysfunctional. I also know that there are many cultural productions where both Black women and men are portrayed as dysfunctional. If you consider this as a four box matrix, the first three boxes are:
- Black male main character – Functional Black female supporting character(s)
- Black male main character – Dysfunctional Black female supporting character(s)
- Black female main character – Dysfunctional Black male supporting character(s)
I’m seeking to fill the fourth box: Black female main character – Functional Black male supporting character. I should add a caveat or two. I would discount cultural productions in which one functional Black male character supplants or assumes the SPACE formerly consumed by a dysfunctional Black male character. In other words, I’m looking for a cultural production in which the dysfuntional Black male character is either non-existent or so peripheral as to not warrant a mention. In addition, any cultural production in which Black men appear as women would be discounted from my formulation. The long-standing tradition of Black men donning the clothes of women for comedic effect is not symptomatic of an effective or functional approach to addressing real-life dysfunction. Simply, what “works” (or generates laughs) on screen doesn’t work in the real world.
To be specific, then, these caveats would eliminate significant portions of the creative work by persons like Tyler Perry, Eddie Murphy, Alice Walker, Lorraine Hansberry, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith and many others. I do not believe, by any stretch, that it eliminates ALL of their work – but it should give us pause in considering our assessments of their “characters.”
Dysfunction may be defined as