When I was approached with the opportunity to interview actor, Brian White (Stomp The Yard, Fighting), I said, “sure.” He is starring along-side Michelle Williams in a new DVD entitled, “What My Husband Doesn’t Know.”
“Interesting title”, I thought.
It is about a woman who isn’t getting the attention she desires and needs from her husband who is a wealthy man invested more in his finances than his wife. Long story short, White’s sexy exterior is summoned to fix a leak in Williams’ home, but the leak turns out to be a metaphor for her broken marriage which he fixes with his pipe laying skills [wink,wink].
Given the fact that Brian’s co-star is a black woman and he is a black man with a black mother, I find the conversation we had was slightly accurate yet odd. White has had trouble with his words before (See here), but after our discussion on maintaining a healthy relationship and the essentials to a successful marriage, things went left and I concluded that he has something – maybe not “hate” – but something… a gripe perhaps, not only with black women, but the black race.
What is your insight on the Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry beef? Why do you think people hate Tyler Perry so much?
Because Tyler holds a mirror up to people. Stereotypes are not stereotypes today. The most popular character [in, Why Did I Get Married?], and it’s not the one that Tyler picked as the most popular, is Tasha! You have Janet Jackson and Jill Scott; my point is Jill Scott and Janet are huge music stars with huge fan bases, Tasha became the most popular because her character is portrayed the most like “Love & Hip Hop” the most like, “Desperate Housewives of Atlanta,” [we think he means "Housewives Of Atlanta] you might as well switch it around and pop in Nene [Leaks]. [Tasha Smith] is brilliant, she’s nothing like the character, she’s just portraying what she sees in society, magnified.[sic]
And people get mad and say that’s not us. Yes it is, turn on “Love & Hip Hop” and turn on “Desperate Housewives Of Atlanta” those are “reality shows.” You can’t call something reality then get mad when it shows up in the movies as reality but that’s what we’re doing. That’s where the cycle continues. They don’t do that in Africa, they don’t do that in France; they don’t connect with that message. What’s interesting is we, here, in America connect with that message and get upset at it. That’s what Tyler sees. If you look at Spike, what is his most successful movie ever? successful defined by how much money it made versus how much it cost to make. “Inside Man” and the stars were Clive Owens, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Denzel Washington and Jodi Foster… Four huge actors, two white, one known–Denzel and then another amazing British actor people don’t know here. That is not the type of film that Spike necessarily wants to focus on, right? So what makes money isn’t what Spike makes, so it’s upsetting and frustrating–I would assume. But, what Tyler makes, does make money…$500 million worth of money. [sic]
Do you think Tyler Perry only depicts black people in a negative light? There are a lot of black people who fit into the stereotype but there are a lot of black people who don’t.
You can’t call it a stereotype if it’s the majority. The most prevalent image in “urban society” right now is women like Nene [Leaks]. If there’s a fight that breaks out on “Love & Hip Hop” those people are one every blog, the cover of every magazine the next week. It’s not Taraji or Gabrielle, it’s whoever just got into a fist fight. Tyler’s not stereotyping, he’s holding up a mirror and people are mad at him because people don’t want to look at that image in that way.[sic]
When we use the term here in America, and say “black movies,” that has no reference for the rest of the world. Look at “Luther,” Idris just won a Golden Globe for “Luther,” that is NOT a black show, it’s a British show. British don’t see color they see quality. People who watch BBC don’t go, ‘oo’ there’s that black show, nah. Most African Americans were not even aware of Luther because it’s not a stereotypically urban themed show. Once we in America start focusing on quality first and telling human stories that connect with everybody that might want to watch it, the problems will solve themselves.[sic]
Do you believe that the stereotypes we see on TV are prevalent in the race or just portrayed on TV? Is it really the majority of black women that act like Nene?
I have five sisters and two moms, none of them are like that! To me, I can say I’m offended if they want to represent that and don’t want to represent my mom, but my mom represents Phylicia Rashād and has been represented on TV all my life. I can’t say that. I don’t watch “Real Housewives,” I’ve never seen an episode of “Love & Hop Hop” I’m not supporting it, I’m not giving it ratings. I’m not making the stereotype exist on TV. You’ve watched it, you’ve added to why it’s on TV.[sic]
If you look at Hip Hop, the rappers and their girlfriends, their reality shows look just like “Love & Hip Hop” and “Housewives,” some of them are even on those shows… so we’re taking the line between what’s real and what’s on TV and its all blurred but it looks exactly the same as what’s in Tyler’s movies. That’s not what I see when I go on Rowland Martins show or having this conversation with you, we are not the majority. Look at the statistics in education, only our community not all blacks African Americans we perform the worst along with Mexicans. The rest of the blacks in the world are like second and third. There’s no correlation with race, it’s our culture.
Will Smith never made anything that wasn’t for everybody. He played a homosexual man with an all-white cast of Oscar winners that branded him as quality, that’s why people follow him…no other reason.[sic]
Look at all British actors, they take all the roles. When we see David Oyelowo, from Red Tails, he stands on the stage and speaks in his normal voice, he looks like he just came out of Oxford and everybody else looks like they just came out the club. Nate Parker and Tristan are very educated…[continued in audio]
Is Brian spot on just a turn off?