Friday, May 10, 2013

Oprah and Fatherless Sons, Peeples, Shrinking Financial Aid Packages

I randomly caught Oprah's Life Class special on Fatherless Sons last Sunday and it stayed on my mind for the next three days.  The impact that not having a father present during thier youth had on grown men with their own kids had me riveted to the screen.  I felt for the dudes who admitted that they had trouble loving and getting close to others because of the trust issues they developed after being abandoned by their fathers.  I was eating up everything Oprah and life coach Iyanla Vanzant had to say until one of the audience members was overcome with emotion as he told his story and received a hug from Roland Warren of the National Fatherhood Initiative.  I was moved to post this tweet in the immediate aftermath:
I took issue with Iyanla calling this emotional moment between two men "male mothering" because it plants the seed that to be nurturing and affectionate is inextricably tied to being feminine.  If this is the message that I pass on to my sons, than I am setting them up to struggle in relationships throughout their life.  One of the benefits of a two parent household is that a child can see that men and women are capable of the full range of emotions.  That is what makes us human.  It is not solely one parent's job to be the "hammer" while the other is the "comforter".  When a child grows up understanding that it is okay to experience and express the full emotional spectrum, they are much better equipped to deal with life's ups and downs.  I wish there would've been somebody on the panel to push Iyanla and Oprah in that moment because it was a key "teachable moment.
On Another Note:
Black people get another opportunity this weekend to demonstrate whether or not they will support films featuring predominantly black casts in a way that will make Hollywood studios take notice.  Peeples starring Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier, debuts today and was written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism.  The film was produced by Tyler Perry's 34th St. Films (shout out Amber Rasberry), which exists to produce projects not written by TP.  There is always chatter particularly where Tyler Perry is involved that the spectrum of stories that gets told featuring actors of color needs to broaden, that Perry's films appeal to the "lowest common denominator".  Here we have something different.  Gordon Chism has a history of making box office winners with ATL (2006) and Drumline (2002) on her resume.   Both opened in the top three their opening weekend.  Between that credibility, Perry's following, and starring one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood in Washington, that should be a recipe for a hit, but we shall see.  I hope that it is not a scenario where Perry putting his name on the project actually works against him.  I'd prefer to see TP's involvement work out like it did for Precious ($11M first weekend of wide release).  Peeples is opening in three times as many theatres as Precious so that should not be a problem.  I'm putting my money where my mouth is and will have my gummi bears and soda next to me for a 1p showing.  Gotta support my Peeples.
Final Note
I wrote recently about the increasing privatization of public schooling and how it makes it so those without means have no viable vehicle out of poverty to better themselves.  That argument was further reinforced for me this week as I read that a study conducted by the New America Foundation concluded that low income students are getting less merit-based finanical aid than students from wealthier families. The study noted that in an effort to keep their US News & World Report rankings up colleges will offer multiple small aid packages to families who can afford more of the tuition versus one big aid package to the family who can afford less.  The rules of the game keep changing and it's a sad state of affairs.  Looks like Team Carroll needs to start doubling down on our college fund investments.  Full article

Happy Mother's Day to all.