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Celebrity apologies are meaningless

The fate of black women in popular culture is rarely nuanced. Black women are the help or the put-upon wife or the strong black single mother or the sassy friend/co-worker/stranger or the overly ambitious single woman. Like most representations of all women in popular culture, the black woman can be described with one short phrase. Depth is not necessary. This is a matter of supply and demand. In entertainment, as in life, audiences don’t seem terribly interested in people who deviate from stereotype, people who challenge what we think we know about one another.

When "Django Unchained" was released, I considered the movie the top of a very slippery slope, an illustration of how badly portrayals of black Americans can go awry in irresponsible hands. I have since wondered where that slope might end. Earlier this year, I thought the bottom of that slope might be Tyler Perry’s appalling morality tale "Temptation," the conclusion of which is an adulterous wife losing everything, being brutally beaten, infected with HIV, while her solid, faithful husband finds happily ever after with a beautiful new wife and son.

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