With the anticipation of the movie Precious coming out, I forced myself to read the novel Push on which the movie is based. A friend/soror of mine, Talika, mentioned to me on several occasions that the book was really good and so I took a leap of faith, because truthfully I usually don't read novels like that, and read the book. I enjoyed it. It was a hard read because of the subject matter that it deals with - sexual abuse, incest, physical, emotional and mental abuse, poverty, illiteracy, etc. Although it is fiction and at times exaggerated, the stories told in the book are someone else's reality. After reading the book, I felt prepared to see the movie.
On 11/15/09, I went to the movies with a friend/soror, Alison Brock, and she too had read the book and we both went into the theatre with a mentality of seriousness based on the central theme of the book. What occurred in the movie theatre with the other patrons truly, truly disturbed both of us. From the beginning to the end of the movie, there was consistent laughter as if we were watching a comedy.
At first I was annoyed by how many people had not read the book and were shocked at the scenes and language. Now, I don't read every book that is made into a movie, so I'm not knocking people who don't either, but did you not read a preview, scan an article review, something to let you know what the movie was about? Secondly, several people thought that it was wise to bring children into the movie theatre. Lastly, the constant snickering, laughing out loud, and jokes about the physical and sexual abuse of the movie, deeply disturbed and saddened me. I do recall a few (literally meaning 3) light moments in the movie, in the classroom with the other students, so I had to do an assessment to make sure that I wasn't tripping.
There was laughter when Monique's character ran up the stairs to beat her child, and when the character was sexually pleasuring herself and then called her child to come in the room to finish her off. There was laughter & excitement when 2 children begin to fight. There was laughter when at the end Monique explained why she let the sexual abuse proceed and her thought on her child stealing her man. All of these scenes were extremely dark and disturbing to me. And these were grown people laughing.
And so it led me to believe a few things about the black community and our problems:
1. We need to seek MENTAL help for our issues and our constant silence on things that affect our lives, and that are destroying our people and our communities. It is okay to admit you have a problem and to seek professional help for that problem.
2. We need to understand that although prevalent in our community, sexual abuse, incest, physical violence - these things are not humorous or to be taken lightly. My God, where is our sense of decency and decorum. Why are we not disturbed by violence anymore? Since when did it become funny? While Precious was a movie, the young woman who was gang raped last month while 20 people stood around watching, was Reality. The mother who just got arrested this week because she sold her 5 year old into prostitution, is Reality. WAKE UP people.
3. It is our lack of apathy and our refusal to discuss these issues that allows the immaturity on the seriousness of these issues to remain constant in our communities. Have we become so de-sensitized to violence and sexual abuse that now we find laughter because we are so uncomfortable with dealing with it?
These are just my 2 cents because I was truly disturbed by what I witnessed and heard. Hopefully, the same people laughing will garner the confidence to address the demons inside of them that allows them to think this movie and the subject matter was funny. Hopefully, it will inspire them to mentor a young person who needs help. I heard the star of the movie, Gabrielle Sibdeau, say this morning on an interview that she hopes this movie will serve as a psychological tool in our communities to help others discuss these issues and to start dealing with them.
Or maybe the audience I was watching it with, will just hope it wins an MTV Moon Man Award for best comedy.