Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Words For Warfare

“I don't trust white critics' judgment about most things that deal with black life, particularly when a black person is the creator.” - Terry McMillan

8 comments:

Don August 5, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

McMillan does have a point.

BLKSeaGoat August 5, 2008 at 12:47 PM  

Gawd I love this woman!!!! And I like the quote.

There's a book analyzing European though history and culture from a Black African Perspective called :Yurugu. It was written by Dona Richards who also goes by the name of Marimba Ani, Ph.D.

She was student of the late Dr, John Henrik Clarke.

Have you read it, professor?

wisdomteachesme August 5, 2008 at 3:44 PM  

yeah, even though i don't care for her writing, and oter things....i agree wih don, she has a point with that comment.

i found this out when i was exhibiting my artwork. they always wanted to compare me with picasso. who i love by the way. at that time of my creating art i was driven to learn about the techniques and lines and colos of african art.

i got inspiration from one of the same places that he did--african art -i went to where he studied from and studied that.

silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!
hahaaaaa

Miss Issues August 6, 2008 at 9:45 AM  

As a reader and writer of black literature, I don't agree with this statement at all. It comes off kind of like a Tyler Perry answer to why he doesn't let critics review his movies before opening day. Funny how we as artists slam critics when they give us bad reviews, but put them on our book jackets when we get good reviews.

Some of the best books I have read by black authors were referred to me by white critics and professors.
Though I am a fan of Mcmillan's work, she like a lot of other contemporary black authors want all the praise but none of the criticism. My grad school fiction writing professor who is black is a very harsh critic of Mcmillan and her counterparts.
If Miss McMillan check her facts she would realize great writers such as Martha Southgate, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker were praise by the white critics and bashed by black critics.
A lot of white authors are criticized by white critics, so they shouldn't trust them either.
Perhaps McMillian should take the advice giving to all writers. "You're not a hundred dollar bill, everybody isn't going to like you."

Professor Tracey August 6, 2008 at 11:00 AM  

@Miss Issues,

I think you raise a valuable and valid point, but in fairness to Terri and Tyler Perry, I think part of the mindset is that they have been critiqued with comments like "there are no black people like that" by white critics who don't know what they are talking about.

I remember reading critiques of Waiting To Exhale that said that black upper middle class neighborhoods like the one she describes in the book, don't exist! WTH?! And that professional black women didn't exist! WTF?! So, I think part of her point is directed at comments like that.

You are absolutely right about the fact that black folks need to accept criticism, good and bad. It happens to me on the blog all the time. LOL! I can laugh about it today!

Miss Issues August 6, 2008 at 11:40 AM  

Professor Tracey, as someone who loves to read as much as I love to write, it pains me to see the state of black literature. Criticism is hard to take, but it also can help you grow. Sometimes you just have to hold the mirror up to your face and say, 'yeah they may be telling something I didn't know about me.'

Now I do agree with Ms. McMillan's assertion that the publishing industry is basically destroying black literature. But we as a community much to blame for this as the predominantly white publishing industry. We keep accepting mediocrity as trying to past it off as 'keeping it real' and 'what sells' while robbing our children of the strength of using their imagination.
It is just not happening in black literature, but black music, TV and film. I hate to say it, but a lot of times I agree with the critics. None of our black artists are being allowed to grow artistically and we are stifling their growth, because we are so caught up in getting our name out their. But we have to realize if you do the best work you possibly can, sooner or later someone will recognize.

Professor Tracey August 6, 2008 at 1:34 PM  

Miss Issues -

Maybe you and I need to collaborate on a post about this subject. My sister and I were ran out of a bookstore after seeing a book in the black literature section entitled - How To Make A Dollar Out Of A Dime And Nickel - Part II! It's tagline was "More Money and More Muda!" I could not believe it!!!!!

HBCU bookstores are filled with Zane and other crap black fiction like it. I'm not against reading lightweight trash, but it should not be the only thing you read and that is what too many black folks are doing in my opinion.

Hit me up by e-mail and maybe we can come up with something.

Miss Issues August 6, 2008 at 3:35 PM  

Professor Tracey,

No problem. I'll email you today. I know exactly what you're talking about. While reading Essence I glanced over at the book club selections and bestselling list. I'm almost lost my mind. The titles are crazy. Thug Lovin, Dear G Spot and Hood Chic. One day I was looking for a book on Amazon.com and I actually saw one titled Homo Thug, no lie!LOL

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