McNabb vs Hopkins. It’s time to end the “house vs. field” debate among African Americans.
Here we go again. Just two months after ESPN’s The Fab Five documentary sparked a controversy involving Jalen Rose and Grant Hill, we’ve suffered another instance of black athletes sorting our dirty laundry in public. This time it’s boxer Bernard Hopkins, who claims in a recent Philadelphia Daily News article that Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb isn’t black enough.
“He’s got a suntan. That’s all,” said the boxer during press day at his gym. Hopkins further implied that McNabb’s privileged upbringing set him up for a rude awakening when the Philadelphia Eagles traded him to the Washington Redskins last year. “Why do you think McNabb felt he was betrayed? Because McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field. He’s the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings. ‘You’re our boy,’ ” Hopkins said, patting a reporter on the back to illustrate his point. “He thought he was one of them.”
If you’re white, you probably are wondering who is Tyler Perry? If you’re black, you’re probably wondering why am I asking, and the answer is yes, I know who he is. This will set the tone for this article. Tyler Perry has become a household name in the African-American community in general, and the church-going African-American community in particular. If you’re wondering what does this article have to do with politics – everything! When you’re dealing with a medium (Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise) you’re dealing with; social issues, class,race and politics.
Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise has made him one of the highest paid movie directors in Hollywood (ranked by Forbes as the sixth highest-paid man in Hollywood). However, it’s come at a cost. There are some in the black community, including Spike Lee, who see his work as “coonery” and “buffoonery,” Something of a modern day minstrel show. There is a reoccurring theme in Tyler Perry’s work. It’s message targets the African-American community, has strong ties to the African-American church and family. Tyler Perry has hired blacks in his office, in front of the camera and behind the camera. While he is enjoying enormous commercial success; he has his critics, who feel that this depiction of black pathology only serves to fuel negative imagery and stereotypes of black life.