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Tyler Perry's New Film "Straw" Faces Backlash for Depicting Struggles of Single Black Mothers

by Venus Sanders

Earlier this week, Variety magazine tweeted, “Tyler Perry will write and direct Netflix’s upcoming movie, ‘Straw,’ a tense drama starring Taraji P. Henson, Sherri Shepherd, and Teyana Taylor. The film follows a single mother who faces a series of unfortunate events.”

Needless to say, Black Twitter did not take too well to this, as it marks yet another Tyler Perry film that depicts the struggle of a downtrodden single Black mother. Similar to titles such as “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” “Good Deeds,” “Meet the Browns,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” and so forth—the question then becomes, can Black women ever be happy, married, and successful in a Tyler Perry film, minus the bad attitude?

Fans expect that, as an African American filmmaker, the goal would be to showcase African American actors and actresses in films they are often excluded from starring in. Take Jordan Peele, for example, who reshaped the horror landscape for African American movie stars by not only having the lead in the critically acclaimed film “Get Out” be an African American actor—Daniel Kaluuya, who then went on to star in Marvel’s “Black Panther”—but also ensuring he survives until the end. Additionally, Peele’s film “Us,” which was an exemplary follow-up starring actors Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke (who has since gone on to star in the action-packed blockbuster “The Fall Guy” alongside Ryan Gosling), was also a smash hit and well-received by moviegoers.

The point is, African American directors are expected to change the narrative for African American stars in Hollywood, allowing them to showcase their ability to perform well in just about any role. This will translate to better roles, higher pay, and overall, more respect in the industry. However, it’s noticeable that Mr. Tyler Perry is against this, as his movies are usually not well-received by general audiences and follow the same formula that is meant to aid in the erosion of the Black woman’s image. Is he a friend or foe?

Many of us are still holding out hope that the director will eventually do right by the Black women who star in his films—from the wigs to the costumes and the stories they’re given—it’s about time that Tyler Perry either opens up the writing room or steps down altogether. His contributions to film probably won’t be missed. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some feel-good movies led by or featuring African American actresses, check out some of our selections below.

01. HERE TODAY, (2021)

When veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz meets New York street singer Emma Payge, they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.

02. THE FIRST LADY, (2022)

In the East Wing of the White House, many of history's most impactful and world-changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America's charismatic, complex and dynamic first ladies.


Two very different families converge on Martha's Vineyard one weekend for a wedding.

04. MY FAVORITE FIVE, (2015)

My Favorite Five is a romantic comedy with hilarious twists and turns. Hailey is a self-proclaimed serial dater who has no interest in marriage, kids, or a picket fence. However, she enjoys the company of men—five to be exact. She believes no one man can possess all five of her most coveted qualities.

Hailey works as a recovery specialist for a glorified corporate collection agency that specializes in the "million-dollar debtor." Hailey's methods are scandalous but get the job done. Soon, Hailey meets Christopher, her next mark, who has sworn off women and has no interest in her. As the five fall from the flock one by one, Hailey has to cross lines to get the one man who has it all.

05. CROOKLYN, (1994)

Spike Lee's vibrant semi-autobiographical portrait of a school teacher, her stubborn jazz musician husband and their five kids living in Brooklyn in 1973.

06. BELLE (2013)

The biracial daughter, Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), of Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) is raised by aristocratic Great-uncle Lord William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) in 18th century England.

Related articles: Movies Like 'Clueless'

07. LITTLE (2019)

A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.

08. GOTHIKA, (2003)

A psychiatrist awakens as a patient in a mental institution, with no memory of the murder she's accused of committing. As she tries to regain her memory, a vengeful spirit manipulates her.


Violet Jones tired of waiting for her longtime boyfriend to propose, breaks up with him. But old feelings, and heaps of jealousy, no doubt, arise when he promptly begins dating another woman.

10. WHAT MEN WANT, (2019)

A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men's thoughts.

11. ROMEO MUST DIE, (2000)

An avenging cop seeks out his brother's killer and falls for the daughter of a businessman who is involved in a money-deal with his father.


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