Is It Ever “Just Entertainment”?

For Harriet, a society and culture site whose provocative perspectives I enjoy pondering, posted this article discussing the character Mary Jane Paul played by Gabrielle Union in her hit show Being Mary Jane currently airing weekly on BET. The premise of the article was an examination of the polarizing opinions of the character, asking if whether or not the criticism of Mary Jane was based on Black women’s shame and disgust at seeing their own flaws and issues splayed on screen week after week. Through a conversation on Facebook, asking the same question, many folks, both men and women, weighed in. The responses were a mix of thoughtful, funny, plaintive and at times dismissive but there was one refrain heard ever so often in the feed that just got me thinking. It was the idea that the very nature of such a conversation was taking things too seriously. “It’s just a show,” they said. “It’s just entertainment,” they interjected when the comments became too self reflective. “Is it really that serious?” they mocked. So. Are they right? Do the reflections we see of our likeness depicted in fictional television characters communicate anything about ourselves? Can we objectively view television shows and walk away simply entertained? Is it ever just entertainment? Leave a comment below, tweet, or hit us up on Facebook with your thoughts @thebeautifulprj!



Photo Credit

We can’t get enough of Ava DuVernay.  She is the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance Film Festival, for her second feature, Middle of Nowhere, in 2012.  Her perspective is fresh, insightful and more reflective of Black women than most of what we see in film and television today.  We marvel at the way she uses music and motion to communicate a vast array of emotions in her shorts.  There are few directors, if any, who know how to lace a film with music and use its lyrics to tell a beautifully staged narrative.  The Door, featured above, is an exceptional example of this.  If you haven’t already, check out more of her work!

Have you ever experienced the genius of Ms. DuVernay?  What do you consider to be her standout quality as a writer or director?


Video Credit:  YouTube