A Negative Reaction to The Color Purple


Image from flix66.com

The more I research the topic of the different ways society reacts to different movies, the more I learn. Before this week I had only heard positive things about the movie “The Color Purple.” However, after doing some research I have started to rethink my opinion of the movie. According to A Review of Contemporary Media, “The Color Purple provoked constant controversy, debate, and appraisals of its effects on the image of Black people in this country.” So what exactly was it about the movie that caused so much commotion throughout different groups of individuals?

One argument against the movie was the fact that African American males felt they were wrongly portrayed throughout the movie. “Black males vehemently denounce both works and cite the film’s stereotypical representations.” This article goes on to add, “that Black people as a whole are depicted as perverse, sexually wanton, and irresponsible.” These are two major issues found in the movie and they are both issues that had a huge impact on the black community. In fact this film sparked a movement by organizations such as, the NAACP and black male columnist. These groups protested the movie, calling it “dangerous” and wrote many articles denouncing the movie.

Along with these protests other picketers joined in on the action. “The December premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE was picketed in Los Angeles by an activist group named the Coalition Against Black Exploitation. The group protested the savage and brutal depiction of Black men in the film.” However, while the black men were infuriated with the movie, black women were a little less critical. Black women seemed to have an issue with the distortion of class throughout the movie, but they felt the “sexual politics and sexual violence” in the Black community were matters that needed to be confronted and changed.”

One interesting fact brought up by Jill Nelson of “The Guardian” was that the film actually brought up very honest struggles of the black community. “Nearly 50% of all Black children are born to single mothers; 80% of Black mothers are single parents; nine and a half out of ten Black women that she knew received no support from their children’s father; and most had been physically and mentally abused.” The director and producer of the movie, Steven Spielberg, felt it was important to not hold anything back in this movie. Spielberg knew people would either love this movie or hate it, but he was willing to take that chance in order to give justice to the book written by Alice Walker.

With that being said, what does all of this information mean? Well, depending on what side of the fence you’re on will determine what you gain from this post and the movie. Everyone should definitely have an open mind when watching the movie. There are definitely some positive aspects to this movie. In fact, Alice Walker sold the rights to her story because she felt it was important for those who wouldn’t read the book but would see the movie to experience the contents of the story. Therefore, the movie must have had some valid points to make. The question is what did you gain from the movie? How did “The Color Purple” impact you?

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