BB2: Monthly Assessment (March)

This year, I started taking a monthly assessment of myself in my journal. It is what it sounds like: at the end of each month, I take a look at things about myself, how I’m improving, and how much more I have to go. It’s my 3rd one now, and it really is helping me to think more and more about gaining a stronger self-awareness in order to move through life improving on a daily basis. The best way to go through life is to seek to learn more, improve, and strive for higher and higher goals.

A LOT happened this month to write about, but I’d like to share just a portion with you (in list form):

  • Midterms– I poured my heart & soul into passing my midterms like never before, and aced them both. The feeling of accomplishment actually came not after I got the ‘A’ back, but right before I took the test and had prepared myself so well for each one that I was nothing but ready for them. Being a generally bad test-taker, feeling this sense of accomplishment that soon was an accomplishment in itself for me.
  • Choir – The Chorale went on tour mid-month for recruitment, concluding with a Sunday evening concert. This entire weekend, while not perfect, was originally a small but secret dread of mine…well, introverted me, not musical me. Having to spend so much time around everyone for 4 straight days sounded way more exhausting than the huge amount of music we were expected to sing. (Not that I hate people. See 5 Introverted Facts.) However, our music being so fantastic + feeling of performing has been slowly motivating me more and more to enjoy being there and being a part of something great – where my motivation as a singer should be. Once in a while I get a chance to…I guess, ‘feel important’ (with a few specific tasks) and part of me feels fulfilled just having given myself a brief moment to show that I can be normal. I’m just withheld by fear of putting myself out there typically thanks to a rocky/displaced self-disposition I’m working to conquer. I think this past year has been the MOST I’ve ever been so self-conscious of this. This is something I need to work on more, and it starts by finding ways to eliminate that fear. On the other hand, I’m finding myself opening up little by little in Men’s Chorus. Somewhere between the camaraderie of this atmosphere, being in front of them to rehearse a piece, having chatted with some of these guys at times and so on, I find myself getting comfortable in there just a little more, and differently. I’m still more on the introverted side there and feel like I probably come off as nervous half the time I’m in front of them, but the feeling of wanting to belong somewhere with this school feels a tad more natural with this group. Not 100% sure why yet.

  • Church– I work for a small church choir of very nice, warm people whom I think highly of. Lately, I’ve been finding myself quietly wanting to get further involved with this church, or the people there, or using it to boost my spiritual life, or…something. The sermons have been really speaking some important things to me that I knew I’ve been missing for some time now. I grew up in the church, but I hadn’t been to one on a weekly basis before working for them since I started college, due only to not feeling fulfilled spiritually anywhere since. This church is nothing like the church I grew up in, but I can honestly say that they’ve has been giving me the right amount of a spiritual boost and things to think on in a way that I deeply needed. Getting more and more involved with the choir/music is also helping me to feel like I have more of an identity/belonging there. I guess that’s what I’m feeling with this church in general – a growing want of a belonging with them.

  • Dreams – I’ve had some dreams lately about various life circumstances – the kind that put you in the situation that’s on your mind. These dreams are leading me to think that God is trying to tell me something through my dreams. I think it’s my job right now to just keep my eyes and ears open to whatever that may be, because chances are He’s trying to teach me something about myself.

So to sum it all up, it sounds like I need to pay attention to:

  1. My dreams

  2. Introversion

  3. Belonging (where, with what groups and why)”

So that’s my monthly self-assessment (abridged). What are some things you’re thinking of in terms of bettering yourself? Feel free to share if you wish.

-BB2

We all have a path to choose. What's surrounding yours?

We all have a path to choose. What’s surrounding yours?

Music Monday: Bobby McFerrin

Hi all, and welcome to my 3rd segment of Music Monday! In this segment, I’ll post a song I enjoy and ask you some of your favorites.*

*No one’s shared with me yet, so either you all hate music or no one’s reading these. Either way, my self-esteem is saddened.

ANYWAY! For this installment of Music Monday, here’s some music I was inspired by this weekend.

On Saturday, I went with a good friend to a Bobby McFerrin’s live concert, and it was my first time seeing this man perform live. To anyone unfamiliar, Bobby McFerrin is a well-known, acclaimed and accomplished vocalist, known especially for using his wide vocal range to perform a capella layers of songs from many genres, but most often within the realms of improvisation. Much of the concert I attended was improvised – him harmonizing with the musicians on stage to many cultural pieces from around the globe seemed to be the theme (Africa, Spain, etc.), and it was tremendous. He was precise but loose; specific but free; took what he did seriously but had so much fun with the musicians and the audience that it was impossible not to enjoy the intense quality of what he was using his voice to do.

He’s been at this since around the ’80s I believe, and was often writing/arranging songs for himself to sing in various parts. Some of you may recognize one of the earlier Cosby Show theme songs in which he sung all parts in a doo-wop style, from bass to soprano. He’s had multiple influences musically to draw from in his training, from classical to jazz, European to Gospel, etc. There’s so much to say about this incredible musicians, but really, just listen to him and let the music speak for itself. He’s truly one of the best examples out there of the limitless possibilities the voice can use to make all kinds of wonderful music.

I also recommend YouTube-ing Good Lovin’Opportunityand Spain by him.

So what are some of your favorite songs/artist right now? Feel free to share! Music has too much of an impact on us for us to keep it to ourselves; hence why I started Music Monday. So jump in, friends! 🙂

Have a great week, and sing on my brethren!

-BB2

Diary of a Mad Black Woman: The First TP Movie

diary of a mad black woman

Tyler Perry’s: Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

SUMMARY

This was Tyler’s first feature-length film after having started a successful career with his stage plays. The plot involves a woman named Helen who worries she is losing her husband, Charles, of nearly 20 years, judging from his very distant behavior and angry behavior towards her. After going through many arguments, self-doubts and trying to gage the signs, he reveals to her that their marriage is over, and he is leaving Helen for the bottom ho he started a family with. Later, as she is dealing with the hurt, Charles is in an accident which paralyzes him. He ends up back in Helen’s care once his mistress refuses to take care of him, and Helen decides to treat him how he treated her, and all the while she has started seeing a new man who treats her very well. The twist ending is that Charles begins to heal not only physically, but personally, and apologizes to Helen for all the hurt and pain he inflicted upon her. She now is faced with the decision of trusting him again and returning to their marriage, or leaving him permanently to pursue a new life with a new man who has been showing her the love she deserves.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Adaptation from Stage to Film: This is, of course, one of the biggest things to consider is how the stage play’s original creation adapts to the silver screen. And boy, does it get an upgrade! I’ll cover that as we go along more specifically, but the best is:

  2. Comparison of Characters from Stage to Movie: In the stage play, we spend all of Act One getting to know Helen & Charles, their problems, the fake friend who turns out to be the mistress, and of course, Daddy Charles (played by Tyler). The story is pretty good, and the actress playing Helen carried the show rather well. The Charles actor is ridiculously over-the-top and fun to poke fun at with his loud, stoically angry lines & inability to make his singing voice fit the music/story. Daddy Charles is seemingly more tolerable version of Uncle Joe – I say more tolerable, because Daddy Charles, while mainly cracking a ton of jokes at the plot’s expense, does serve at least some purpose: he is Charles’ father, but still empathizes with Helen and doesn’t like his son treating her this way. He even offers a couple wise lines to them both at different times. (When has Uncle Joe ever stopped being high long enough to do this? That’s what I thought.) We then spend Act 2 replacing Daddy Charles with Madea, and get to know Helen’s new boyfriend. In the movie, they are expanded upon so well! Charles in the movie is no longer a goofy shouter – he’s intimidating just with a look; he has depth & actual development throughout the movie; he much more maniacal – and it’s great. Steve Harris really gives this character new light in his portrayal.

  3. Chemistry – It was pretty good from what I could tell. Being TP’s first film, you can tell that so many people involved poured themselves into making this as successful as possible, and I can tell that from watching the actors on screen. The leads are giving it their all at the right moments, especially in their interactions with each other.

  4. Kimberly Elise – She sells it here like she’s sold so many other roles. She has just right amount of edge in this drama that the stage play Helen couldn’t have, but Elise is able to have due both in part to having more space on the silver screen and how great of an actress she is. When she’s finally happy, you care enough by this point to where you’re happy with her. When she’s down, you feel for her. I’m not an adult woman with a struggling 20-year marriage, but I can imagine if I was, Elise would really portray an image that I could relate to, and therefore find refuge in her role her throughout the telling of this story.
    diary kimberly elise

  5. Story/Alternate Ending: I appreciate the various different directions and the different ending TP used here, because whether or not you know the original stage play, it’s obvious that TP used a lot of time, care and focus into telling this story in a relatable was, and how it would be told. I won’t completely disagree with others’ opinions on how it might have been better or didn’t make sense to them, but I can tell that a lot of work going into this thing did what it was supposed to do, and it is stronger than the stage play solely in terms of the storytelling aspect. (and other things, but this is the best.) The stage play ends with Helen & Charles getting back together after he learns his lesson & apologizes. The movie ends with her accepting this but leaving him for good to be with Shemar Moore. I’m sure in many different situations with different circumstances and emotions, either could be possible. This one works here because of how secure everyone is in their emotions by this point in the movie after such a long roller coaster of emotions. It wouldn’t have made too much sense for Helen to return to Charles, even if they did work on rectifying their marriage. Shemar Moore had been pouring into Helen’s soul everything she needed for a significant amount of time, and Helen’s final role with Charles was to help him not only heal physically, but to guide him to the truth – because this would help her be guided to the truth as well, and therefore forgive him for the right reasons (her own self-comfort so she could move on). Deep stuff.

  6. The Villain – Okay, he’s not really a villain, but he’s the nasty guy who shoots Charles after he fails to win the case representing him. He’s only in a couple scenes, but every time you see this actor, he’s just a straight up evil man, and I think he’s AWESOME at what he does. To really see more of him, check out Daddy’s Little Girls. (Gary Anthony Sturgis)

  7. Soundtrack – This also had some good effort put into it. A few of these songs still stick with me today, and I think they’re all done well musically for the most part. it is pretty obvious, though, that when Brian’s wife comes to church singing that it’s another person’s voice (Cheryl ‘Pepsi’ Riley).

  8. Cicely Tyson – How can I not talk about the presence of this legendary actress? What a joy it is to see her here, and the new direction on her character adds so much more to her character than just “the advice-giver.” Another example of TP pulling out the big guns to get positive attention for his movies, and this is one of the best examples.
    diary cicely tyson

  9. TP as Brian – TP played Madea, Uncle Joe, and a character named Brian in this movie. Brian is Helen’s lawyer, but also has his own story going about his crack-addicted wife that he can’t help, but still loves while he tries to raise his kids. I don’t like everything about this subplot, but I did like him playing Brian the most out of these 3 characters of his. It’s great that he’s agile enough to do 3 people, but playing Brian, he couldn’t hide behind a costume & a funny voice, and was instead forcing himself to be very vulnerable as an actor doing a straight man with some heavy issues. This is definitely where his best acting went in the movie.

  10. Judge Mablean – So cool to see her involved here as well! See has a cameo (lasting for 2 movies following) in which she places Madea on house arrest. It only gets cooler in the following films.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  1. Uncle Joe – I know, I know, I always hate on this guy. But comedic relief needs to have a point or something relevant in addition to being funny. Some people find Joe funny and I don’t. But that’s not the point – he offers nothing here other than some dumb one-liners, and if his point is to be a funny side-character…well, we don’t need that, because Madea is funny all on her own. She can be the only funny character in this drama-filled movie, and it would be fine because she can handle her own.

  2. Brian Subplot – I like most things about it, but I don’t know…I personally never completely bought that letting the daughter would remind him of how his wife used to sing, and since the wife turned to crack, the daughter would of course follow suit. It’s an excuse of course, but it sounded like the movie’s excuse for him to have a problem. It could have been something else. But whatever.

  3. Shooting in TP’s House – TP quickly learned why this was a bad idea. Madea chainsaws a sofa and makes a huge mess. I just thought it made things look a little sloppy, even though it was funny. Maybe if Madea had torn up some stuff in a public place or outside like in Madea Goes to Jail, the damage wouldn’t have been as bad.

  4. Shemar Moore’s Proposal: The guy did a fine job in this movie, and what I’m about to say is more of a guy thing about the writing, not his acting. I liked the meaning and thoughts behind his proposal for Helen’s sake. I just thought some of the stuff he said in there was beyond cheesy. I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I wouldn’t throw in the desire/volunteer to buy feminine products for my woman during the proposal. A side conversation later or if I was asked would be different but…whatever, I just made someone somewhere weird by even bringing this up. Forget I said anything.

  5. Shemar Moore’s Braids Wig – Again, this is not his fault – his wig just sucks. He looks like he got out of prison the whole movie. Bring on the haterade.
    diary shemar moore

CONCLUSION

I enjoy this movie for what it set out to do, and what it accomplished in return. I don’t think it as much acclaim as it deserves, but I do acknowledge a few things that weren’t as perfect as they probably could have been. And I didn’t even talk about everything going on! I’d say this was a great film to start TP’s film career on, no matter what happened after that. Definitely give this one a watch.

BLACKOMETER: 7.5/10

(Someday I’ll talk about the stage play and talk about how aloof it was. Good laughs in there. But not for the right reasons. Lol.)

Let me know what you think!

-BB2

Madea’s Class Reunion: A MUCH Better TP Play

This totally makes up for...that other play.

This totally makes up for…that other play.

Madea’s Class Reunion (2003)

Yesterday, I reviewed Madea’s Annoying Family Reunion, the stage play I can’t stand. To balance that disappointment, I popped in the play that followed, Madea’s Class Reunion. For everything I hate about the Family Reunion, there’s something I love about the Class Reunion.

SUMMARY

Brown & Madea’s class  of ‘53 reunion is to be held at the same hotel Cora works at, and while there, a few different patrons come in with plenty of baggage…and I’m not talking about luggage! One woman is a mother caught up in a life of drugs and prostitution with her husband, while another woman is unaware that her husband is cheating on her with the mean hotel manager. In another room is a woman trying to desperately to win her husband’s trust back after cheating on him. Somehow, they must all learn about how to wait for the right love, forgive, and rely on God to get through their struggles.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Actors – Generally so much better all around than the Family Reunion. Tamela Mann is starting to get more comfortable as an actress by this point in her Tyler Perry career. Tyler’s jokes as both Willie and Madea don’t distract too much from the rest of the action like in FR (Madea is much more relevant, funny, helpful and heartwarming here). There is better chemistry on stage, which makes the actors look like they’re having fun, which makes me have fun. Everyone who sings sings well, and not only makes their songs more memorable, but they can also act pretty well – in other words, they’re not only here because they can sing. Even the guy who was hired for his muscles had actual lines, an actual character, and was serviceable enough for it. Overall, I really feel like everyone cared so much more about making this one a success.

  2. Mr. Brown – As per usual (back in the good ol’ days anyway), he is always funny. The first thing he does is pay his hotel fee in a plastic bag of coins, wearing a self-made off-center shirt that says ‘Clas of 1953’ (that’s not a typo). Later he sports a bright rainbow-striped swimsuit, which was a surprise to the cast on stage during the taping of this particular show. This guy’s comedic timing is just great.class reunion mr brown

  3. Chandra Currelley – This is the first TP production she was in, and she’s been in many ever since (even sang in a couple movies). MAN is she great. She’s a strong matriarch, holding it together even for her daughter and grandkids in the toughest times, holds steadfast to her faith, and is a strong woman altogether. The singing is phenomenal – this is the first time we’re introduced to what became known as the “Chandra Shake”, aka the shake she does with her arm when she gets really into praising God. Her spirit in her solo performances is just so contagious every time, there’s nothing like it.

    Cheryl 'Pepsi' Riley & Chandra Currelly-Young: two of the most talented actresses TP ever hired.

    Cheryl ‘Pepsi’ Riley & Chandra Currelly-Young: two of the most talented actresses TP ever hired.

  4. Cheryl ‘Pepsi’ Riley – Also a first timer who was frequently used by TP after this. Ah I love this lady! She’s fantastic! Stellar voice, strong actress – she really pulls you into being a relatable character, and then sells it hard with the drama & tough struggles she goes through. You can feel every essence of her pain in every note she sings, followed usually by the hope she gives herself. It’s so natural & intrinsic, and you can feel more than the character – you feel Pepsi’s natural spirit coming through on this uplifting material.

  5. Terrell Carter – This is also the first time we see this actor in TP productions, and he frequented a few more later (including the Diary movie). He’s got this big, booming speaking voice, and a solid baritenor voice that just sells.

  6. Jokes – Thankfully, the jokes in this show are way better, and still hold up 11 years later. The Willie jokes do digress quite a bit at times, but it’s played for laughs well enough (and fun enough) so that you don’t mind – actually you’re enjoying it. Yes, even the 5-minute ‘people in my head’ bit Willie gives when he’s fired. I still think that whole comedy diversion is funny. Several parts of Madea’s lunch with Cora & Stephanie are classic, from ‘oinking’ Diana’s big feet in her shoes to turning the table over after waiting too long for her food.

  7. Music – Thank God the music is more memorable. Tamela Mann got better solos, all of the women who sing do it so well, and even Madea revisiting old school R&B hits with Cora & Stephanie was so much fun.

  8. Messages – The messages on the importance of forgiveness, relying on God, and finding the right kind of love no matter what are must better portrayed here than…well, that other play.

  9. Nostalgia – Does this play hold up? YES. Thank God, it still holds up 11 years later. The jokes are mostly still funny, I didn’t find that many goofy things about it that I couldn’t see as a kid, and it’s as fun as it is heartwarming with the messages and characters.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER

  1. Diana’s Subplot – The story itself and the actors were fine. The transitions in the dialogue that gave us exposition about what was going on with them just wasn’t always the cleanest. The segues weren’t very good. Also, I wish she would have come down a little harder on the manager when when she caught up with her the second time after learning she was her husband’s bottom ho, instead of just singing a nice aria at her about how much of a loser she was.

  2. Willie…the doctor? – First of all, he’s labeled as “Dr. Willie Leroy Jones.” It’s never made clear why it’s Doctor, and I’m curious. But that’s a nitpick.

  3. Barney is Slow” – Willie tries to pull a woman (Diana) upstairs to catch her husband cheating on her with the hotel manager. She manager leaves the same door that Diana & Willie enter 2 seconds later. Had this been staged better, I wouldn’t have to question as to why they didn’t see each other.

CONCLUSION

I enjoy this play a lot, and I think it was right around when the TP plays started getting really good for a while. It’s funny to think that while so many black movies in the mid-2000s were bombing, TP’s material was starting to get pretty good – which is probably a part of what helped his fan base grow among other deserved things. I’d definitely say pop this one in for a couple hours of genuine laughter, lessons and heart.

BLACKOMETER: 8.5/10

Let me know what you think!

-BB2

Schools Need Better Sound Systems!

Turn the mics up!!! I can't hear my kid singing in the rain! ...what's that...she's out of tune anyway?...Yeah well, your kid's just an usher. So psh."

“Turn the mics up!!! I can’t hear my kid singing in the rain! …what’s that…she’s out of tune anyway?…Yeah well, your kid’s just an usher. So psh.”

A small rant/concern:

How many HS plays have you attended where no matter how well the kids on stage are doing, there’s still a mic shorting out, or you can’t hear the non-mic’d chorus, or one kid’s mic is way to brash and hurts your ears like bathing in sandpaper?

As wonderful, educational and useful as the arts are to secondary education, one of the biggest bummers is the lack of a useful SOUND SYSTEM. This helps especially schools trying to do musicals/stage plays, as well as music programs & dance programs. I think we should get a legislature passed for all American high schools trying to perform legitimate theatre productions to be given a better budget for QUALITY sound equipment that will enhance their experiences.

No more should directors cringe while watching their students perform Be Our Guest because the sound board isn’t equipped to pick up 6 people while Lumiere’s mic is broken the night of the dress rehearsal, on top of Belle still not knowing the ball-change dance move, on top having forgotten to put that really important sponsor in the program.

Anyway. If you are a school trying to do a legit production for the betterment of student education and giving them something so positive & powerful to experience, you should be rewarded, not punished. Better School Sound Systems for Americans Schools 2014.

I nominate myself as president of organizing the petition of this law.

Madea’s Family Reunion: the Worst of the TP Plays

Madea's family reunion

Madea’s Family Reunion – The Play (2002)

In 2006, Tyler Perry released a well-done movie about a woman torn over living the good life given to her by her prosperous but abusive fiance & her crafty, plotting mother. She struggles to get out of this loveless life she feels trapped in, while her sister is treated by her mother as a lowlife, and she must learn to let go of this hate in order to love.

…This is not that version.

This is the stage play; also the first TP production I ever saw. (On bootleg, of course.)

Does it still hold up?

…NO. IT DOESN’T. AT ALL.

Let’s get this overwith.

SUMMARY

Madea’s family is gathering around Madea’s for the weekend to hold both a funeral and a wedding at the same time. Of course, nearly every family member along the way has their own issues to be dealt with as well. Cora’s daughters are completely polar – Tina is a drug addict who never takes care of her ugly baby, while Lisa is proudly about to be married, but in a secretly abusive relationship. Meanwhile, an old friend still has strong feelings for her. Kevin and Jackie are struggling to keep things faithfully together while he gets his life together after prison, still with no job. Jackie is running around getting on everyone’s nerves & takes up residence in their business. And of course, Mr. Brown’s dog won’t stop barking. Madea can only take so much…and so can I.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Mr. Brown – He is one of the only things I enjoy about this show. I think he’s funnier in the other plays & movies, but with so much other garbage going on in this show, his humor saves the day for me. Especially the exchanges he has with Madea.

  2. Cora & Mattie Brown’s Singing: I put them together because they’re the best singers in the show. However, since 90% of the music in this show is easily forgettable, and Mattie’s character is reduced to an insulting show, I don’t really think putting them at two separate points would say anything different from the other.

  3. The Church Song Medley – The only memorable song in the show. Most of the plays usually have one medley, the earliest plays using old church songs. One good thing about this show is that the people involved can sing pretty well.

  4. The Messages: Everything Tyler was trying to help the audience learn is, in themselves, great. Better done in other productions of his, though. But it’s heart is in the right place, I suppose.

*Cracks Knuckles*

WHAT’S ANNOYING

  1. Madea – I love Madea, so I really hate to say this, but I couldn’t stand Madea in many parts of this show. Anything that anyone would ever dislike about this character (which I would normally defend) is in this play. Jokes go on too much/too long, she spends ¼ of the play high, and she’s not nearly heartwarming as often as she usually is at the right time (when people are getting serious about solving their issues). Look, I know the people many will have in their families who are similar to Madea will relate to a lot of the personality traits & shenanigans. But in a show, there has to be a good balance of this with things that are relevant to the story in order to help overall message. You can’t make everything a raunchy to be funny in a message show. I mean, did TP really have to flash Madea’s “naked” chest in the door at the beginning?

  2. Jokes – Way…waaaay too many of the jokes don’t work. You can tell by how often the audience doesn’t laugh in the first 10 minutes (or laugh as hard) that some of these lines and/or improv shouldn’t have been attempted. There’s plenty of moments in most of his stage plays where the main plot isn’t important for the characters to talk about yet, and they’re just getting to know them – sometimes this is okay. Sometimes it’s a little imbalanced. In this show, they digress a LOT. The saddest thing is, except for a couple Mr. Brown lines, none of the jokes hold up 12 years later, which robs me of getting any enjoyable nostalgia.

  3. Characters – Good lord, they are awful. They are all acted over exaggerated in the most annoying way. Vicky is unbearable. Cora’s daughters are a mess. I’ll go down the list one-by-one, though. The flaws in these characters keep me from empathizing with their issues, which makes watching them that much more of a dreadful experience.

  4. AJ – Lisa’s ex-flame. This guy was clearly only hired because he can sing. Not a lick of that was acting. It was acting sensitive, yelling, short jokes, and oh yeah he can really sing. That’s not a character, it’s a tenor with a height problem. Next.

  5. Mattie Brown – WHY did they reduce Mr. Brown’s wife to such an insulting low? She has Alzheimers…she’s not deaf & dumb. They treat her like she’s retarded, and she parades around and she basically acts like that, getting the few things she says backwards.It’s played up for humor, but the thing is, this actress can really sing – and the few things she does in the background almost steal the scene, showing that she may be a pretty good actor. This shows that this is both a talented person and character WASTED. Completely WASTED. And I hate that. Next.

  6. Vicky – UGH I can’t stand this character. She’s loud, obnoxious, insane, and way too cartoony. She acts like a little girl most of the time, even when talking about her own personal love issues to the reverend. I’m okay with what her character was trying to represent for women who can relate to her problem, but I don’t know how many women characterized as strong, successful singles are that extra.

  7. Tina – Cora’s 2nd daughter, a crack-addicted baby mama. She’s way too over the top, and not in the right way. Too loud, too obnoxious, and she over-emphasizes her actions/words way too much. Her story arc is never solved either. Though, in a weird way, even with her lousy acting, I think I buy her as a drug addict/bottom ho more than Rudy Huxtable in Madea Goes to Jail. Next.

  8. Lisa – Cora’s 1st daughter, marrying a rich, bland, abusive man. I don’t think she’s really acting much either. Just being either really happy she’s getting married, or really loud so the microphone picks her up when she’s “distraught”. Her movement/reactions (esp. when AJ kisses her) is cartoony & all over the place. ALSO. Why does she wait to “hide” her black eye until way after we already know she has it? Whatever. Next.

  9. Ronnie – Lisa’s fiance. He’s not a character. He’s just a bright, walking cardboard cutout of a ‘bad guy’. Nothing interesting, just hired for his looks/body. Not acting, doesn’t sing…he slaps Lisa, that’s bad…that makes him a character, right? No. Next.

  10. Jackie & Kevin’s Problem – I don’t dislike them. I actually think they did all right. (D’Atra Hicks was kinda fun in this role). I dislike their story: especially when Jackie goes so quickly from being faithful to Kevin in tough times to blowing things out of proportion when Tina lies about Kevin trying to make a pass at her. How quickly and how much Jackie believes this is not compatible with the amount of faith she exerted before – normally, someone would at least ask questions first, even if they thought there was room for disbelief.

  11. Pointless Extras

    1. Jackie’s Ex – There was absolutely no reason to show this guy. He was strictly hired as eye candy. He comes in, stands there, flexes his muscles, and leaves without a word. Granted I’m sure he made good money showing off his body in a stage play, it was pretty pointless.

    2. Everyone at the reunion – Jackie’s son, Brown’s daughter, the DJ…it’s a nitpick, but this reunion would have been fine without hiring these random people to be on stage instead of just using the full cast. Whatever.

  12. Lighting – It’s not like this was his first show…on a long tour in good spaces…the lighting in this show was awful. Characters would go downstage left or right and be about as well-lit as the pit.

  13. Cora’s Parenting – Yeah watch her interactions with Tina. It’s painful. That’s all.

Jokes/Quotes I Hated

  1. The deep ‘huhuhuhuhu’ laugh joke (because it came back so much) – Madea

  2. “I be strokin’” (because it ruins the only memorable song in the show) – Madea

  3. The ‘Kevined’ joke (because they only named him that for the same of a kinda funny joke. Bad setup.) – Jackie/Madea

  4. Every reference to AJ’s height

  5. “Jackie, you were looking for a way out. Now you found it.” (because SHE WASN’T. Not that we were told. Jackie & Kevin exaggerated way too much about that situation.) – Kevin

  6. “Okay Tina, behave.” [after Tina yelled rudely at everyone] (because Cora’s parenting is awful.) – Cora

CONCLUSION

I used the word ‘annoying’ in the usual ‘what doesn’t work’ section because this is the most annoying TP production ever put together. It was also the messiest one he’s ever had, and it shows (later admitted by TP) – tons of backstage issues with the cast and so on that affected the chemistry, and therefore the onstage action, and it shows. The songs are bland, the story is clouded by distracting/unfunny jokes, the characters are annoying, and everything else I didn’t mention is just kind of uninteresting & stale. Worst of all, the messages (the point of why Tyler does what he does) are blocked by everything wrong with the show. I’d say go watch the MOVIE. So much better. This play is a definite skip.

BLACKOMETER: 2.5/10

Let me know what you think?

-BB2

Singles: Trusting Time vs. Anxiousness

grandma singles

Being a 20something means you’ll be often anxious about whether or not you’ve accomplished what you wanted to accomplish by this point in your life, and where you are in relation to doing so if you haven’t. This is heightened if you’re still single on top of it all. This morning while reading a bit of Corinthians (I won’t say what part, since it has nothing to do with my upcoming thought of the day…not even sure how my brain got there), I remembered that God says “Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst.” So when you’re a single 20s-something, you can’t help but wonder…well, see what I’m getting at?

Is this a silly thought? Perhaps. I know God’s not going to share more with a young married couple than me just because I’m not married. But still, the answer family/friends/the world (parts of it) give us is always the same, tired cliche: “when the time is right.” No one really likes this answer because we’re too anxious to know where our timelines are going. However, today I asked the question: what’s God’s answer on this?

Not like I know God’s thoughts or anything, but if I had to guess, seeing as how we sing about Him being an “on-time-God”, the answer is probably this:

“In God’s Time.”

Now of course, this can still be frustrating. It’s in our nature to not be a fan of the ‘not now’ or ‘I can’t give you a precise timeline TODAY’ answer. It also doesn’t feel fulfilling right away. However, God’s is the only trustworthy timeline when we decide to trust it in the first place, because He operates on our needs as opposed to us wanting things when we think we need it. Even though we can’t see it, which is so so SO frustrating when we’re anxious, we need to allow:

Our Faith > Our Anxiousness

Personally, this is a big work in progress, and probably will be for some years. But trying to focus on the right things lately is helping. Thinking about this is also giving some slight peace to my recent posts on how I suck at things including patience, and even my unfulfilled thoughts after watching Crazy Stupid Love.

No one is a fan of time. But When you put the right amount of faith & trust in, focus on the right things, and guard your actions along the way to set yourself up for success, you will get what’s out there for you. And you probably won’t expect it. Today? Maybe, maybe not. But we should try to be smart enough to not rush it. After all, why try to eat your favorite meal under-cooked?

-BB2

(P.S. Don’t listen to ANY internet pictures with silly captions about love. They’ll either depress you further or you’ll laugh at how wishy=washy they are. People believe in those things way too quickly. Google image search ‘when will I find love’ and have a good chuckle.)

(P.P.S. And no, I didn’t do that because I’m lonely. I was looking for a picture at the top of this article. And I decided to go with something funny. Hence the old lady. Funny, yeah? Just me? Fine.)