Are you ready for your close up?

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Welcome 

I am sending out a casting call into cyberspace. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I am in the midst of creating a documentary about marriage in the Black Community. 

I am looking for people with unique stories to add to my film. 

  • Couples who have been in successful long term marriages or other committed unions.
  • Men and women looking for love
  • People who been married several times
  • People who are vehemently anti marriage
  • Individuals who wound only date/marry a very specific type of person – be it race, status, nationality, interests etc.
  • People who have set up dating agencies/events for people of colour

The tone of my documentary will be  empowering and respectful. My film will bear no relation to the many reality TV shows on our screens. 

My budget can only accommodate individuals living in the United Kingdom. I intend to cover the US with the sequel 🙂 

If you have any questions or are interested in taking part email me: suddie@sudelicous.com 

Please spread the word 

Thanking you all 

Sudelicious 

Think like a human

Welcome

Last week saw the U.S release of the film ‘Act Like A Man’, which has been produced by comedian Steve Harvey who penned the book ‘Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man’. I have never read the book and have no intention of seeing the film. I always thought it sensible to take advice from experts in their field. If I were in need of financial advice, I would happily take on board the thoughts of Bill Gates or Donald Trump. I don’t see the logic in taking relationship advice from a man with two ex wives that he cheated on throughout the entire marriages. What authority does he have to advise anyone on the state of their relationships other than being a celebrity?

In researching for my film, I have come across a few Black male dating/ relationship experts. I am very dubious about those who have had turbulent love lives. If you don’t know what it takes to have a long lasting happy relationship/marriage what real advice can you offer? I recall reading an article that Harvey thought he had learnt valuable life lessons after cheating on his ex wives for years. If he felt that why didn’t he write a book instructing men on how to treat their wives? Why choose women as his target audience? The answer is simple; we live in a society which is used to telling women that there is something wrong with them.

Women are bombarded with 400 to 600 adverts per day with 9% directly relating to beauty (Source: Media Scope). The beauty industry thrives on the insecurities of women; you’re too fat, too skinny, too old and too frumpy etc. With this backdrop it makes perfect economic sense why these ‘relationship experts’ target women. They use the fact that they as male have legitimacy to speak for the entire male population. They don’t conduct extensive research, just rehash a few conversations at the bar or the barbers and suddenly they are a bona fide expert. Harvey presents his information as ‘inside knowledge’ of the male psyche delivered in comedic little chunks. Too many women swallow this whole without question. They provide these entrepreneurs with the perfect malleable audience, waiting to be told what is wrong with them and how they need to improve.

Harvey’s work is aimed at Black women. We are a group who find ourselves under an intolerable level of scrutiny. On one hand we are always compared negatively to women of other races or completely ignored by mainstream media. To add insult to injury our main detractors are Black men. Apparently we are too loud, too dark, too aggressive, too stuck up, too fat and the list goes on and on. It is beyond pathetic that we have prominent Black comedians, rappers, entertainers and so called relationship experts who so easily mock the women who most resemble their mothers and sisters yet, they have the nerve to expect us to purchase their latest CDs/books/films.

I am always curious as to why the burden of creating successful relationships is placed squarely on women’s shoulders. Why don’t these love gurus write books telling men how to treat the women in their lives? Are men totally exempt from bearing any responsibility in making a successful relationship last? Society still sees a long term relationship as something women crave and what men try to dodge at every opportunity. This thinking undermines both sexes. Women do not need relationships to validate them and men are not so emotionally stunted that they do not want to be in happy fulfilling relationships.

It’s really not a surprise that there is plenty of scope to financially exploit Black women’s insecurities. I don’t belong to the doom and gloom brigade telling Black women that there is a man shortage. I think that is simply not true or only particular to Black women. I have many single female friends of every race, who have the same complaints about meeting decent guys. I wish I could explain why, it would probably make me a rich woman. I think that there is a seismic shift occurring between established gender roles and aspirations. I think that these changes within the Western world are largely positive as women and Black women in particular have greater opportunities today than ever before. However, I think that it has made expectations/interactions between men and women more fluid than say a generation ago. We all have more choice regarding dating/marriage/life options. Perhaps it’s the increased level of relationship options that makes it harder for everyone to make a choice in the first place.

Black women should fully exploit greater dating opportunities within and outside our race. However, there are a large number of Black women who only want to date Black men. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Half of my relatives are Black men and I love them dearly, well most of them. However, the main problem is that there are not enough eligible Black men to go round. That is the biggest stumbling block for Black women looking for a Black partner. It has nothing to do with how long you withhold sex or if you uphold a set of dating rules. If these Black male relationship experts really want to do Black women a favour, they need to address Black male unemployment, imprisonment, child abandonment and the acceptable blatant disrespect given to Black women. Steve Harvey and other ‘dating experts’ would make loving relationships within the Black community more likely if they encouraged Black men to continue with further education, and to become loving husbands and fathers. I suppose that philanthropy doesn’t offer the same financial returns that book and film deals do.

What all women need to remember is that the final say is in our hands. We decide where our money goes. It is important to question the motives of those who claim to be offering help. Until the likes of Steve Harvey are able to make one woman happy for at least 25 years, he does not have the authority to tell anyone how to manage their personal life. Patriarchy puts women under a continuous spotlight, encouraging us to vie for male validation. We don’t need to pay attention to men pretending to have women’s interests at heart. Their only concern is for their expanding bank balances. We all want quick fixes for the difficult areas of our lives. Following a set of rules offered by a comedian is not going to help people ascertain whether someone is a good match or not. We are talking about finding a life partner not training a puppy. Ultimately, I don’t need to think like a man, in order to find and keep one. Surely the trick is to think and behave like a loving human being.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Where is the love?

Photo Credit – Copyright New Line Cinema

Welcome

‘Love and Basketball’ is one of my favourite films. Unlike most romantic dramas it doesn’t gloss over the fact that relationships are hard work. It is also one of the few beautiful Black love stories on the big screen. If an alien were to land on earth and watch the majority of Black cinema or mass media in general, he would probably deduce that Black men and women do not like each other very much. The majority of mainstream Black films portray dysfunctional interactions between Black people. Now I am all for tackling tough issues such as child abuse in ‘Precious’ or infidelity in ‘Why did I get married?’ What I don’t understand is why the Black community is so happy to perpetuate and buy into such negative images of themselves? Why are there so few examples of Black love in today’s mainstream media? Are these films not normalising dysfunctional behaviour and presenting it as some twisted version of Black reality?

The Black community is still plagued with incorrect and limiting stereotypes even in the era of supposed post racialism. In reality, Black women have increased their educational and financial opportunities. As a result, the stereotypes of Black women is developing from the overweight maid or finger snapping ghetto queen to the lonely, unapproachable, career woman. Another stereotypical Black female persona is the damaged woman who was either betrayed as an adult or abused as a child and this explains why she is always angry and pushes men away. The upshot is that Black women are either fat and undesirable or attractive and angry. Black men don’t fare any better. The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin only highlights the power of the stereotype that Black men are hyper aggressive predators. If the Black man is not portrayed as ‘get rich or die trying’ hustler the other typical stereotype is the bumbling feckless buffoon. The only threat that the buffoon offers is to his own self respect.

So if everyone in the Black community is completely dysfunctional it would stand to reason why there are low levels of marriage – we are all too crazy to settle down! This is of course hogwash. My parents have been happily married for nearly forty years. The majority of my Black female friends are also happily married to Black men. I have stated that in the UK and US Black men are falling behind Black women economically and educationally. This is making it harder for professional Black women to find suitable partners but it is far from impossible. In researching my film, I came across some bizarre and ridiculous ‘facts’. Apparently an educated Black woman has more chance of being hit by lightning than getting married. I also read statistics stating that 70% of Black women are single. When you remove the unmarried teens, divorcees and widows the figure is a lot closer to 59% (source Surviving Dating.com). Even then this number does not include gay women, cohabiting couples and those who don’t wish to marry.

The more educated Black women become the richer they become which leads to a greater say in society and changing the status quo. The hope must be that if Black women spend more time obsessing about their love lives, less time will be spent on becoming even more prosperous and influential. We live in a White patriarchal society where there are few winners and many losers. It is in these winners’s interest to retain the status quo. White women were fed a similar line a mere decade ago. I recall being constantly bombarded with medical reports stating that women’s fertility goes kaput after 35, the chances of ovarian cancer are raised if you haven’t been pregnant by your late thirties or that successful business women were more likely to end up married and childless. Career women were given a choice, choose either your personal or professional life – you can’t have both. This was scaremongering – pure and simple, an attempt to get women out of the boardroom and back in the kitchen. Unlike White women, Black women have always been expected to work. The lack of opportunities and exposure to high paying jobs meant that Black men and women both had to financially contribute to keep their families afloat. Today, Black women have greater choices and wealth creation opportunities. This should be celebrated not curtailed.

The advancement of Black women has class ramifications also. I have to admit that I am not the biggest Tyler Perry fan. I respect him for being a major player in the film industry and proving that Black enterprise can successfully sell to a Black audience. However, I don’t agree with the messages in his films. They typically depict a successful but cold businesswoman or a detached, damaged woman who falls in love with a salt of the earth janitor/ex convict/blue collar worker. Black women are effectively being discouraged to date/marry men with aspirations. It is not a matter of snobbery if professional women want to marry and date professional men. Should the expectations of Black women be less than women of other races? I doubt that Hilary Clinton would have given Bill a second look if he had been a janitor. As Black women continue to have greater options in life it will also raise their expectations of the men that they choose to have a life with. I don’t think this is a bad thing; hopefully it will encourage Black men to raise their game educationally and economically in order to attract women with higher expectations. To advise Black women to ‘date down’ is an attempt to sabotage their growth. This sabotage does not just affect women; it prevents the whole community from moving forward. It is ridiculous that Black women are deemed to be snobs just because they have higher aspirations; surely it is just common sense to want a man in your life with common aspirations? Opposites attract but similar people tend to stay together.

It’s frustrating how readily the Black community receives and spreads this way of thinking. I recall as a child the furore which surrounded ‘The Crosby Show’. There were members of the Black community who cited that it wasn’t authentic enough, that the majority of Black people were not doctors and lawyers. I don’t recall hearing White people residing in urban areas complaining about the plausibility of ‘The Waltons’. Why do we as a community reject positive images of ourselves? Why can’t we have an ideal to aspire to? Why are we so prepared to accept broken relationships, criminality and mediocrity as our reality? I am straight out of suburbia, not Compton – does this make me any less Black? I refuse to accept that my ambitions and aspirations should be limited because of the colour of my skin, even if that information is coming from other Black people.

Women of all races should expect to have fulfilling relationships. I will not bow down to the naysayers who want Black women to believe that there are no suitable men for us or that we must settle for any man who shows an interest. Yes there is a lack of eligible men in the Black community. I hope that the advancement of Black women will put the onus on all Black men to do the same in equal numbers. If that doesn’t work there are men of other races for consideration. Accepting the status quo means that there will be no advancement in our community. We should celebrate what Black women have achieved in spite of all the obstacles before them. What’s really disappointing is that the majority of Black owned media rarely promote positive images of Black people. They tend to accept stereotypical images. If we accept these mediocre versions of ourselves, how can we hope to achieve or prosper? If we don’t expect to see loving images of ourselves on the big and small screens, it helps build the false belief that loving Black relationships are only for the lucky few. Black women must expect to be loved and must be free to be successful in their professional lives. Yes there is a lot a false statistics out there but as Flava Flav so eloquently put it ‘Don’t believe the hype!’

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

The beginning

Welcome…

I suppose that now would be a good time to introduce myself. I am a filmmaker based in London (United Kingdom). For the past year I have been putting together a documentary looking into black women and marriage.  According to statistics (of which I am very sceptical) black women in the UK and US are the least likely to marry compared to other racial groups

As a black woman it seems that everybody wants to tell us how we should look, think and behave. Apparently we are far too aggressive, materialistic and not as attractive as any other women walking the earth.

The premise of my film is to separate the facts from fiction. I think that it’s important that black women throw off the cloak of invisibility and have our voices heard.

In this blog I will raise the various topics that my research throws up plus I will give you all a step by step account of the filming process.

If any of you know of a rich benefactor looking for an independent filmmaker to support, PLEASE send him/her my way.

I hope you enjoy my journey.

Thanks

Sudelicious