You Haven’t Seen The Color Purple?
My building had a fire drill yesterday. We all had to evacuate the building and stand next to our respective work teams. These two women, Chelsea and Rebecca, are “bffs”, so when we had to separate to go meet up with our teams, they were all dramatic, hugging and shit. My coworker, Monica, who was standing next to me watching the antics turned to me and said,
“It’s just like that scene from The Color Purple,”
To which I replied,
“Huh?… oh, yeah.”
I already knew that I had messed up before I even looked back at Monica baring a confused countenance. I had been in this situation before, and I knew that the Black Movie Test was but seconds away. She said, “You have seen The Color Purple right?” Before I even finished the word “no”, Monica was already tapping Katherine on the shoulder to let her know that I haven’t seen The Color Purple. Monica brought Katherine over and pointed at me with her judgmental index finger. ”He hasn’t seen The Color Purple“, she said while this White woman, Katherine, gasped. Katherine looked at me and said,
“I’ve seen The Color Purple and I’m Wh… I mean, you’re Bla…”
Monica interjected before Katherine could do any more damage (Katherine casually stepped away). Monica stepped close to me and whispered under her teeth,
“Nigga, I can’t believe you ain’t seen The Color Purple. I’m taking your Black card“
She called me a nigga. I had seen my Black coworkers turn the code-switch off before, but I had never heard any of us actually let nigga go. But that’s beside the point. What the hell is it with this movie? Why does my entire life experience as a Black man get revoked every time people find out I haven’t seen it? My Black card has been revoked for liking hummus and soymilk, not liking orange and grape soda, and never owning a pair of Jordans, but The Color Purple is the bane of my racial existence.
At this point, I never plan on seeing The Color Purple. I know, I know. It’s a terrible thing. I know it’s a great movie and I need to have seen it in order be Black in America. But honestly, I’ve had my fill of angst. Yeah, I don’t like angst movies. If you tell me that a movie is about somebody’s hard-knock life where they hardly win and the few wins they get are just tiny breaks from their overall hard-knock lives, I’m not seeing it. It’s not like I’m ignorant of the history of my people in any capacity. Unless you think a viewing history of every Black film is the litmus test of racial identity.
There has never been a moment when I forgot about the struggles of Black people currently or throughout history. I just don’t want to watch the movie. I saw The Changeling one time and it was 99% depression – it blew me. Precious? Not seeing it. For Colored Girls? Not seeing it.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. That scene from The Color Purple Monica was talking about?
(That scene is mad long) Given, I have no context for that scene whatsoever. I haven’t seen the movie. All I know is that two sisters are getting separated and folks don’t seem to be living too well. Danny Glover threw rocks at a child. There was lots of crying too. I’ll pass. You know how many Black movies I’ve been forced to watch? I wanted to watch some of them, and others I didn’t, which has never seemed to matter to anybody. Not wanting to watch sad-ass scenes of Black people not doing well isn’t a reflection of some personal racial centrality problem. It just means that that’s not quite what I’m looking for when I want to kick back and enjoy a cinematic treat. So I will do my damnest to avoid this movie like the plague, no matter how good it might be. I reserve that right as a Black man and an American citizen. I don’t like watching Oprah’s rich ass try to act poor.
And stop hitting me up every time The Temptations is on for the millionth time.