Tyler Perry’s digital display of “work ethic” spotlights a silent burden carried by today’s Black professionals.
“You have to work twice as hard to get half as far as whites” is a time-honored adage that Black parents echo. Across the diaspora, the saying weighs heavily on many Black professionals’ minds, therefore impacting the way we think about ourselves and show up in workspaces.
Social constructs, implicit biases, and cultural expectations are a result of this adage. The aforementioned has triggered many people of color to adopt toxic or unhealthy ideologies around work ethic and perhaps produce a form of anxiety–mainly glorified as workaholism– usually touted, masked, or celebrated as “work ethic”.
It’s an illness that I believe plagues the community of color (emphasis on Immigrants) and has far more of a negative impact (mental, emotional, psychological) than we know.
When our work ethic is synonymous with our worthiness, it perpetuates an ideology of never being enough.
The following are symptoms of an unhealthy ideology around work ethic :
- The “work hard” symptom
- The “accumulate credentials” symptom
- The “hyper-focus on praise and recognition” symptom
- The “I can do it all by myself” symptom
The Tyler Perry backlash shaking the internet is about Perry’s recent twitter braggadocious behavior around his work ethic. Tyler Perry came under fire for a video that he posted on Twitter. Take a look below:
WORK ETHIC!! Come on. Let’s go get 2020!!! pic.twitter.com/BzADIi1rAa
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) January 6, 2020
In the video, he said “I have no writer’s room, nobody writes any of my work. I write it all.” He boasts that every script pictured in the video, he wrote all on his own. After he posted this video, which has about 3.5 million views when writing this, fans and critics alike took to Twitter to voice their concerns.
I RELATE TO TYLER PERRY
In my African culture (I’m a Nigerian-Ghanaian-American), my hyper-focus on accumulations of titles, certificates, diplomas, press and media, verbose, go-getter, drive to be the best, was reinforced and praised. Not that I didn’t like the rush that came with accomplishment. I just never realized when I became addicted to the rush.
I was praised only when I reached the next milestone, only to be met compared to my peers or challenged for slowing down.
So I grinded more, treating any desire for a break as anti-work-ethic. It was challenging for me to comprehend that my productivity wasn’t tied to my worthiness.
From this, I became insanely obsessed with being seen as successful (and praised for it) and doing it with very little help or guidance from anyone. My obsession manifested itself into an unhealthy relationship with success, money, and the appearance of being able to do everything (including building multi-billion dollar empires) by myself. To the outside world (particularly my community), my work ethic was insane and admirable. I thought so as well.
TYLER PERRY BACKLASH COMMENTARY
Tyler Perry be like: I built this car myself. No plant. No auto workers. Work Ethic! pic.twitter.com/EbvkBWnLHW
— Stephen B (@nipsey) January 6, 2020
— Brandon G. (@BGoodeWrites) January 17, 2020
Tyler Perry filmed this movie in 5 days, and it shows. He could be proud to continuously release trash-ass films with abused/unhappy Black women narratives beside me. Step aside and hire Black writers and creatives because his work needs help. #AFallFromGrace pic.twitter.com/Ql0YEMkqdy
— Black Fat Queer (@FlamingFatQueer) January 18, 2020
One of Mr. Perry’s common critiques is that a man with this much power (and a black man at that) and the opportunity to hire more creatives of color but just entirely opting out is disheartening and upsetting. But when he went on the View to explain, it seemed to be just another excuse for not wanting to pay writers and people being critical of his work.
— Sombra (@Varieatrl) January 21, 2020
His most recent movie, “A Fall from Grace,” was just released on Netflix. Critics and the audience agree that it was pretty much a mess. There were so many problems with it from continuity mistakes, the use of the “angry black woman” trope that he continually uses, and just bad writing in general. Fast Company puts it perfectly when they explain the plot: “A Fall From Grace is a romance-gone-dark story that follows a well-worn Perry pattern: Woman falls for the wrong guy. A woman’s life is decimated. Fin. But aside from a paper-thin plot and horrendous wigs, there are bigger issues to contend with: The film is riddled with continuity errors and mistakes that fall under filmmaker 101 no-nos.”
Take a look at some of the mistakes that viewers found:
— Bookhart✨ (@JanayNicole2019) January 22, 2020
— Mandrill Solomon (@mandrillsolomon) January 21, 2020
And the holy grail!
— Quenchi (@MrQuenchiAdams) January 18, 2020
Let Hueish know what you think. Do you think that Tyler Perry should get a writer’s room or can he do bad all by himself? Do you/your culture have an unhealthy relationship with work ethic?
How do we, as a culture, begin to chip away at this unhealthy relationship with productivity?
Hey there! I’m Sade Disu and founded an award-winning 15-year-old digital media and marketing agency And Brand Culture where I provide culture-focused advisory, storytelling, and content solutions for Executives and startup founders looking to increase engagement with multi-cultural audiences and media platforms organically.
My content strategies and proprietary live event platforms (like AfricaFashionWeek.com) are deemed unmatched for their convening power of global content, culture, and empowerment according to Forbes, LA Times, Essence, and Black Enterprise. And even more, was given a proclamation, by former Mayor of New York (now Presidential candidate) Michael Bloomberg in 2010.
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My press-ordained and award-winning event platforms and digital content work have been leveraged by Shea Moisture, Kimora Lee Simons, Iman Cosmetics, Pikolinos, Zara, Roommate Hotels, and USAID. ( 4-page press feature in Black Enterprise and 2-page press feature in Forbes French Edition.)
Clients have used my four-tier prong approach “culture + content” = “community + commerce” when looking to connect with audiences with nuisance cultures and attitudes.