I must say I am surprised at all of the people who have been “shocked” and “disappointed” that the Sex and the City 2 movie did not live up to expectations. For everyone who asked why the movie was so insensitive to Muslim culture, I “couldn’t help but wonder”: did you actually watch the show? After all, the series — and the first movie — made no secret of the fact that it doesn’t think very highly of Black people. Why would the franchise treat Brown people any differently?
I’ll skip over the fact that Carrie and the girls live in the kind of colorless New York City that only the Klan could appreciate, and get right down to the more blatant manifestations of what the writers and producers must really think about Black people.
Exhibit A: Season 3, Episode 5, “No Ifs, Ands, or Butts”
In this episode — the “Black” episode, if you will — you finally see a little color on the show. And these colored people happen to be particularly successful: Adina Williams is the chef and owner of a 5-star soul food restaurant that the girls have decided to patronize, and her brother, Shavon Williams, is an artist rep for Tommy Boy records. Shavon becomes enthralled with Samantha, and brings her into his realm: ghetto New York clubs, complete with metal detectors and Black women screaming “back of the line, mutha-f**ka!” Samantha seems right at home, and starts running around New York using “Black talk” (or, “African American talk,” as Charlotte asserts) such as: “that’s whack!” and “I got to get me some of that!” And, of course, Shavon has a big black penis that everyone has to know about.
Shavon and Samantha have a great love affair, until the angry Black woman, his sister Adina, has to ruin it with her bigotry. Adina tells Samantha not to date her brother anymore because Samantha is White and could “never understand this. It’s a Black thing, O.K?” (The nerve of this Black woman to be so intolerant of other cultures!) There is finger waving and neck rolling galore (because everyone knows that’s how Black women act). But when Samantha refuses to back down, Adina (the successful chef and business owner, please keep up!) takes matters into her own hands — quite literally — and snatches handfuls of Samantha’s hair, In the middle of the club. (Not even V.I.P.?!)
Shavon has to step in and break up the fight, and how does he do it? By yelling: “come on, guys! Keep it real! Keep it real!”
At this point, I’m wondering, do these writers even know any Black people?! I can’t decide who is more disappointing: Michael Patrick King for writing this blatantly effortless attempt to portray a Black story, or the actors who were so far down to their last paycheck that they took on these roles.
But, I digress.
Exhibit B: Blair Underwood as Supersex man
In Season 5, Sex and the City introduces its only recurrent Black character: Blair Underwood as Dr. Robert Leeds. Sticking with the theme that Black people are only successful in the entertainment industry, Robert is a doctor for the Knicks. He also simply can’t get enough of Miranda, and — surprise! — he has a big Black penis (because, what else are Black men good for?). It is consistently referred to throughout Underwood’s tenure on the show. When the look how tolerant we are interracial charade is over and Miranda dumps Robert for Steve, her baby’s daddy, Robert’s parting shot to Miranda is how no one could match the depth of his big Black penis.
Even after the messy break up, when Steve confronts Robert — who is supposed to be in mourning over the loss of Miranda — Robert is seen in a terrycloth bathrobe with three half-naked women running through his apartment. I mean, everyone knows that the only thing that can quell a Black man’s insatiable sexual appetite is a menage à four.
So, they’ve covered the hypersexualized Black men stereotype and the ghetto-no-matter-how-successful angry Black woman; what other stereotypes could they drum up?
Ah, of course.
Exhibit C: Jennifer Hudson as Country Mammy
Despite the number of Black women who love and patronize SATC, the franchise refused to return the favor in the first movie. As Carrie’s personal assistant, Jennifer Hudson’s sole responsibility was to take care of Carrie and bring her “back to life.” And just like a mammy-god-mother should, she twitches her rented Louis Vuitton and disappears back into the country when her work is done.
Exhibit D: SATC 2, in which clowns with dreds and loud outfits are the only Blacks who speak
In the second installment, during the pointless karaoke scene in which the girls sing some random female empowerment song that nobody knows, the only Blacks with speaking roles in the entire film are two dreded buffoons wearing sunglasses and loud outfits who are shuckin’ and jivin’ on the stage over the women from America.
Kind of makes me sorry I complained about mammy in the first movie.
It might be terrible to say that I love a series that just might hate Black people. But, welcome to Black reality. In our world, the options are to: (1) ignore the fact that we are not adequately or realistically portrayed in Hollywood by Whites or Blacks (Thanks, Tyler Perry!); or (2) turn off the T.V. unless Shonda Rhimes wrote it, and don’t watch movies unless Spike Lee made it. That’s just 21st Century America.
So, to answer the question posed by the title, I don’t know if Sex and the City hates us and our brown cousins. What is obvious, however, is that the franchise is consistently insensitive to minorities and makes dismal attempts to understand our cultures — because we let them. We still watched the show, copied the fashion, bought the DVDs, had SATC marathons before each movie, and spent hundreds going to the actual premieres, in spite of the fact that we have not been — and likely will never be — realistically portrayed and explored in-depth by this franchise.
To answer the other gripe I heard about the film – Do the SATC producers “think we’re stupid?” — of course they do.
And they just might have a point.