Let’s iron this out first: Tyler Perry, the handsome African American film mogul with a bigass studio bigger than Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount and Sony combined and also the man behind the bad, wildly hilarious Madea franchise, is infamous for creating bad movies. Not bad like good features, but bad like horrible ones that have no replay value whatsoever. Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, The Family That Preys, Temptation, Acrimony, Why Did I Get Married?, I Can Do Bad All By Myself… you name all them.
And yet I have heard full-throated internet or in-person arguments where fans, black and mostly Latino stand by him saying he creates jobs, he serves his audience what they want, he’s self-made, he gives back to the community and that you can’t knock his business acumen. Though most of the above is true, these hackneyed rationalisations mask an enormous point which Tyler Perry’s apologists are resolute to admit. Any undertaking to consume Perry’s work as mere negro noirs that simply mimics the sort of parables black people raised in the church were taught— where people aren’t humans as much as they’re avatars for allegorical meditations on a rigid binary of good and evil— it still doesn’t quite justify the misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia deeply inbred in his filmography.
An overt assessment is that these myriad biases and phobias also mirror what’s taught in churches that most of us were raised in or still goes to today. But while this is true, regardless of the race of the leadership and congregation, there are also churches led by clerics with progressive politics. It is conceivable to have a church-based foundation to your work that doesn’t demonise sexually active women and men who happen to be queer; and that Perry chooses not to says more about him than the religion he’s inspired by. His politics are either deeply simple, dangerous, or lazy for a creative, and the people so passionately in defence of him and his work believe that a critique of him is also a criticism of them. If they appreciate his work, they must likewise be all the things he’s criticised for being.
To all appearances, Tyler Perry is very aware of the critiques of him and the people who enjoy his work, and with each of his follow-up work, it appears like he’s doing an exploit in wagon-circling. I mean, what more would you expect from a filmmaker who conceded that he shoots his movies in five days and to make matters worse, he doesn’t have a writers’ room after decades of assessments of his writing. That’s like an explicit “to hell” to critics. As for me, I now watch his relentless, almost pathological single-mindedness films because they exist and because I’m rooting for everybody black, not because I’m looking for award-winning content.
As someone who has made fans primarily of black women and churchgoers by his persistent reliance on downtrodden female protagonists to point out issues of misogyny and infidelity, Tyler Perry again swerved between his usual woman-centred melodrama and a quasi-thriller in his latest offering, “A Fall from Grace” released last month.
Netflix breaks it down for us in its press release:
Grace Waters (Crystal Fox), a longtime pillar of her Virginia community, stays composed when her ex weds his mistress and her son moves away. With convincing from her best friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), she tries putting herself first, and a handsome stranger (Mehcad Brooks) becomes her surprise second love. Yet any woman can snap, and Grace’s new husband soon ravages her life, her work and — many say— her sanity. Shuttered in a cell awaiting trial for his murder, Grace’s only hope for vindication lies with Jasmine Bryant (Bresha Webb), a public defender who has never tried a case.
As indicated, at its centre is a black woman named Grace, who has habitually been emotionally used and abused by men. What’s worse, she’s resigned herself to that fate.
For all intents and purposes, the movie boasts unexpected character twists that turn some into villains. In fact, much of the suspense that Perry tries to build can swiftly be wrecked through the clunky narrative. Supporting characters like Jasmine, Grace’s determined yet inexperienced worst lawyer of all time and Grace’s best friend, Sarah are meant to heighten and complicate the plot, but even they’re written so thinly you can guess their storylines from the start. Perry himself plays Jasmine’s one-dimensional brute of a boss.
Ultimately, nothing is much of a surprise in a story that fails to untether itself from Perry’s longest-lasting trope: the sad black woman.e Even with the backing of Netflix, this movie still doesn’t rise above the archetypal Tyler formula. Rather it cheapens the audience he aims to celebrate. Why am I expecting logic like I’m new here?!
In the benefit of those who might be interested in watching it, I’ll leave it here before I spoil it for you. What I will, however, pursue with in this piece is the movie’s underlying motif that “Every Woman Has A Breaking Point” especially in the face of being routinely emotionally used and abused by opportunistic cool, collected and scheming men.
UK-based Zimbabwean socialite Olinda Nyaradzo Nkomo, heretofore identified as Olinda Chapel, (exactly, the name conjures all catalogues of Tyler Perry female protagonists, you just have to pick one.) is a woman of a particular age, having been born on the 14th of August 1983. According to an interview she did with Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa a few years ago, she had her first child in 2001 when she was just 17 and she subsequently walked out of a 10-year-old marriage to someone we know so little about because it was void of the romantic mirth. Like the Grace in Tyler Perry’s “A Fall from Grace”, she came out of that marriage a sullen woman.
Because fortune favours the brave and the prepared, she worked herself out to the top and enjoyed life outside the public eye. It was only a matter of time that she met hip-hop star Desmond Stunner Chideme, who consequently restored her faith in love after heartbreak and changed her life forever.
The two traditionally got married on 3 April 2016, and it was reported that the rapper paid $16,000 for lobola. Olinda has two children, a boy and a girl from the time before she met Stunner. According to Stunner, Olinda had two broken marriages prior to getting married to Stunner. He revealed this in a video hitting back at Olinda after they started having marital dilemmas.
As public as their rapport was, so was their disintegration and as you know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Stunner and Olinda had a rancorous split that was characterised by a series of emotional videos where she ranted that the rapper was using her money to cheat on her with teenage girls, and generally accusing the rapper of being ungrateful since she had basically funded his everything and stood by him even when he “had nothing”. It’s always about the dollar dollar bill yo, ain”t it?
Stunner put the last nail to their love coffin when he reportedly paid the 50 cents divorce token. With that, they were officially done.
Since I’m still on my “A Fall from Grace” juxtaposition, Njabulo Mayibongwe Nkomo popularly known as Tytan Skhokho – yet another artist who was just snowballing from a collaboration he had with the barefoot goddess Ammara Brown – pulled a Prince-charming-esque demeanour and stole Olinda’s heart, the same way an artsy chap Shannon did to Grace in Tyler Perry’s latest woman-centred melodrama instalment. Despite the sarcastic remarks about the age disparity of 5 years and Olinda’s past, the couple overcame it by making it official. Tytan paid lobola and they wed in the winter of 2018. The internet, as petty as it is, was replete with detractors who claimed that Olinda was so desperate about this relationship that he provided the “Ndichakubata Bhoo” singer the lobola money, although Tytan was on the record affirming that it was his own money.
With the two enjoying their marital bliss and of course the joy of welcoming their baby girl Nandi Amari Tadiwa to the world, Tytan appeared to be the happiest father in the world. It was so good of a relationship that Tytan even recorded Olinda in labour. He said he took a video of his wife as she was operated on in the theatre and the experience made him respect women on a higher level. This development gave many prospects that their merger would never sway.
Last year on July 1, the couple celebrated their marriage anniversary and both concurred it has been ‘365 days of a whole new experience, all eyes on them’.
Cheerlessly, what was supposed to be a happily-ever-after turned sourly-ever-after just a month after their anniversary. In August 2019, Tytan took to social media to disclose that he was stepping away from his baby momma amid reports of irreparable differences. The 29-year-old singer said he has had enough abuse at the grips of Olinda and revealed that he had approached the police and was engaging in the legal route to end their union.
Olinda, on the other hand, also took to social media to comment on their matrimonial disputes, claiming that her spouse was the abuser and deposed that he had an affair with her friend behind her back.
“Tytan wants to play the victim here yet he is the one who has been abusing me and I was quiet about it for a long time. He has been cheating on me with various girlfriends, yet he rushes to the police with false claims so that he won’t have his visa terminated because he got it by marrying me,”
she wrote at the time and went live on Facebook declaring that she still loved Tytan, despite all his shenanigans.
Well, if the famous words of Mr Tyler Emmitt Perry Jr. that “every woman has a breaking point” are true, Olinda might have arrived at that place of reckoning and as it is emblematic of Tyler Perry movies climax, she’s done with the shits and is talk turking the thriller of her relationship with Tytan.
On Monday, it was reported that the mother of three approached the High Court seeking an order for a decree of divorce with her singer husband, arguing that their union was just a marriage of convenience.
Olinda, through her lawyers, AB and David Legal Practitioners, said when her husband first proposed to her in the wake of her acrimonious split with Stunner, she was not aware that he simply wanted marriage in order for him to use it as a conduit to acquire immigration papers to enable him to reside in the UK and Northern Ireland. She further said at the inception in their 19-months old marriage, Tytan was in the know that she had permanent immigration status which would enable him to permanently reside in European country.
“At the time that the marriage was entered into, defendant (Tytan) intended it to be a marriage of convenience and a conduit for the sole purpose of the acquisition of immigration papers entitling defendant to remain and reside permanently in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island and by virtue of plaintiff’s (Olinda) immigration status in that country,” Olinda said.
Olinda further said when she exchanged vows with Tytan, there was no valid matrimonial union as there was no meeting of minds but mere misrepresentation, Tytan, she claimed, fraudulently misrepresented himself into entering into the marriage believing it to be for love when in fact he designed the marriage for the purpose of procuring immigration papers.
The socialite says in the divorce filing that it will be in the interests of justice if she is conferred the custody of Nandi and wants the court to allow Tytan to get considerable access. She also wants him to pay maintenance for their little girl until she reaches 18.
These claims are deep to process and because there is a child involved, I can only imagine how gruesome this must be to the two.
While the matter is still pending, I’ve come to think about how sometimes getting married to someone particularly in the UK leaves you better off, especially coming from the shambolic economy that is Zimbabwe at the moment.
In Tytan’s case, assuming what Olinda is asserting in the divorce application sticks any bit of genuity, one can simply find themselves in the greener-pastured diaspora by simply saying “I do”. The way the hustle is knocking down fellas out here ka, I tell you, any man can unflaggingly pull a Tytan on Olinda or anybody who is living a life in them first-world economies and be gone.
A little research on marriages in the UK showed me that the marital institution offers real financial benefits for many people and enables them to keep potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds from the taxman’s clutches. There is some sort of Marriage Allowance that lets your husband, wife or civil partner transfer some of their fortune to you if they earn more than you in addition to having the ability to pass on assets after your death without incurring inheritance tax, getting a reduction in income tax bills, pay lesser capital gains tax, and accessing pensions perks.
Personally, do I believe what Olinda is saying in the divorce papers? Meh! Suppose all is true, do I intend to hold Tytan with disdain? Yada Yada Yada! Am I telling people how to feel about this or am I hinting Zimbabweans an easy way to secure green cards and Permanent Resident Cards? No, this is me basically contemplating whether stalking down one of the sassy and sexy girls from ZWAGS (Zimbabweans with Attitude, Glam & Style) – that reality online series that vanished in thin air – is a worthy investment in the economic interest of love.
While we at it, can we talk about where did that show go real quick? This Olinda and Tytan debacle has me thinking about them…Precious “Cookies” Matare, Gladys Smith and Kenny Gasa. I mean these folks had the opportunity to become sticky pioneers in exploring the goldmine that is reality TV as much as it can be in Zimbabwe. Withal, their silence right now seems content enough to squander it all for reasons unknown.
I just looked at their Vimeo page and guess the feedback I got…Gone, baby, gone!