By Farayi Mungoshi
AFRICAN-Americans have over the years fought hard against racism and discrimination.
From the days of the slave trade, the Jim Crow era, segregation, the black power revolutionary movements to the Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s, Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr, all have been conveying the same message of equality.
African-Americans have not had it easy and theirs is a sacrifice not most of us are aware of.
When I heard of how well Tyler Perry’s movie Acrimony had done in South Africa when it premiered some time this year, I could not wait to watch it.
It came out just about the time Black Panther was already out and breaking records worldwide.
It really seemed like that moment in one’s lifetime, he/she gets to be proud and open about being black, more like the time when Obama became the first black president of America.
I am not really a Tyler Perry fan but when I went through film critics’ reviews of the movie, I have to admit that I felt a pang of pain at the negative reviews it got, and when I looked at the critics’ credentials, it was the same folk who did not have kind words for Black Panther.
The movie features Empire’s Taraji P. Henson as Melinda alongside Lyriq Bent (Robert).
She is doing well in as far as black movies are concerned. And yes, I did feel, like most critics, that her talents were not fully explored by Tyler Perry as director of Acrimony.
However, I will not be getting into how well or how badly the movie did but I will be touching on a subject that most critics shunned, preferring to follow the synopsis and storyline Tyler put out in the movie — that of how a faithful wife becomes infuriated and deranged when it turns out that her husband of years betrayed her.
I will follow Lyriq Bent’s storyline.
Bent plays Henson’s husband, Robert, and is portrayed in the film as a dreamer who also cheats on Melinda.
Robert, who was already working on a battery invention project, managed to calm Melinda down and move on in life with her.
Melinda, who had just inherited her mother’s house and thousands of dollars, felt inclined or rather decided to help Robert finance his battery project, after all he was her husband.
She also helped pay his tuition fees so he could graduate from college.
She was to continue being the provider while Robert continued working on his battery invention project till it sapped out all her inheritance money and even cost her her mother’s house.
Melinda’s family is not happy with this relationship and they urge Robert to get a job, but because Robert has a prison record as a juvenile, jobs are hard to come by.
Also, he just won’t let go of his project.
He is portrayed as a cunning, devious, scheming up-to-no-good man throughout the movie to such extent one asks him/herself why the wife is putting up with such a loser.
He could hardly hold or keep a job.
Even when Melinda’s family steps in to assist and offers him a job delivering goods at their company, he messes that up too.
The final straw comes when one of the family members discovers a woman’s purse in Robert’s work truck.
Unfortunately, it is the same woman (Crystel Stewart who plays Diana) he once cheated on his wife with those many years ago.
Melinda is enraged and she kicks Robert out of the house. Robert finds himself with nowhere to go and sleeping in a shelter for the homeless.
Diana comes to his rescue, offering her a place to stay, and she even goes a step further when she gets the company she is working for to relook at Robert’s battery invention.
Robert’s luck turns and all of a sudden he is worth millions of dollars.
This does not sit well with Melinda as she feels robbed of her love, money and time, despite the fact that Robert buys her her mother’s house back, gives her US$10 million — it still is not enough.
Melinda won’t let go of her anger and loses it.
Unlike Melinda’s storyline which is jumbled up throughout the whole movie as we are left wondering as to what purpose she was serving in the movie, Robert’s is quite clear.
Here’s a black man with a dream to get his battery invention accepted in a country that stereotypes black males.
The fact that he was once imprisoned makes it hard for him to make it in a society that is already prejudiced towards black people.
However, he holds on to his dream even though it comes at a great cost and misunderstanding.
It is time to reawaken our dreams.