Week 3 “Drag”

In bell hooks’ book, Black Looks: race and representation, she mentions that when black men do drag as black women in comedy acts, it is usually the most successful portion of the entire set (146).  This got me thinking about more contemporary movies that are/were highly popular when released.  “Big Momma’s House” was the movie that first came to my mind.  For those who haven’t seen it, it is the first link. Basically, throughout the entire movie Big Momma is doing something that is ‘comedic’.  It is known from the beginning that Big Momma is Martin Lawrence in drag the entire time though.  However, in the Madea series, Madea is played by Tyler Perry.  “Madea’s Big Happy Family” is the second clip.  Both of these movies did rather well in the box office.  hooks argues that when men dress up as black women, they are meant to be ‘ridiculed’ (146).  In the case of both of these movies/series of movies, I completely agree.  Neither of the main characters can really be taken seriously with in the context of their movie, which seem to encourage the viewers to not take older black women seriously.

-Stephanie Miller

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