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10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Watching Black Movies

 (A blast from the past I felt compelled to update and edit after watching Devil in a Blue Dress again last weekend)

1. Light-skinned business women with long hair are shrewish (ie: Melissa De Sousa in The Best Man), gold-digging (ie: Michael Michele in New Jack City and Veronica Webb in In Too Deep), conniving (ie: Nicole Ari Parker in Brown Sugar), and just plain freaking wack (ie: Anne-Marie Johnson in Strictly Business). But, if they happen to be slight and British-Zimbabweanor at least look like they could be possibly be British-Zimbabweanthey’re basically the perfect woman

In keeping with the color struck typecasting, dark-skinned Black men with bald heads or ridiculous hair cuts are usually sociopathic sadists, blondes are either ridiculously stupid or the spawn of Satan, light-skinned black women with short dos are usually sweethearts, and men who look like Michael Beach are the bane of Black civilization.

2. If you’re a Black woman and you invite a cousin into your house, she will fuck your man.

(Don’t believe me? Ask Vanessa Williams. Still don’t believe me? Ask LisaRaye.)

3. All Black people belong to African Methodist Episcopal or Southern Baptist Churches.

Unless, of course, it’s a community-minded Black man. In this case, he’s definitely Muslim, and refusing to eat a junior bacon cheeseburger will be seen as a sign of righteousness.

4. Every Black person in America takes exquisite care of their hair. Each end will always be perfectly tight, each Caesar and accompanying beard will be perfectly lined up, and each lacefront will be perfectly sown in.

And, if you happen to meet a Black person who doesn’t take exquisite care of their hair, they’re either an addict, a recovering addict, or from, like, Europe or something.

5. Whenever a Black man wearing a tank top tucked into his dress pants wants to talk to you, he’s about to say some profoundly important ass shit.

Sit down, because it’s about to get heavy.

6. Playground basketball tournaments, street dance-offs, rap battles, and even step competitions are life and death propositions.

Bonds will be broken, limbs will be shattered, brothers will be backstabbed, blood will be shed, and lives will be lost. No one, not even 5 year old gangbangers and 35 year old homeless men, can escape the relentless and murderous deadliness and destruction associated with these dangerous events.

7. All White people are completely and hilariously rhythmless, awkward, and unathletic.

Unless, of course, there’s money on the line, or they’ve been hired to teach dance classes.

8. You’re definitely in the most poverty and crime-stricken part of the hood if you happen to see a woman who wears nothing but doo-rags and nightgowns all day long. Get ready to shake your head in disgust and shed some tears.

Also, the amount of Newports she smokes per day are directly proportional to the number of times that day she’s abused her child. (My suggestion? Hide a Newport, save a life.)

9. Every Black kid who has ever existed loves (loves!) to play the dozens.

There will be no kids who hate playing because they get too sensitive and want to fight when someone talks about they momma. No kids who hate playing because they can’t think of good jokes and comebacks until two weeks later. And no kids who accidentally shut everything down by saying stuff that’s just a bit too personal.

10. If ever in need of a Thanksgiving turkey, just find the nearest drug dealer and he’ll happily oblige.

They shouldn’t be too hard to find. Just walk through any inner-city neighborhood in November and you’ll find a drug kingpen and all of his chain and sweat-suit rocking henchman in an assembly-line handing out 20 pound turkeys and full chickens from a UHaul truck.

Also, if you stay around a little longer, you’ll probably witness him having a conversation with his younger brother — a Benz driving plainclothes policeman who will probably have to arrest or murder him within the next six months.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • coldsweat3

    ay

  • Poor Kimberly Elise. What, do they let her style her own hair in each movie???
    And I’ve learned that you “got to use what you got to get what you want”
    Scoff if you want to, but that lesson has served me well!

  • Any black man who sucks a lollipop is obviously a pimp and he will whoop your ass.

  • miss t-lee

    Juices and berries will have your hair lookin’ right!

  • KT

    Pimps make great philosophers. “Mayne ain’t like a dog”

  • StrawberryPoptarts

    Black women in movies go to sleep without headscarves.

    Da fvck? I just never. Braids, relaxed, two strand twists, fresh press – they all get wrapped up at night. Anytime I’ve fallen asleep without a headscarf on lemon drop martini’s have been involved.

    I’ve had the same head scarf since freshman year of college – keeps my tresses wrapped tight. And a bonnet that all the boys hate…but keeps the curls saucy.

    And for the record, Kimberly Elise may need to follow suit.

  • legitimate_soul

    1. The ice cream truck with triple gold daytons sells wayyyy more than ice cream. Everyone knows that, but no one has a problem with their child running dolo and unsupervised to the truck or to patron the truck.

    2. Judges always got time to hear from random people who ran in the courtroom or unusual court antics.

    3. No matter how effiminate the choir director is, he ain’t gay (NTTAWWT).

    4. Slap the isht out of someone first and they won’t slap you back. They are too stunned and instantly in check. Baby Powder adds to the mystique. It’s Black movie law.

  • Tosh

    Hahaa! on point brotha!

  • weethomas

    I can’t say I’ve directly learned anything from the movies . . . tonight I indirectly learned what “dolo” means. . .

  • Caspercutie

    A pot of piping hot grits and an iron skillet will get you out of an abusive relationship.
    The Lord, is the answer to everything and can lead to early parole.
    That black people anytime,anywhere will be able to perfectly execute the electric slide.

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