Singleton: Comedies Stereotype Black Men

Martin Lawrence in a publicity shot for "Big Momma's House 2" and Eddie Murphy in a scene from "Norbit."
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Producer and director John Singleton says he's been questioned about his use of violence in films like "Baby Boy" or "Shaft." But, he wonders why journalists aren't asking about a different kind of portrayal of black men in films like "Norbit" and "Big Momma's House."

"Nobody who has ever asked me about that has ever complained about the successful movies that are coming out that feature men with dresses on," he tells in a recent interview. "I applaud Tyler Perry for his independence, but when it's Tyler Perry, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence and nobody is telling them anything bad about it or telling young boys 'you know that this is just a joke' and they call those movies 'family movies.'"

"Most of the movies that are comedies are coon shows," he adds.

Singleton says there are exceptions, like the recently released "Talk To Me" starring Don Cheadle. But he believes those films aren't getting the exposure they deserve.

"'Talk To Me' was a great comedy. I'm not attacking either film because we are all in the family, and I wish them success, but I just think that it is a shame that 'Who's Your Caddy?' got a thousand screens and 'Talk To Me' only got 50. People are hungering for a great movie," he said.

Photos: Eddie Murphy
As far as the violence in his own films, Singleton says that he's drawing as much inspiration from the classic tragedies as he is from the 'hood.

"You watch 'Baby Boy,' and that film is real ghetto but the way that I'm doing it, unless you had a background in literature, you wouldn't know that there's Greek tragedy in there," he said.

A rep for Eddie Murphy told The ShowBuzz, "we have no comment."

Singleton's latest work as a producer is the thriller "Illegal Tender" starring Rick Gonzalez and Wanda de Jesus. It opens Aug. 24. He's also set to direct Halle Berry in "Tulia" and is working on the comic book adaptation "Luke Cage."

By Judy Faber