Home > “GIRLS TRIP,” A TRASHY THROWBACK, by Jack L. Daniel

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“GIRLS TRIP,” A TRASHY THROWBACK

              Girls Trip has been touted for opening “…to a rousing $30.4 million — the best start for an R-rated comedy in two years and the best showing for any live-action comedy so far this year…” (Pamela McClintock, July 24, 2017).   Others cite it as evidence of “diversity” in the film industry.   In my opinion, Girls Trip is a huge heap of trash if not also 2017’s best “Blaxploitation throwback,” e.g., 1970s type films such as Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Foxy Brown, and Uptown Saturday Night that exploited Black stereotypes for profit.

To put Girls Trip in perspective, consider excerpts from Susan Wloszczyna’s July 21, 2017 summary of the four Black female lead characters.  “…They include Queen Latifah as Sasha, a celebrity gossip blogger… Jada Pinkett Smith as Lisa, a prim and proper divorced nurse and mother of two who used to be a sexual dynamo back in the day… the film’s motor-mouth of mass dysfunction known as Tiffany Haddish.  Her hard-partying Dina, who lives to stir up trouble…  As for her love life, let’s just say she is the type who is ecstatic to learn that her STD diagnosis is only chlamydia… Regina Hall, …a sleekly pulled-together self-help guru and best-selling author of a book, You Can Have It All …”  

Girls Trip focuses on the above four Black women (The Flossy Posse) whose reunion consists of traveling to an Essence Festival in New Orleans.  To make clear the trashy and exploitative nature of the film, recall that some media stereotypes hold that Black women are promiscuous, highly sexualized, beings who are often angry, loud and lewd.  As a “Blaxploitation throwback,” Girls Trip provides an overdose of pure debauchery related to these stereotypes. 

Drinking until drunk is fundamental to the Flossy Posse having a good time.  For example, before their flight departs for New Orleans, one member of the Posse not only orders several drinks for herself, but also decides to order drinks for everyone in her section of the plane.  Subsequently, she stands in the isle and chants the most explicit vulgar things about the sex they intend to have in New Orleans.  Things become more decadent when one member spikes the Posse’s drinks with psychedelic drugs.

In keeping with the stereotype of insatiable sexual appetites and promiscuity, one member of the Posse incessantly rants about and demonstrates how to provide men with various forms of oral sex.  At her “comical” best, she illustrates the latest oral sex technique by using a banana pierced through a grapefruit - a scene some say will spike summer grapefruit sales.

During a romantic embrace with a Black man, one member of the Posse asks about his arm near her crotch.  True to the oversized phallic stereotype, the Black man explains that it is not his arm that she is feeling.  Later, the other three members of the Posse listen as their friend has sex with this super humanly endowed Black man. 

Things get raunchier in a crowded night club when one Posse member finds it difficult to make use of her cell phone and a Black man invites her to sit on his shoulders to get a better view and/or signal.  She not only obliges, but also mounts his shoulders with her crotch turned to his face. 

Girls Trip’s debauchery descends to various lows as, throughout the film, members of the Posse self-reference themselves and other women as “bitches.”  One might infer that calling each other “bitches” is an instance of the so-called positive semantic conversion belonging to the same genre as Blacks calling each other “niggers.”  In keeping with the “crazy bitch stereotype,” the Flossy Posse “bitches” eventually have a barroom brawl with other Black “bitches.”    

Girls Trip provides a bit of vulgar slapstick comedy when, while zip lining across the street from one hotel to another, one of the “bitches” gets stuck half way across the street.  While hanging nervously, she urinates on the crowd below.  A second wild Posse member gets on the zip line, slams into the stuck woman and, in the most contemptible manner, urinates on the crowd.  

In producing Girls Trip, one could not have intended to empower Black females given that the years out of college Flossy Posse is made up of one member who is in such a dire financial condition that she wears clothing she intends to take back to the store.  For brawling at work, a second member has been fired.  The third, a nurse, has two babies, divorced, and lives with her mother.  Although the fourth is a financial success, her worthless Black husband cheats and impregnates a “Jezebel.”  Thus we have four frustrated, horny, in heat, bad Black females easily reverting to their wild youth in a film that deserves an X not an R rating. 

Girls Trip is antithetical to BLACK GIRLS ROCK! which, as their home page indicates, is an “…empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media.  …BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves…”  http://www.blackgirlsrockinc.com/home/#.WXdBC4jyvIU  

In direct contrast to Girls Trip, consider STEP which is scheduled for release this August.  “STEP is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them.   Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college.  This all female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so…”  http://www.foxsearchlight.com/stepmovie/.  The following is a link to a STEP video clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVN4aVYA2eA&sns=em.

Instead of, for fun, feasting on derogatory stereotypes, STEP is an award winning “documentary on a Baltimore dance team (that) aims to turn ‘every single stereotype on its head.’”  Its intent is also to make the “world see the city (Baltimore) differently” (See Baltimore Sun, July 30, 2017).   At a time when Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and so many other cities are experiencing record setting numbers of homicides, this is not the time to be sedated by films such as the raunchy Girls Trip

 

 

Jack L. Daniel,

Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

 

July 30, 2017

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