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[PART 1 of article HERE]


We shouldn’t compare, because we’re not picking one to be worse. They both involve atrocious phases in history. Shelley, Ezra’s mom, wants to make some valid points about that. She almost (kind of) does.

But it’s difficult to care about anyone’s points when the approach is in such disarray, jumping in out of nowhere. (Yeah. I know. I’m blaming my lack of this article’s focus and approach on the movie’s negative effect on me.)


Writing is where Kenya Barris’ talent lies. But here, with You People, he (Barris, the writer/director of You People. I’m not catching you up on anything else, because it’s a part two article.) is adding to a cooled-down, hardened melting pot. Or maybe the pot’s boiling over.

I know, “salad bowl” is currently P.C.

Either way, the question is the same: Why are you adding to it?

And then to fill the pot space with comedy about cocaine? Ezra does or doesn’t do coke all the time?

Ironically, the film becomes dependent on what seems to be improvisational jokey bits between Hill and unfunny people. (Sam Jay may be a nice person in real life, but her character in this is as irritating as Jennifer Coolidge or Awkwafina … never mind. I feel like I’m starting to hate on other actors to make a point I don’t even want to make. I don’t normally do this venting sh*t.)

Sam Jay


Jennifer Coolidge







They’re naturally flawed and then realistic and then forced non-token token peeps. (Actually, Barris’ TV series “black-ish” has a great episode where the youngest daughter wants a black doll. The episode attacks how corporations and pop culture can pigeonhole entire races of people as being limited and, therefore, having limited options/aspirations (even demographics). “black-ish” example: a black person is more than someone overcoming struggles. Right there. Everything the movies and TV series are trying to do about minorities and all those differences is right there in that beautiful “black-ish” quote.)

In You People? The character (actor?) interactions are simply … scripted.

Alright, yes. They’re scripted. But hold up. Let me talk this out.

There’s hardly an attempt to balance and/or develop foundations for any of the movie’s relationships. Because we’ve got children, parents, families, gender, race, friendships. Tons of opportunities here. Only, when the parties are brought together, it’s too late in the game. We have few details to work with.

It’s not like this is the first movie lacking character development, but …

Jack Byrnes – character from “Meet the Parents”

Okay, imagine if we didn’t know Robert De Niro’s character was a perfectionist in Meet the Parents. There’d be nothing to get. We wouldn’t understand. There’d be confusion why it matters that there’s more than meets the eye about the man.

How about Lauren London (her character)?

Amira – Lauren London’s character from “You People”

Her character says lines, makes facial expressions, dresses up. And we’re, now, supposed to understand where she’s coming from? All of it (lines, faces, dressing-up) is without conviction. Nothing against London. She seems like a talented actress. But an actress with no direction. (Kind of like her character.)

Ooooooh, snap!!!

Eddie Murphy’s character and that arc? We don’t know if we’re up or down (on that arc). We have no idea what his true principals and/or gripes are. A waste of talent.

Eddie Murphy is on the right

Nah! Just NAH!

And why is Jonah Hill so tan? Because he’s a poseur? I thought he was authentic. So, he’s an authentic white boy, poseur? And “white boy” can be a term of acceptance and endearment. So which version (those walking around in the real world) does Hill (Ezra) represent? (They call him “white boy” in the movie, by the way.)

Should we be doing that – wrongly attaching white people to Chads and Karens as we wrongly labeled black boys as Tyrones? (And I say, “boy,” to refer to a kid. Don’t be hatin’.)

This flip-flop of prejudices and damaging stereotypes is also currently happening with gender-reversal roles. Many movies before 2017 objectified women and put them in a less-than situation. The strong man took over. The woman was eye candy or filler. Not always, but a whole lot of the time (unless the movie was about the woman overcoming struggles … see the “black-ish” pigeonholing example above).

For the past few years, Hollywood has decided to flip-flop these intrinsic insults. Today, most mainstream movies have shirtless, hot dudes ruining everything and powerful women saving the day. Earth to Earthlings, the idiotic concept is stereotyping any group as less-than.

I’ve got to get on to the next section, so …


Really, everyone in You People is miscast and has no direction … except Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

How sweet would it be if Barris and Dreyfus made a spinoff from “Seinfeld” where her character Elaine moves to a primarily black neighborhood (like Detroit). And the racial and cultural differences, between a black community and a Jewish woman, are never even addressed.

(NOTE TO SELF: Don’t put this in the article. Pitch it to NBC.)


The transitions are not hip-hop hip or new. They’re simply distracting. Like a bad soda-pop commercial.


Do I utterly despise You People? Not really. I’m just being evil and as distressed as possible to match the movie’s vibe. Because it messed me up as a person (a people?).

I don’t feel scarred or ashamed or confused like a good little viewer who needs to be taught a lesson but, instead, poked in the chest. Not by a black filmmaker, just by … an inconsiderate punk. (To be clear, I was never sure if Barris was a man, or woman, or black, or Asian. For reals. I saw his picture for the first time when writing this article. Is he Middle Eastern? A question. That’s all.)

Kenya Barris

I know, Hill (remember, Ezra) says something like this in the movie. That he doesn’t know how it is to be a black man but that he knows what an a$$hole is (yep, I spoiled some more). But, by that point in the movie, that line means close to nothing (AND what a waste of a joke for Murphy. I know what an a$$hole is? Come on! That’s shit handed over on a platter!)


I love being challenged and exposed.

Puzzling movies? Bring ‘em on.

Frustrating movies? Those are my rock(s). (Not my jam[s], in case I’m called out for being a bigot in some bigot-coded way that drips with today-lingo and does nothing but segregate all human beings … I mean, I hope you’ve picked up on my assimilation dialect in this article. I’ve been dabbling into some dated phrases, too.)

Movies that instigate hopelessness? They’re my absolute fav (to blatantly add in some lingo that’s currently despised and used to humiliate white people and millennials … because, you know, it used to be that using slang was low class … now, enunciating is considered haughty … The “The Boondocks” cartoon has made this clear [pun intended] … sooooo much hate on that show … but anyway …).

You People, unfortunately, doesn’t make me hopeless. It makes me angry that people (like Barris) pretend to know something more than the rest of us. Pretending he’s not trying to figure it out in a script. Or are he and Hill dense together? I don’t know. I feel insulting. Insulted. Ugh.

I know. I know. I get most of us are trying to do something, the right thing, for each other and as patiently as we know how and with the kind of acceptance we’d like from Martin Luther King Jr. … or am I not allowed to reference an idol of mine? … or … can he be my idol? … can I celebrate black artists on my own time, or do I have to keep it to one month? … what’s happening? … do I need to tape my mouth like Larry Flint? … I’m not even sure Flint’s idol-worthy …



Beyond race, beyond current topics, I now envision Barris as a mess of a man. And I hate when this happens to entertainers whom I admire, because I then question everything they’ve put out before. Were they always ignorant, arrogant, etc.? (I hated the very end of the “black-ish” episode where the son convinces his father it’s fine to smoke marijuana. A mixed-message moron moment. I thought that was my only true dislike for Barris’ work. Mmm-hmm.)

Dear White People and The Hate You Give had problems similar to this (just like all those bigoted, racist, mostly-white-made movies since cinema began), but I expected more intelligence and brotherhood from Barris. Instead, I find myself disagreeing with Murphy’s character (Akbar) calling Ezra brother by the end. (Yeah. I did it. I spoiled one more time.)

You want to see camaraderie, watch Murphy and Seinfeld talk on the extra-long episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

Eddie Murphy is on the left

And –

I’m actually going to abruptly quit this article right now, because I’m annoyed with being annoyed.

Thanks a lot, You People.

[NOTE: The vernacular/slang/lingo used in this article are predominantly used by the black community (most likely invented by the black man) and are recently used, borrowed, and stolen by other races. I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with beginnings and losses of phrases. We still say “crazy” which is from the beatniks of the 1950’s. Or was it the 1920’s jazz era? As Clay Davis would say, “Sheeee-it.”]

Clay Davis – character from “The Wire”

[NOTE: I don’t know if black women contributed to the slang noted above. Look it up yourself.]
Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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