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A thin line between the ‘Have’ and the ‘Have Not’s’

CHICAGO — Those who have and those who do not are much more than just a Tyler Perry sitcom. What is it like to be poor in America is an extremely broad question, so let’s walk and talk as we explore the challenges closer to home.

Chicago has a split personality ~ those that have, and those that do not have ...
Chicago has a split personality ~ those that have, and those that do not have ...
photo's by me, Ms. Rhonda B.
The Have's and the Have Not's
photo by Hawkzfilm

Most everyone has skeletons that keep them living on the edge of their own lives. Lies, affairs, secrets, and day-to-day drama make one wonder what the world is really coming to. Tyler Perry’s play, and now movie, follow the life of a wealthy family that has everything they need and most of what they want. Whenever finances are not the issue the preoccupation then seems to center around superficial things; things that many hope will remain unseen.

Is being poor simply having very little money and even fewer possessions? Is it as simple as just not having enough money for the basic things that people need to live properly? Is there a compelling argument that expresses “being poor is pretty much a state of mind?” The poor seem to be getting poorer, the rich seem to constantly be doing better and the middle class seem to slip through the middle.

The Haves and the Have Not’s” is an American primetime television show airing on the Oprah Winfrey – Tyler Perry joint venture OWN TV Network. The premise of the series is based on Perry’s 2011 play The Haves and the Have Not’s;” the airing scored the highest ratings ever for a series premiere on the network. The series is filled with weekly dose of soapy fun, filled with the typical betrayals, affairs, manipulations, and a ‘bitch’ slap or two.

The series follows three families and their lifestyles as they intersect one with the other in Savannah, Georgia: the rich and powerful, “The Haves,” and the poor and destitute young family, “The Have Not’s” lead polar opposite lifestyles in terms of social class, economics, social status, and surroundings, yet, they are each similar in that they lead exceedingly dysfunctional lifestyles. The characters are filled with experiences – typically of a serious and shocking nature – despite their attempt to keep things secret from one another; the cliché “what go on in the dark will soon come to light” unfolds dramatically as the series unfolds.

There is much to be said for the argument that reducing the poverty level will go a long way toward stopping violence in communities. There is a direct correlation between violence on the streets and the lack of opportunities in the city. Is it “us and them,” or do we say “them and us?” I do not know for sure — but, you ask, why the fuss? In the end, it is really about who is really driving the bus. The bus is your life, Gus. The problem is that the “them” look down on the “us,” never realizing that “us” could one day be a “them.” If not for the grace of God, “they” could one day become one of “us.” So whether it is “us and them” or “them and us,” the lesson is to never look upon one another with disgust.

There is a soon to be released Kenya Renee filmDeacon’s Choice.” “Deacon’s Choice” is described as a powerful story of an ex-Chicago politician that embodies the trickle effect of selfishness, cover-ups, addition, and the consequence that has chipped away at “The Haves.”

One would assume the films name derived from a religious title. However, the film’s producer, and actress, Kenya Renee, explains it as a twin story of one young lady’s journey through life, and her inner conflict to love, and to be loved by her very own mother. Deacons Choice uniquely illustrates parallel stories that are parables of happiness gloriously found, and tragically lost; linked by her father’s extramarital transgressions. This compulsive tale of a family’s secret reminds each of us that life for any of us has its own individual journey.

Now that we have come full circle, let us answer the question of how the “have not’s” can join the rank of the “haves.” The “them” have no plans to give anything to the “us.” The truth is far too many of the “us” are living below their true potential. Far too many have developed the belief that no matter how hard one may work or the level of education, the “us” will never get out of the financial and personal straitjacket.

Psychologists call this phenomenon "learned helplessness." Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books. His theory of learned helplessness is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists. Dr. Martin Seligman coined this term, and it comes down to one thing — control. The cause of learned helplessness is being repeatedly exposed to an uncontrollable event. Often, even without the failed attempts, the brain "learns" that success is beyond its control, which means that the “us” of society no longer even really attempt to become a “them.”

In order to have, the “us” has to begin to realize that the “them” have their own conflict, and demons to contend with. “Deacons Choice” is noted to be released this Summer 2014; just as people host viewing parties for the evening series “Scandal” which is also a high powered political film. By supporting “Deacon’s Choice” the writers and producers can then continue to produce uniquely illustrated parallel stories that are parables of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost link choices:

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