Making Peace With Tyler Perry

by Tami Winfrey Harris

This is not another article about how Tyler Perry is ruining black America with his minstrelsy, sexism, or thoughtless religiosity. There are enough articles like that. I have written several myself. On the contrary, this post is about how I made my peace with the Bard of Black America and found better targets for my righteous indignation.

Perry and I have long-running beef. One-sided, of course. I am well aware that the accomplished TV, film and stage impresario, who is worth an estimated $350 million, is not studying me. It’s like the Biggie/Tupac beef if, instead of one of the best and most successful rappers of all time, Pac was a blogger.

Though Perry doesn’t know or care, I have been disturbed at his elevation by the mainstream as some storyteller of the black experience.  And, if I am honest, I am none too pleased about his popularity within the black community either. It’s not that I don’t admire the brother’s hustle. I wish I had that kind of work ethic and mojo. But I am no fan of the Perry ethos. I think he makes black women’s lives harder, in particular, by reinforcing sexism and the centuries-old stereotypes the plague us. I wish a brother like Perry, with so much money and support behind him, could present a better case for black womanhood than the big, ball-busting granny and the embittered, work-obsessed, money-hungry bourgie chick who doesn’t know how to appreciate a good, blue collar man. Actually, his portrayal of blackness as a whole, to me, amounts to a combination of dysfunction, shucking and jiving and saccharine set to gospel music.

My views on Perry haven’t changed. He is never going to be my favorite director. But I realize the energy I have put into railing against his efforts is misdirected. And I realize that I am indulging in a form of respectability politics that is more hurtful than helpful.

My eyes were opened while writing an article, “No Disrespect: Black Women and the Burden of Respectability,” for Bitch magazine. Inspired by negative reaction to Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of maids in The Help, I wrote about how the personal and professional choices of black women in the public eye are routinely judged through the perilously unflattering lens of the majority culture — Eurocentric, patriarchal, Judeo-Christian, heteronormative and middle class — and found wanting. Davis and Spencer (and Halle Berry and Erykah Badu and Beyonce) are not allowed to be simply women or performers, but, by dint of their blackness, are asked to serve as ambassadors whose every decision reinforces the respectability of black folks to white America. That means Davis and Spencer are criticized for playing domestic workers. Halle Berry is criticized for having graphic sex with a white man in Monster’s Ball. And Erykah Badu is judged for having children out of wedlock as Beyonce is praised for using her uterus “the right way.” That is how respectability politics work. And, in my article, I judge that extra burden as unfair and damaging.

Respectability politics serve to curtail the individual liberties of people who have spent centuries fighting to be free. For black female actors and other artists, this may mean making choices based not on what’s best for their careers and personal lives, but instead, on what serves to convince the majority culture that people like them deserve respect.

…..

Policing the behavior of black women is not the answer. If it is wrong for a contemporary black actress to portray a maid, what message are we sending to black women who do domestic work? If it is wrong to be shown having sex with white men, what does that say about black women in interracial relationships with white men? If Erykah Badu is a whore for having children out of wedlock, what does that say about all black single mothers? Indeed, since more than half of births to all women under 30 occur outside of marriage (regardless of race), what does it say about women as a whole?

I have, hypocritically, directed the same unfair expectations I abhor toward Tyler Perry and his career. I have expected him to be my ambassador, communicating my secular, feminist, middle class, progressive values to the masses. But he is not me. However disappointing I find his schtick, it is his. Perry has done the work and paid the price. And there is no doubt he believes he is doing what is best, not only for himself, but as a member of the black community. And there is this: For as much as I don’t identify with Perry’s output, there are plenty of black folks who see their lives reflected in his storytelling. As Perry said on 60 Minutes, in response to Spike Lee’s criticism:

“I would love to read that [criticism] to my fan base. … That pisses me off. It is so insulting. It’s attitudes like that, that make Hollywood think that these people do not exist, and that is why there is no material speaking to them, speaking to us.” …”all these characters are bait – disarming, charming, make-you-laugh bait. I can slap Madea on something and talk about God, love, faith, forgiveness, family, any of those.”

But the most important thing is this conclusion from the Bitch article:

The goal of respectability politics may be noble, but the execution is flawed, damaging, and ineffective. By indulging in respectability politics, we acquiesce to the racially biased idea that the actions of individual black people are representative of the whole. We add to the pre-existing burdens of racism and sexism. And we fail to solve our problem, because we move the responsibility for eradicating race and gender biases from the powerful institutions and systems that perpetuate them to those oppressed by them. It is easier to try to control the oppressed than challenge the oppressor, but it is rarely a humane or useful approach.

Perry may be powerful, but he is still a black man within a Hollywood power structure that is overwhelmingly white. The problem is not Perry, though he makes a convenient target. The problem is an entertainment industrial complex that feels more comfortable pushing Big Momma’s HousePart Eleventybillion than Pariah. The problem is there can be many important white, male directors, but the industry only makes room for one black director du jour per generation. The problem is Hollywood will not cast black women as romantic leads, superheroes, or simply multi-dimensional characters. And fandom tends to hate blackfemale characters, however, they are drawn. The problem is that in Hollywood, all women are marginalized and women of color doubly so, and most people of color are stereotyped and exoticized. Whatever you thought of Red Tails, it is significant that even a man as mighty as George Lucas couldnt get funding to tell the story, however imperfectly, of World War II heroes who happen to be black.

In other words, there are a whole lot of systematic problems bigger than Tyler Perry. If Madea and the Browns existed alongside diverse portrayals of people of color … then, fair enough. The problem isn’t the existence of Angela, a Sapphire-type character in Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and For Better or Worse. The problem is that there are few counterpoints to Angela. And that isn’t Tyler Perry’s fault.

I can dislike Tyler Perry’s shows and movies. (Except Daddy’s Little Girls, cause … Idris Elba). I can continue to find them overly broad. I can even critique his lack of gender politic. But I can’t get mad at a brother for not creating characters and stories just for me any more than I can get mad at Judd Apatow. Well, I can get mad (I get mad at some of Apatow’s dudely output, too.); it’s just that I have to reserve at least as much energy for a fucked up system that abets and amplifies any damage done by Perry.

 

  • Smilez_920

    Instead of complaining ( not you personally) about who you don’t like, spend your energy supporting the ones you do like. Spike Lee just put out a new movie ” A Summer in Red Hook” there are other black directors and actors and story tellers who are trying to diversify the black experience. We just don’t give them shine. We spend more time criticizing the ones we don’t like instead of encouraging the ones we do like.

    ( side note: I see you mentioned the beyounce baby in wedlock thing . I felt those articles were being geared more at young women 16 – 21. Yes ericka Badu has three children with different fathers but Erykah isn’t like the majority of women who do for the most part. )

  • JN

    I am glad you acknowledged this. Perry’s Black films are not representative of the whole Black experience nor are they meant to be. The fact of the matter is some Black people can relate to it. Pariah spoke to a specific crowd, Red Tails did too, and so did the Help. Now, I can’t say I relate to EVERY Black film that comes out but I try to respect another person’s decision to see it. There are plenty of indie films to support I wish there would be more articles on those rather than the one or two every so often bashing a particular film because it did not represent all of us. That is the beauty of being Black–Blacks are not a homogenous group. Sometimes the beauty is in the diversity OF Black films, not the diversity within them. We still have choices.

  • Child, Please

    I like this take on Tyler Perry; most people would sweep this angle and the fact that there is a market (read: folks are actually looking and paying to see this) for his work. I think for every Madea, there are other works he’s attached his name to such as The Family that Preys. I also think Tyler’s counter to Spike (while some may not agree) is something we argue here on clutch all the time: we aren’t monolithic, so why should our portrayals on screen be?

    I also have to point out that the examples given in this statement: “That means Davis and Spencer are criticized for playing domestic workers. Halle Berry is criticized for having graphic sex with a white man in Monster’s Ball. And Erykah Badu is judged for having children out of wedlock as Beyonce is praised for using her uterus ‘the right way.’” (save the last two) are a bit out of context to me. (Perhaps someone can enlighten me otherwise, I’m interested in hearing another take on this).

    While there were some who had a problem with Davis and Spencer playing the help, but rather who was telling the story and why. The back story was more of a controversy than anything and their performance was sill praise worthy. Again, it doesn’t seem it was what they did, just how that story was told and the fact that it was told through the lens of a white author who to some seemed to exploit who the book is based off of, which goes back to your point of the system. Who decides which narratives around civil rights or injustice are appropriate for the masses and which ones are too harsh for the reality – or the reality some have created for themselves? (Apparently, Disney)

    In the case of Halle, I don’t know if people realized this or not, but – race aside – that was basically a way of romanticizing rape. They were drunk and he took it, but someone is bound to say she asked for it in the heat of the moment, thus making it consensual, and (as the director tried to say) showcased how they needed each other. (Sure they did).

    In the case of the last two instances, well, that strikes me as typical medieval stance on women, the virgin versus the prostitute (for lack of not knowing/recalling the proper terminology.) and highlights the acceptable ways in which a woman’s body can be used, which goes back to your point that the system is constructed to create what is acceptable and what isn’t in a society where we aren’t all monotonous.

    This is a great read and one we can all learn from! Sorry for the essay, lol!

  • Brook

    Well, I’m glad you made peace with that.

    I for one will not and having been supporting Mr. Perry’s work since I figured out his *nitch*.

    Give me Spike Lee and John Singleton any day.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    I get what Tami is saying but Tyler is not blameless. He has agency even if it might be impaired by Hollywood. His portrayals of Black women are so overtly stereotypical that I actually think Perry hates Black women. I can’t let him off the hook since as Tami says his work directly impacts my life by perpetuating gross stereotypes of Black women.

    And one more thing; I don’t respect his, Tyler Perry’s, hustle. I also don’t respect the hustle of rappers that call Black women b*tches and h*oes and I don’t respect the hustle of drug dealers.

    Yep, it would be a lot easier to make peace with Tyler Perry but I’m going to wait until he makes peace with me.

  • NCR

    “I am well aware that the accomplished TV, film and stage impresario, who is worth an estimated $350 million, is not studying me. It’s like the Biggie/Tupac beef if, instead of one of the best and most successful rappers of all time, Pac was a blogger.”

    By the authors own admission he is worth 350 million dollars and still he has not yet once made a movie that hasn’t made black women look like complete fools. He has the money to do so, he just doesn’t want to. He is no better than eddie murphy, chris rock, martin Lawrence or any other person who thinks it’s amusing to make black women the butt of jokes.

  • lw

    Well said. His hatred of Black women is pretty apparent, even as it hides behind his love of Oprah, Whitney Houston, etc… And on a side note it REALLY irritates me how he “de-glams” all of the Black female stars in his movies (Jill Scott, Janet, Gabby Union), but makes sure that all of the men are visually on point. If he came out of the closet and dealt with his issues, stopped pandering and “dumbing it down”, his movies would surely improve.

  • BeautifulBlackMind

    Wow, I actually really love this article. I too am a huge Tyler Perry critic, but for some reason I felt that the energy I felt baggering him to my friends or on YouTube was misplaced. I think you helped me figure out why…

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    I agree, Tyler Perry has some deep issues, some of which he has admitted to, and those issues, IMO, have definitely affected the way he portrays Black people on film and on his TV shows.

  • http://gravatar.com/whattamisaid Tami (Clutch Contributor)

    @Brooks and @Val,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Make no mistake, when I say that I have made peace with Tyler Perry that doesn’t mean that I’ll be standing in line for the next Madea atrocity. I’m also not going to stop writing about and analyzing his work. But, I think moving forward:

    - When I discuss Perry, I need to put his output in context and critique that context (i.e the larger system) as fervently as I critique Perry.
    - I need to be wary of buying into the racist idea that any ridiculous black, female character that Perry creates is representative of me. And I need to check other folks–black and not–who position his characters as representative.
    - I need to be mindful that I have my own biases (of class and other things) and I need to make sure that those things don’t color my interpretations.

    I still think Tyler Perry sucks, but there are nuanced ways to think about and communicate his suckitude. Perry has become sort of a lightning rod for educated, middle class, feminist black women like me–a symbol for a whole lot of the shit we take on the regular. But simply painting him as a misogynist, buck-dancing devil who will destroy all of black America after taking down the black woman with his drag comedy stylings misses all kinds of larger societal points. It’s so easy to go there and it doesn’t help.

    Now, Steve Harvey…My beef with him is still soooo on!

  • Malik Hemmans

    nice article…i feel like his stans will get tired of his corny ass movies and tv shows

  • Malik Hemmans

    Cosby destroyed himself

  • Smilez_920

    -So can your theory also be used with reality tv shows Like basketball wives and love and hip hop?

    -Steve Harvey is another type of beast lol. But he is marketing himself well .

    -I think we get heated with ppl like Tyler Perey because of the lack of diversity within our own entertainment. In all honesty we woundnt have this ” Tyler represents the whole black culture ” chip on shoulders if we had more shows on air that viewed us in a different light. Again a different light might not always be a Cosby themed type show ( we have this tendency to fall back into that example , when we try to create ” other ” black shows) .

    Sometimes we try so hard to show ppl the ” black experience ” that we end up cheaping it with overdone stero types , boring cliches and repetitive story lines.

  • http://gravatar.com/whattamisaid Tami (Clutch Contributor)

    Thanks so much for your comment. A few things:

    - The criticism of Davis and Spencer was really varied. I go into it more in the Bitch article. Some folks rightly were upset by the ahistorical portrayal of black women; that in the film, the story became more about the white savior than black women; and that that the the white author of The Help may have appropriated the story of a real-life black woman. But some other folks hinted that black women just shouldn’t be playing maids in 2012–that the roles themselves were simply undignified. I think that last critique is the problem.

    - I did not read the sex scene in Monster’s Ball as a rape, so we’re going to have differing views on this one. But your argument, I think, would be a valid one. However, a lot of folks criticized Halle for doing a graphic sex scene period. Even Angela Basset came for her, saying she turned down the role because she wasn’t going to be a “prostitute” on film.

    - You’re right about the Badu/Beyonce thing being the age-old Madonna/Whore argument, which is, sexist. But black women’s sexuality is critiqued differently than white women’s sexuality. This is one way the sexism intersects with racism. Compare how Angelina Jolie is viewed as an unmarried mother with how Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill are viewed.

  • http://gravatar.com/whattamisaid Tami (Clutch Contributor)

    @Smilez_920–Thanks for your comment. I agree about needing to see diverse representations of the black experience.

    I definitely think this discussion applies to reality TV as well. In the Bitch article linked above, I wrote:

    “The image of black female dignity is routinely attacked by a 24/7 media-industrial complex that serves up a steady stream of caricature. Scripts featuring fully formed black female roles may be difficult to find, but the exploding popularity of unscripted television has placed an increasing number of stereotypical black female characters in the public eye—characters presumed to represent “real” black womanhood. In her book Reality Bites Back, Jennifer Pozner points out that producers in the reality tv genre specifically seek out “characters” that represent gender and racial stereotypes—namely angry black women.

    Bravo’s popular Real Housewives franchise—a reality juggernaut that keeps spawning new shows—follows the antics of groups of bourgeois women from various U.S. cities. Nearly all participants are presented as bullying, narcissistic, backstabbing, money-grubbing, cliquey, disloyal, arrogant, self-involved, willfully ignorant, poorly spoken, wasteful, and tackily nouveau riche. It makes for good television. But the mostly African-American Atlanta cast’s dysfunction is accepted as uniquely black, a confirmation of a host of stereotypes about poor, ignorant, urban people; loud, angry black women; and shiftless black men. The cast is discussed in the blogosphere using racialized terms, including, frequently, “ghetto.” By contrast, the Beverly Hills, Orange County, New York, and New Jersey wives are not seen as representative of white culture or white womanhood. They are not discussed using racialized terms. And few white people are spending time being embarrassed by their hijinks.

    The question is: Who is most to blame for the images of black women we see? In the case of the Real Housewives franchise, it is series creator and Bravo executive Andy Cohen, who selects the casts and guides storylines through editing and behind-the-scenes maneuvering. But modern purveyors of respectability politics have concerned themselves with black women like Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes. Loud, aggressive, and crass, Leakes is often charged with setting black women back through her behavior. For instance, earlier this year, in an interview with HelloBeautiful.com, actor Brian White (Stomp the Yard) derided Leakes while calling her presence on television an accurate depiction of reality, and urged the black community to do better by saying, “You can’t call it a stereotype if it’s the majority.””

    Sorry to cut and paste, but I’m feeling lazy. LOL!

  • ChillyRoad

    @Tami

    “You’re right about the Badu/Beyonce thing being the age-old Madonna/Whore argument, which is, sexist.”

    The critique of Badu isn’t sexist. No one compares Beyonce to Badu. Lauryn Hill had a few of her children while unmarried by the same man before Beyonce and I NEVER saw a comparison made between the two. People criticise Badu, not because she has three children out of wedlock but because there are by three different men while she portrays herself as a black Madonna, ironically.

    “But black women’s sexuality is critiqued differently than white women’s sexuality. This is one way the sexism intersects with racism.”

    And its partly because of the astronomical number of children born out of wedlock to black women compared to white women.

    “Compare how Angelina Jolie is viewed as an unmarried mother with how Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill are viewed.”

    Jolie isn’t viewed any different than Hill except for the status of Hill’s on again off again supposedly married partner. Jolie has been with Pitt “monogamously” for many years now.

  • ChillyRoad

    You guys don’t give Perry enough credit and you guys give black women even less. So he doesn’t portray every black woman in every single one of his films as a younger hipper version of Michelle Obama. So what? Remember black women are varied-some good, some bad, most right in the middle.

    His star character, Madea, was made famous by black women. Granted these black women probably don’t know any better considered they never enrolled into the Intro to Racialized Sexist Images of Black Women from the 1920s Onward in undergrad but they liked her style and all her supporting characters.

    Stop being so paternalistic toward black women. They don’t all want to be burning incense ranting about the black Patriarchy.

  • ChillyRoad

    Is it me or does it feel like the Student Union in here?

  • http://gravatar.com/whattamisaid Tami (Clutch Contributor)

    @ChillyRoad, no one is being paternalistic toward black women. Most of us here ARE black women. Black women know we are a diverse people. The rest of the world often forgets that. THAT is the problem. Imagery matters when you are a member of any marginalized group.

    Also, the idea that some women want Perry to exclusively create positive female characters is a straw man. What we do wonder is how a man with such creativity and drive can’t create a female character that does not conform to centuries-old stereotypes about black women as Sapphires, Jezebels and Mammies.

  • ChillyRoad

    @Tami

    I know most here are black women. As black and as womanly as the people who made Perry a multi-millionaire. Did they know what they were doing sitting in those seats at his plays, buying his DVDs, going to his movies?

    Thankfully, women like you can show them the error of their ways.

  • ?!?

    Exactly. I see what the author is saying. Also black people themselves will flock to go see some stereotypical stuff, but I don’t agree that Hollywood made him do it lol. He does most of this on his own. Remember all those black rom-coms of the 90s and early 2000s? Remember Think Like a Man? Black people do go see things that don’t have foolishness in it. He just doesn’t want to be original and write anything different. I understand that there are people with these backgrounds, but the majority of his movies are about a bougie black woman getting knocked off her pedestal and falling into the arms of a blue collar man or a bougie black woman who is stereotypically emasculating. I just don’t buy that he can’t do better. He chooses to right the same stuff. Is there any play or movie of his that doesn’t shoe black women as

    -loud
    -fat and sad
    -loud and fat
    -loud and fat and sad
    -ghetto
    -bougie and stuck up
    -abused and pathetic

    ???

    The black men that he writes are usually not stereotypical. They are almost always professionals or kind, blue collar men.

    Maybe he thinks this is the black version of damsel in distress. I just get tired of seeing the same portrayals of BW. And he is not at fault for our portrayal, but it starts with someone doing something different. He is the person that is most in a position to make a change and he doesn’t. We say that white Hollywood should do better, but black writers themselves play into stereotypes rather than doing something new.

  • http://gravatar.com/khrish67 khrish67

    Why does every film have to be representive of Black American life as some want it told? I have never understood this constant put down of Tyler Perry films. He makes films that happen to appeal to lots of people of colour. Some of them I like, some of them I don’t. Those I don’t like I simply don’t go to see, but many others do which leaves me to believe that THEY like them. I like the idea that all people get a chance to see what they like. Every since this man has had the opportuntunity to put his films in theatres, people have been gripping. He paid his dues, he did his homework and he had his audience compiled before he came to film. I admire him. People have been telling him who he should allow to direct his films and all kind of things; but he’s made lots of money and he really doesn’t need their direction. My hat’s off to him. He found his way to rise to the theater and he is using it….good for him…Go on Mr. Perry. We can certainly use more Perrys,Lees and others who present us with choices in our movie taste. don’t like, see something else. Let’s stop feeling that every director or film maker has to present us a ROOTS or others of the same ilk. Give the man a break and move on to what you do want to see.

  • Keke

    The problem is not Tyler Perry per se, but it’s a problem with selection. The selection of movie roles and stories is limited with people of color. For every American Pie, there is a series of dramatic award winning movies that feature White American actors. However, for many people of color, including African Americans, this just isn’t the case. Many of our stories are just as heartfelt but don’t have “mainstream,” (or really it’s “White people don’t really want to believe that you all are normal and multi-faceted so we will either not fund it or won’t see it), appeal. So I don’t knock those of his hustle or others of his ilk either, but damn, that really does put us between a rock and a hard place. I say we stop depending on Hollywood to fund our projects and just like we elevated Tyler Perry to his cult status, we elevate others who have other stories to tell as well.

  • Brook

    Even though I agree with being fair and seeing things from other peoples perspective, I don’t agree with the above statement. I think this is where we black people are losing our identity. Our morals and ethical values have shifted in many way. When we see something wrong, why not correct it? Must we be deviant, distorted, contaminated, and culturally deteriorated because white people are doing it?

    We must do better!

  • NCR

    Why should we give him a break? Why should we applaud or take our hats off to him. Yes HE found a way up, but as did many of the black MEN in Hollywood (yes I’m calling them out) he used our (black women’s) image and trampled it in the mud to get to the top. Basically he’s only up because he’s stepping on our backs to be elevated.

    So no I’m not proud of him and I’m not going to give him any props. And we certainly don’t need anymore Tyler Perry’s to “create variety” in the way of pigeonholing all black women in to loud obnoxious women. I don’t think anyone is asking for ROOTS they are asking NOT to look like a fool on television 24/7
    they are asking not to be pegged in an OBVIOUSLY harmful stereotype

    He is no better than any of the rappers that call black women bitc** and Who** to get to the top. He might actually be worse because even thought we can clearly see that they hate us people like Tyler perry, steve harvey, martin lawrence, eddie murphy etc are much more insidious with there agenda.

  • NCR

    *their*

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    I get what you’re saying and I don’t disagree. And truthfully part of my problem may be class based. And I agree that the system needs to be criticized as well as Perry.

    But, there is one thing that I do disagree with;

    ” – I need to be wary of buying into the racist idea that any ridiculous black, female character that Perry creates is representative of me. And I need to check other folks–black and not–who position his characters as representative.”

    Unfortunately as an unfavored minority inside of an unfavored minority people are going to generalize about us. I wish we lived in a world where we were seen by all as individuals, but we aren’t.

    And that means that even though intellectually we know that Perry’s work portrays a gross and stereotypical representation, we have to continue pushing back because the world around us is going to judge us and worse sometimes treat us a certain way based upon those images.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.tamarawinfreyharris.com Tami (Clutch contributor)

    Yeah, I think we pretty much agree.

    Stereotyping is a fact of life for us even though it is wrong. Black women carry all the negative portrayals with us wherever we go–everytime we intereview for a job, etc. I’m not naive about that.

    I just think that while we push back on poor portrayals in media and art, it’s also important that we push back on generalizing about who we are and, especially, don’t acquiesce to it.

  • JC

    I can’t stop thinking of that Boondocks episode.

    “I never thought I’ll be with a man so loving and light skinned”
    “I am dark skinned and bold, so I hate you and I hate Jesus”

  • Rakel

    I enjoyed this article and your other article on Bitch media. I think the respectability aspect plays such a crucial role because there is such a lack of diverse Black women on tv/film. Although Tyler Perry can do more about this, I agree there is a systematic influence that pushes certain Black movies and excludes others. Hollywood has its views on Black America, and they’re sticking with it. We have to create our own and support Black filmmakers.

  • Sick

    Whether you love or hate Tyler, you MUST give the brother props for making his OWN movies, writing and directing!!! He does not have to go begging for work he created work for many actors who otherwise you would never have seen!!!!! In other words, he created jobs!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sick

    Excuse me Val, but I have to tell you that Hollywood put the STEREO in STEREOTYPICAL!!!!! IF you learn the history of film, that is the only way they know how to tell a story by using stereotypes. It was the only way writers and directors could get their stories across during the silent era. But even though sound came about stereotypes were still used to convey images. Tyler did not start this. Most scriptwriters in television and film cannot tell a decent story without the use of stereotypes. Sad but true.

  • http://pinkpantiesandleopardlipstick.wordpress.com PinkPantiesandLeopardLipstick

    I couldn’t get through this… I got lost when the opener clearly stated this isn’t a Perry bashing piece and then bashed, and then halfway through…. the author stayed bashing! LOL Quite hilarious indeed. I’m SO over this argument! If you don’t like or agree… DON’T WATCH! Its ENTERTAINMENT! Let’s not talk about how this Black man is giving people jobs and putting actors on screen that prob wouldn’t get a chance from anyone else in this industry… nahhhhhhhh lets not do that! #FOH

    I will admit, sometimes the rolls portrayed are WAY overboard and SUPER stereotypical (i.e. Meet the Brown’s and For Better or Worse), but sometimes I think its just bad acting and wack jokes in those instances…

    I’m not going to discount his entire catalogue for a few bad episodes or movies…. but hey, thats just me.

    #TeamPerry

  • Blaque217

    These words could have come straight out of my head onto this page of this article (If I could write as powerfully as Ms Harris. LOL )
    You have touched on all of the things I’ve been standing on my soap box yelling to anyone who’d listen for the past several years.

    “I can dislike Tyler Perry’s shows and movies. (Except Daddy’s Little Girls, cause … Idris Elba).” Um, hello, have we met? But seriously, how I wish Black Hollywood would choose integrity over currency more often. We need more actors/actresses like Cicely Tyson. A woman who decided she would only accept roles that portrayed Black women in a positive way.

    I’ve always thought Tyler Perry was a hustler. A successful hustler, but a hustler nonetheless. I’m proud of him for all that he has accomplished but I wish he didn’t have to hurt Black folks in order to flourish. This article has given me another perspective. Tyler Perry doesn’t make movies specifically for me. And I guess if I were a writer/director/producer I would make movies from my heart and wouldn’t care who “got it” or “didn’t get it”. I would be true to myself. And I guess that’s what Tyler is doing. Can’t be mad at that!

  • http://gravatar.com/queentraveller QT

    Great article!!! I’ve been saying if for years—it’s not the story being told that’s the problem per say. As redundant, formulaic and unoriginal as these stories maybe, they tell still tell stories that are true to many. One story can’t be true for everyone. The problem is the lack of diversity in the stories being told. We need to see more movies and shows that depict different kinds of black characters. Some of us are sick and tired of watching the same stories over and over again that perpetuates stereotypes about us and doesn’t add depth to the understanding of black INDIVIDUALS. I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself about your feelings towards Mr. Tyler. I think Tyler’s Madea stuff was okay at first and every now and then there’ll be a nice moment in his films. If it doesn’t bother him that he hasn’t shown much growth in his writing and directing, than why should it bother me? I even think he should keep writing these movies and directing the same films a million times over again if he wishes. My only beef with him is that now that he has an empire—why doesn’t he give other black people the opportunity to write and direct different kinds of movies? Even Judd Apatow has extended an arm to women writers so they can do the things he cannot: “Bridesmaids” and “Girls.” In the beginning, it was understandable why he stayed within his comfort zone but there’s no reason not to at least encourage and support other upcoming writers and directors and help push diversity in the mainstream.

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