*It wasn’t that long ago that the creative properties of Tyler Perry were lambasted as little more than cultural excreta with no redeemable qualities. Nobody was thinking about how sometimes we have to appeal to the simplest desires among the consumer base in order to reach a level where you can call your own shots.
That’s exactly what happened with Perry and his Madea franchise. From small church stages to convention centers. From hustling videos out the trunk and beauty salons to opening the largest film lot in the country.
When you think about it, that’s the manifestation of the American dream. But not everyone feels that way. Recently Danielle Young of Essence magazine spoke with Perry regarding the well from which he pulls to write a black woman character.
“What I realized is that I was speaking to my mother subconsciously through my writing, saying to her, ‘You don’t have to stay in this abusive relationship. Why are you with this man? You can do better than this!’ And that’s the theme that runs through all these movies when I’m usually writing about a character,” the acclaimed director explained.
Not only has Tyler Perry built an empire on his own, he has kicked started the careers of some of our favorite black actors. Including Michael Ealy, who had this to say regarding the criticism of Perry.
“What Tyler is doing is opening doors for other people to pursue their dreams, their passions to be creative and if Madea helped him get here, I don’t see the harm,” he added.
But then there’s the peanut gallery…
It’s hard to celebrate Tyler Perry’s historic success when he got there by parodying big bodied Black women, using thinly veiled misogynoir, expressing overt transphobia and homophobia, and privileging cishet Black maleness over Black women, femmes, and queers.
But go awf.
— Dr. Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) October 7, 2019
Check out the video above to see a few of Perry’s most prized actors that he’s worked with—including Ealy, David and Tamela Mann, along with Heather Hemmens—who pushed back against the director’s harsh critics.