Monday, March 8, 2021

Tyler Perry Defends ‘His Choice’ to Wear Dresses for ‘Madea’ Role: ‘Nobody Told Me to Put It On’

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*Tyler Perry has addressed the criticism he faced over his Madea character during his recent appearance on T.I.’s ExpediTIously podcast.

The Hollywood mogul touched on Dave Chappelle’s belief that the entertainment industry puts Black men in dresses for comic relief.

“Listen, Chappelle is one of the most brilliant people I have ever seen in my life. Not just in comedy, but the man is smart. A heavy, brilliant thinker,” Perry said, Complex reports. “So, if that is the case in Hollywood, then, okay, that’s the case. But you gotta understand, that’s not my case.”

Perry built his fortune playing Madea on stage and film, and despite Chappelle’s theory, Tyler said it has always been his choice to wear a dress to play the character.

“Nobody owned that dress but me,” he continued. “Nobody told me—a two-billion-dollar franchise. Nobody told me to put it on. Nobody makes me put it on. On stage, black man owned the whole show. It was my choice. So, when I got to Hollywood and wanted to do Diary of a Mad Black Woman, it was my choice. Nineteen movies since then, it’s been my choice.”

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Madea made her stage debut in the 1999 play “I Can Do Bad By Myself,” and her theatrical debut in 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Perry has played her in “19 movies since then.”

“I’m not a man who enjoys wearing a dress,” Perry added. “For me, as an actor, it’s a costume. It’s like if somebody goes to work at Walmart, they put on their uniform. For me, that’s putting on a uniform, going out, and making people laugh. Lifting them up. Encouraging them. The good that it does for so many people.”

Recently, Perry announced that his Madea days are behind him. 

“I’m not a man who enjoys wearing a dress,” he told T.I. “For me, an actor, it’s a costume. It like if somebody goes to work at Walmart they put on their uniform. For me, that’ s putting on a uniform, going out and making people laugh. Lifting them up. Encouraging them. The good that it does for so many people.”

WATCH:

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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