Tyler Perry: Cunning or Cooning?

madeaby Demetrius D. Walker

Nobody in Hollywood can hold a candle to Tyler Perry's meteoric rise to stardom in the last decade.  From niche market gospel plays to Black blockbuster bravado, Perry is the American Dream realized - a rags to riches phenomenon.  Despite Tyler Perry's cinematic and syndicated success, anchored in applying Christian family values to modern day strife, there are those who choose to label the brother a sell-out.  In defense of America's first Black movie mogul, these haters are nothing more than ornery crabs in a barrel.

Critics of Tyler Perry's work tend to cite his caricature of Madea, a fiesty, pistol packing granny, as the fundamental flaw in his representation of the Black race.  They feel that if it weren't for Perry cross dressing and posing as the boisterous, belligerent, "buffoon" we love to laugh at, he would be irrelevant.  Most recently, Spike Lee, a brother I admire, threw a pity party and chose to throw Tyler Perry under the bus.  Lee, not understanding why many of his movies have flopped by box office standards, inappropriately lashed out against Perry for stealing his shine.  Peep the clip here:

Sorry Spike, but that was a hater move homie.  Fundamentally you are complaining that the audience which appreciates your intellectually stimulating, artistic gems, is quantitatively limited, therefore relegating your films to irrelevance and elevating Brother Perry's films to prominence.  Nothing could be farther from the truth Spike.  Yes, it is difficult to gain the attention span of a generation breast fed ignorance by BET, commercialized Hip Hop, and mentally contaminated media... Trust me, if anyone knows this it's me.  But Spike, Tyler Perry supplies solutions to these problems, not provocations.

While I cannot say that I have thoroughly enjoyed every TP film, musical, or television episode I have watched, (some have been a little corny), I will admit that I see the light in all the endeavors Tyler Perry produces.  Never have I witnessed Perry using his theatrical vehicle to encourage ignorance, promote Black destruction, or attract mockery.  Perhaps it is because I, like many other Black Americans, grew up with someone strikingly familiar to Perry's Madea.  Inside my brain I shriek when critics label this character too "over the top."  If you think Madea is over the top, I challenge you to come to Harlem with me and meet my great-aunt A.P.  APReneeJasmineStep to her wrong and A.P. will curse you out worse than NWA in '91... piss her off and I hope you wore a teflon diaper cause she'll bust a cap in your @ss for sure!  So for the critics that claim characters like Madea are too unrealistic, over the top, and don't really exist in the Black community, I advise you to get off your bougie high horse and politic with your folk in the hood.

Anyone who cannot see the brilliance that Tyler Perry exudes is pointing a misguided finger.  If you just can't resist pointing out the coons that are truly responsible for the dumbing down of Black youth, let me help you out - PLIES.  Yes, this 5 foot, gold-mouthed, midget single handedly destroys more Black brain cells than malt liquor, pork fried rice, and slavery combined.  Consciously concealing the fact that he attended college, Plies tries his best to be the innovator of ignorance.  Instead of promoting the proper grammar and sentence structure he accidentally reverts to in radio interviews and chance meetings, Plies sells albums to your kids telling them to be his "bust it babies" and assuring them that he is "real."  Jamie Foxx recently called this so called "goon" out, mentioning how he cowered like a bust it baby fresh out of Newports when some real gangsters showed up to his video shoot.

Anyway, back to the debate on Tyler Perry.  Before you cast judgment on this brother I challenge you to watch Diary of a Mad Black Woman (no Bruno).  I also challenge you to investigate his opening of the first fully independent Black production studio, a studio that puts great Black talent to work amidst a Hollywood that overwhelmingly shuts us out.  If you're still not satisfied after that then kick rocks... Tyler Perry is good for Black America.