Friday, April 22, 2011

I Don't Hate Tyler Perry, I Just Don't Like Him

This week Tyler Perry is releasing "Madea's Big Happy Family". With the release of the movie this week Perry has been doing some press and decided to respond to some 2 year old comments by Spike Lee saying that Perry’s films resorted to negative stereotypes of African-Americans. Now I do think that Tyler does make movies that are not helpful to the black community but I do think that his intentions do come from a good place. He tries to attack social issues and instead bringing awareness to them he creates a divisiveness effect within the black community. He the right to make movies and just like Soulja Boy in rap everybody has a place. I guess brother Tyler had enough of not only what Spike had to say but what a lot of black people are saying.
His words actually were "I'm so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee," Perry said during the press conference (via Box Office Magazine). "Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, 'this is a coon, this is a buffoon.' I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: 'you vote by what you see,' as if black people don't know what they want to see." The funny thing about was that nobody ever actually asked him about Spike Lee at this particular time, Mr. Perry just kind of snapped off. Yes your audience does vote with their ticket receipt and does have right to enjoy your movies but others do have the right to point out that fact that you make horrible movies. When I am say horrible I am not just attacking the subject matter but the way the movies are shot and produced. It is kind of ironic him going to hard to defend his audience when he insults them himself by putting out bad products. Also his belief that he has to put out dumb down product so it will relate to his audience.
Maybe the craziest quotes from this particular interview were when he says that "Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' was a new version of the 'darkie' because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone," Perry offered. "And I'm sick of it from us; we don't have to worry about anybody else trying to destroy us and take shots because we do it to ourselves." Let's not get ahead ourselves nothing that you are doing Tyler compares to the work that this individuals produced and has no where near the intellectual content. If you are comparing Madea to the Souls of Black Folk, I am going to have to ask you to submit to a drug test.
Lets not play the black hating on other blacks angle that comes out from those just don't produce good products. I can name 3 black directors that put out very good products such as F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen), Antoine Fuqua (Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn's Finest) and John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood). Unfortunately the perception is that the black director in Hollywood to have is Tyler Perry.

The Misuse of The Black Church Audience

Tyler Perry movies are made to target the support of the black church. As one pastor can be quoted "Tyler will always try to work God into his movies". That maybe true but that is like the guy who can't sing at Apollo doing a gospel song. The crowd knows that the guy sucks but they don't boo because they feel like they are booing God. Just because you are marketing to an under served segment of society does not give you right to give them sub par work. The black church is the most faithful audience in the world and loves to take care of what they feel is their own. In return Perry gives this audience simplistic characters that are either demons or angels with no depth. He also provides them with almost an identical plot line for most of his movies.

The Hollywood System
This one isnt Perry's fault he is just a part of it and almost a victim of what I call the Hollywood system. The major film industry has always taken a one at a time kind of approach towards black cinema. What do I mean either they are only letting one type of movie with a predominately black cast out with in a certain time period. Remember the era where all black movies starred gangsta rappers who sold drugs in a shoot em up type flick. Then there was the middle class urban professional movie that always ending in a wedding and starred Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut types. Now we are in the black cross dresser era see Madea and Big Momma's house. A big part of that does rest on us the audience by not supporting other types of movies when they come out and keep buy tickets to sub standard movies.