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Tyler Perry Haters, The Bickering Must Stop!

by on November 8, 2011
 

Readers’ Discretion Thoroughly Advised.

So you have a college education from the North. You’re no longer Christian – hell you don’t even believe in God – and you think that prayer is for the faint-hearted. You’ve dined with the pretty and the handsome – the bold and the beautiful – and have wholeheartedly embraced the liberal rhetoric – the why this’ and the why that’s. You’ve pretty much jumped ship, perhaps, right unto that bandwagon that seem to preach that racism ended in 66’. Well, good for you.

You don’t think a big black man dressing up as a big black grandma is funny. Nor that, she teaches you any good lessons. Why? Because you took a couple of classes in film – hell you even went to film school – and you learned all about black film aesthetics, the mammy, and all that. Your professor also probably told you that Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song (how many sssss?) was a great movie and thence you learned about Blaxploitation and all that history about the LA Rebellion Black Film movement. Well, isn’t that great?

But what has all that got to do with Mister Tyler Perry? You follow the news, you read everything about Mister Spike Lee (great filmmaker by the way) but you follow Tyler Perry even more fervently. Why? You don’t like his so-called coonery and buffoonery.

You’ll pay to watch Killer Of Sheep in the theaters and you will die to have Miracle At Saint Anna make shit loads of money at the box office. You look forward to the day that Precious can hold its own without Oprah and Tyler Perry. And lest I forget, you’d probably be Jumping The Broom ahead of yourself before ever getting Married Too.

Well, here’s the thing. Bashing Tyler Perry every second of your life does not make you smart. Just because Mister Spike Lee says something (I believe out of frustration to which he must deeply apologize for) doesn’t mean it’s correct and that you should say it too. It doesn’t even make it seem like you understand the bigger picture of what is going on in black cinema (if there’s any such category). Oh, I forgot, you went to college and you’re in the deconstructionist’s camp with Mister Stuart Hall, huffing and puffing, ‘what the hell does black cinema mean anyway?’

I know. It probably means nothing to you and that’s why you shouldn’t even be talking about Tyler Perry anyway. Here it is.

I stayed with who we are, and what I wish I could get us to understand as a people is that instead of getting your education and running from us, you need to ground and root yourself in who we are. Every other culture in this country knows the value of us as black people but we don’t know it ourselves. -Tyler Perry

All I know is that Mister Tyler Perry is an invaluable personality in our community. His contribution to who we are as a people is outstripping the contribution of a whole generation today. So instead of standing up and adding yours – contributing your quota – to this defining moment in acknowledging who we are as a people, where we have come from, and how far we’ve come – so that Mister Tyler Perry’s is not the only black cultural rhetoric on screen – you’d rather expend energy tough-talking, name-calling, and chest-puffing. Why?

I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee. 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…. Spike needs to shut the hell up!

Almost every black film critic I know out there blows a condescending trumpet whenever the name Tyler Perry pops up. Why?

Somebody said to me about the ‘House of Payne,’ ‘Why do you have fat black people on television?’ Because there are fat black people in the world. It’s not a stereotype. This is who we are, we need to stop running from our parents and our grandparents and our uncles, we need to stop running from them and embrace them.

I know you went to college; you don’t pray before your meals and you hate to be called to responsibility when it comes to matters involving black people; you adore your carefree living and you like sipping on that wine and chipping at the cheese, which is probably why you think the world should revolve around you.

Only you forget that some of us love where we come from. We love the people who raised us; we adore our grandmas, grandpas, mothers, aunties and such – they can be slim, tall, short, lanky, loud and gaddamn fat! We love them equally and we do find their jokes quite funny!

This man never apologized for who we were…The ultimate pride is where you don’t have to bend and adjust for others to accept you. … He didn’t go mainstream, he brought mainstream to us.

So in Rev. Al Sharpton’s words, Mister Tyler Perry’s fans are not trying to apologize to nobody for who they are. They are not calling some of the movies you watch and seem to call seminal work, for example, Killer Of Sheep, boring? Hell, your long admired emancipation orgasms in Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song don’t bother them one bit. So why should you be bothered by Mister Tyler Perry’s work?

The fact is, Mister Tyler Perry is Forbes highest-paid man in entertainment with $130 million earned between May 2010 and May 2011. So he’s obviously not screwing his way through the Red Sea and certainly doesn’t believe that fucking will ever free black people (Mister Lerone Bennett, 1971).

Finally, it is mischievous and reactionary for anyone to suggest that Mister Tyler Perry’s work, produced for and consumed mainly by black audiences, is actually destructive for the African American community. Alas, what nonsense! That, his movies are cinematic malt liquor? Please, stop being a crab!

Hence the bashing must stop. You may have seen better movies, perhaps, but Mister Tyler Perry and his fans are sure not slowing down because you happen to have developed a taste bud for wine and cheese and think his films, a less appetizing cornbread. And if you would only care to listen to the other side, you’d realize that your nonsensical bickering – against a man that so many black people have come to be so proud of – is really what is killing black people and our dear African American community. We need him but we don’t need you. That’s the truth. But, I thought you knew that.

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  • November 30, 2012 at EDT

    The author seems convinced that he has a biting sense of humor. The author is wrong.

    Reply

  • destiny
    August 12, 2012 at EDT

    Whoever said that Tyler Perry does not show educated blacks or always portrays lighter skinned blacks as players needs to actually watch Tyler Perry’s movies. Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion feature lighter complexion black men as the sweet, good natured heros who save the women from the a-hole darker skinned lawyer and businessman. Meet the Browns is another movie with a light complexioned male hero who saves Angela Basset from her dead beat darkskinned baby daddy. Tyler Perry, who is also lighter, often plays a lawyer and a family man in many of his movies. Everybody is entitled to their opinion (I definitely encourage blacks to think for themselves whether you like Tyler Perry movies or not) but please make sure your opinion is well informed before you make it.

    Reply

  • Merv
    June 6, 2012 at EDT

    I believe Tyler Perry should not be attacked as a person. But his films are usually mediocre to bad. His films also usually have good actors.

    Reply

  • Simplicity
    November 9, 2011 at EDT

    Honestly looking at the video of Spike Lee it seems to me that it is about jealously…In today society as a whole for black people we seem to tear one another down just because one has it more than the other. I haven’t seen Spike do anything or has had the recognition in a long time.

    Now you may not agree with what Tyler is doing but everyone has the right to have expression…I think he needs to ask himself where his thought patterns come from…is it really you being concern or is it because of jealousy…because Tyler isn’t the first man to make fun of our culture and the way that we act. Generally speaking our culture whether it be the bad or the good should just be embraced. This man is speaking on things that he has been through and is making money off of it. Who are we to judge him????

    Everyone has their own set and know what they want to look at and what they don’t want to look at. Why are you upset with him when you should be setting this for everyone. It is what it is at the end of the day…& Jealousy is an ugly trait…we can try to gift wrap it and call it concern all day long but at the end of the day there is a motive to everything whether good or bad. Do I think Tyler over does it…sure to a degree yes I do but everything that he does isn’t just about pain and humiliation either…Stop taking everything that everyone does and looking your nose down at it.

    This is why we can’t never make it because we always tearing the next person down who is doing so well. Your really not hurting anyone else but yourself and you are just too obvious Spike…I love your work but knocking the next person just seems TACKY to me…JMO.

    Reply

  • D. Brooks
    November 9, 2011 at EDT

    Short story: we don’t hold everyone else to the standard of presenting a complete image of a race of people in their body of work so why does Tyler Perry have to speak for all of us?

    Reply

  • D. Brooks
    November 9, 2011 at EDT

    I don’t think we can expect Tyler Perry or any other black director or white director or Latino director for that matter can present a complete picture of black people. That’s too much for anyone to handle and nobody’s perspective is that comprehensive anyway. I do think that people are criticizing Tyler Perry unfairly. It starts with his movies which anyone is game to criticize. All directors have critics. And all directors have their patterns of movies that revolve around similar themes. But Tyler Perry is getting more heat than any black director out there has ever gotten. Now the question is are people jealous of his success because he is not part of the “wine and cheese” clique? Because like I said no other director has gotten that much criticism and as many haters from the black community and its seriously dividing the moviegoing black audiences.

    Reply

  • November 8, 2011 at EDT

    @Reginee, you just proved my point when you referred to TP critics as “ivy tower folks”, as though they, or I, aren’t also Black. At no point did I attack TP and I don’t think that anyone should make personal attacks on someone based on their work. But I do think that his work deserves criticism. The writing and plots of his movies typically aren’t very good and are predictable. The character development is often either lacking or non-existent. And while the author argues that TP shows real Black people, the problem is that he DOESN’T. Yes, we all know a big, old black woman (that’s probably in our family) that everyone calls big mamma. We all have that auntie that ain’t quite right, whose kids are always dirty and hungry and we have that uncle that’s done some time. It’s fine to show these characters because they are a part of us. But if that’s all that ever gets shown then you create a biased and incomplete image of Black people. What about showing the one cousin that went to college, didn’t get pregnant or have a baby and is just drama free black professional? What about a light-skinned guy that isn’t a player or a jerk or a Muslim that isn’t a misogynist.
    My problem with TP movies is that they claim to represent Black folk, but they are incomplete. I can’t find people like me (the light-skinned, college educated, no baby mama having, Muslim that IS NOT Nation of Islam, in graduate school) or my male and female friends in similar situations. When he does do a movie with Black professionals (like the Why Did I Get Married series), they are all miserable (except for the working class people like the police officer and the couple that owns the salon).
    [side note] Academia is referred to as the “ivory tower”, not ivy. There are Ivy League schools, but no “ivy tower”.

    @Hoohoo, what is “Angry and Yellow indeed!” supposed to mean?

    Reply

    • Cricket
      November 9, 2011 at EDT

      You haven’t really seen all of Tyler Perry’s movies, have you? Cos you sure don’t sound like it.

      I can name a Tyler Perry movie for every one thing you claim he doesn’t show – the cousin that went to college and didn’t get pregnant, the drama free black professional, the light-skinned guy that isn’t a player or a jerk, etc – these are obvious occurrences in Tyler Perry’s movies, if you cared to watch them.

      Tyler Perry is not the bearer of the cradle for black cultural and humanistic representations. However, like anyone, he is fit, more than fit, to make movies about his black experiences. If you think, there’s something he’s not doing, come on, do it your darn self.

      ‘Biased’? Is that another word they taught you in your ‘ivy tower’ to throw around when you don’t have an argument? They should have taught you also that any one perspective is ‘biased’. It is the natural orientation of argument and thought – why they call it opinion – but I guess you wouldn’t know that until you’ve completed a dissertation. That is the whole point of academia. To bring different minds together in order to approach something more akin to this thing we like to call ‘Objective’ – again the reason the ancients handed down to us the scientific method. Suggestion, you should pick up Dirac! You wonna ask which one? Or read more on feminist thought.

      So, my dear Angry and Yellow!, I know you are angry and yellow, but, before you start making another ill-informed comment, watch his movies and let’s have a real discussion. Cos, from what I read from you, you are just parroting what other critics may have said or written. And I know your kind.

      Reply

    • ATLien
      November 15, 2011 at EDT

      Agreed!!!! Too many stereotypes in his movies.

      Reply

  • November 8, 2011 at EDT

    This is really a bad article and it seems guilty of the same act that it accuses “Tyler Perry Haters” of. Instead of addressing people’s legitimate criticism of Perry and his movies, his critics are mischaracterized as elitist, snobby or bougie and accused of running from their blackness. Dismissing them in such a way is just as bad as what they are accused of doing, ignoring a part of our people that they don’t agree with.

    Reply

    • Reginee
      November 8, 2011 at EDT

      What are the legitimate criticisms? Stop throwing words around. The only thing these ivy tower folks seem to be so interested in about TP’s movies are the ‘stereotypes’, right? Those I think have been adequately addressed here if you read btn the lines – Christianity, the man dressing up as as a big fat woman, the loud woman, etc. right?

      This article is not saying those criticisms may not be valid. What’s it’s saying is that, it should not give you reason to insult the man! So if I were to think Spike Lee was rampant and haphazard with showing black women’s nipples on screen, I wouldn’t at all got to the length of insulting his filmmaking nor the fans who support him. Should I? Why shd you insult Tyler Perry then?

      Reply

    • Hoohoo
      November 8, 2011 at EDT

      Thanks Reginee! Angry and Yellow, completely misses the point. Angry and Yellow indeed!

      Reply

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