Can We Leave Tyler Perry Alone?

I don’t know if it’s a case of the “Crabs in a Barrel” syndrome or if people just don’t understand him, but people REALLY don’t like Tyler Perry.  Now I admit that sometimes Mr. Perry has a tendency to go off the deep end, but I have never seen people come together with their disdain for a person like they have this man.  Even Spike Lee, whom mainstream media never cared for and even some of my friends could care less about a 40 Acres and a Mule film, has stated his dislike for Tyler and likened “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne” to minstrel shows. (Read the article here.) 

Most recently, Mr. Perry was made fun of on “The Boondocks“.  Aaron McGruder, an African-American male and show creator, parodied Mr. Perry and portrayed him as a homosexual, tyrannical director who hits on his male stars.  I haven’t watched it (yet), but from what I can tell this has caused a lot of controversy.  You have some people who thought this was absolutely hilarious and some who believed this was just done in poor taste. 

Now, for Elle’s opinion, I think it’s three-fold.  First, I am a Tyler Perry fan-I support the films, but not a big fan of the tv shows. (Sorry).  I think he’s an amazing talent and can appreciate where he’s come from and what he’s accomplished.   I think there are some things that he should leave alone (like the new movie he’s directing, but I’ll probably still go see it).  No matter who you are, people are going to talk about and criticize you. (Even Jesus had enemies and haters.)  And despite all of the negativity that has come his way, he has managed to rise above it.   Is ALL the negativity coming his way warranted?  Absolutely not.   I don’t know what it is about this man, but people love to hate him.  It’s worse than right-wing Conservatives hating on President Obama.   Mr. Perry has given jobs to actors that maybe would not have the jobs that they do, he has employed Blacks behind the scenes, and he has told some of our stories that others have never discussed.  Most importantly, he revitalized the African-American audience, because let’s face it, Black people weren’t really going to the movies like they are now.  And that’s mainly because films were not being made for us.  Yes, we had John Singleton and Spike Lee, but they have fallen off in the last few years.  Thankfully now we have Mr. Perry, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Lee Daniels and Rainforest Films, just to name a few. 

In short, all of this criticism has got to stop…or at least slow down a little.  One motto I live by is “If everyone likes what you’re doing 100% of the time you’re doing something wrong.”  I’m not saying that everyone has to like everything that he does, but these people are just being obnoxious now.  What do you guys think?  Is everyone being too hard on Tyler or are they right on?  Please share your thoughts because I want to know your opinion.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern Girl…in the city.


  1. I don’t hate Tyler Perry at all… I honestly can say that I remember seeing his play “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in Chicago’s Regal Theater before people even knew who he was. I enjoyed the show thoroughly. At that time, I was in my late teens and had not been exposed to a large array of stage productions. Since then, I have seen 4 additional TP Productions. Two were really entertaining, but the last 2 seem to resort to over the top drama and easy laughs to drive the show.
    1) Tyler Perry has been doing this for too long to still give US (the black community) the same stuff.
    2) These productions are NOT inexpensive. I remember seeing Diary for $30… His latest productions are going for $55+ with the same stage sets and actors performing.
    3) When given the opportunity to show positive images of black love, black success, and black family, he goes back to drama.

    I think personally I’m just tired of not seeing people like me represented. I’m not full of drama, and neither are my friends. We’re strong representatives of ourselves and family. Our grandparents were not gun toting maniacal people acting out on a whelm. Personally, I feel the reason many of the other people that you mentioned has fallen off is because mainstream media are owned by conglomerates that have benefited from the oppression of others. One thing I can say about the movies that Spike Lee and John Singleton created is that they are mainstays in the Black Community… We ALL loved School Daze. It tells a story that is STILL relevant today. Get on the Bus… Do The Right Thing… Maybe if our community stop laughing at the drama and start fixing the problems, our community can be as prosperous as it was in the 60s in 2010.

  2. Maaa Dukes and Jeeeeesus say…LOL! I saw the Boondocks and the ish is funny. I am NOT a Tyler Perry fan, because he is over the top and has to hit you over the head 10 times with his unrealistic plots. Not every black family has a crackhead in it, and not every black family has a grandma figure that brings up bible stories about Eve the rapper, not EVE Eve. The plots are always too literal and almost insulting to the intelligence of African Americans (in my opinion). I could go on, but for every person that can’t stand the man, there is another person who absolutely loves him. I am a Boondocks fan, and they only target people/topics that make black people look ignorant and uneducated (i.e. rappers on cribs, Obama band-wagoners, black people who hate black people). Props to A. M. for creating it. But–Tyler Perry? COME ON SON.

  3. I respect Tyler Perry as a businessman and think he has contributed to the film industry in a tremendous way. However, I am not a huge Tyler Perry fan.
    The true issue at hand here is how black people always become dependent on one or two people to be able to fully represent the diaspora in entertainment. No one person will ever be able to do this. Nor should any one person be responsible for it.

    As for being “too hard” on Perry. Non-sense. People go hard on anybody in the spotlight. Tyler Perry is not losing sleep at night over any of the publicity. In my opinion, his movies (some good and some coonery) aren’t necessarily geared towards blacks only. I learned this one night when I was flipping through channels at a hotel and ran across a white pastor on Christian Television Network promoting one of his films as “a story that all Christians can learn from’.

    Tyler Perry is probably a nice guy. But, please dont’t compare him to Jesus or Buddha anything like that. You might become dissapointed one day.

    p.s- My mother has a walk on role in For Colored Girls and hasnt spoken with any black production office staff. Maybe she’ll see them when she gets on set. (smile)

  4. Thanks, guys, for your replies. I can say I finally saw the episode and had a couple of laugh-out-loud moments. Like Erin said, “The ish was funny”. So maybe Aaron poked fun at Tyler a little too hard, but I can appreciate one’s creativity. And, in agreement with Nate, Tyler doesn’t tell my story, but I’m sure he’s told someone’s. Nate is right; I’m ready for a filmmaker to tell the story of my friends and me…Malcolm Lee was pretty close with “The Best Man”, but that was over 10 years ago.

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