For the past two decades media mogul Tyler Perry has been entertaining audiences with his brand of heartfelt humor and faith based messages as the iconic character Madea. Since debuting the character in his first stage play I Can Do Bad All By Myself Perry has amassed millions of fans (and dollars) by implementing Madea into all of his plays, as well as his films which began in 2005 with the classic tale of love gone wrong Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Fast forward to 2020 and Perry is continuously making big moves. He now has a sprawling movie studio in Atlanta, Georgia that will be constantly creating content for many years to come. And during an interview with Gayle King (via CBS News) he spoke about how important opening the studio was for him.
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King visited the studio with Perry, where he discussed the “poetic justice” of building the studio on a former confederate Army base.
“Think about the poetic justice in that,” he said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”
Perry recently announced a deal with Netflix where he would be creating his very first film for the streaming network. The movie, titled A Fall From Grace, features Perry, legendary actress Cicely Tyson as well as constant collaborators/actresses Phylicia Rashad, Crystal Fox and Bresha Webb. He released a trailer for the film on Friday, January 3.
Showbiz Cheatsheet reports that reactions from the trailer have been mixed, with many excited for the film’s release while others seem tired of Perry’s tried and true formula.
Perry has been heavily criticized in the past for featuring black female characters as flat and one dimensional in his portrayal. Many fans feel he depicts black women as bitter, abused, broken and downtrodden, who ultimately are saved by a strong black male – or who experience unnecessarily painful and difficult struggles before reaching their peak.
Twitter followers offered various critiques. One wrote “When will Tyler Perry make black women happy?? They are always sad, victimized, and abused in his movies. ??” with another echoing those sentiments by tweeting “Why doesn’t Tyler Perry want to see black women happy, prospering and thriving“. But many came to his aid. One user wrote “Tyler Perry doesn’t force you to watch his movies. If you can’t relate, keep it moving.” and another adding “I keep wondering why people complain about the pattern of Tyler Perry’s movies.
He’s using his movies to hammer on what black women go through, how’s that wrong? Is it activism? Why are you complaining”
But Perry had the last laugh during his studio opening when he addressed the critics head-on.
“For every critic that said how horrible my films were, and typically they weren’t black, I got thousands of letters from people telling me how much the work was literally changing their lives,” he said. “Had I focused on the criticism, I wouldn’t own this studio today. I could not have gotten here without Madea.”
A Fall From Grace premieres January 17 on Netflix.