Urban Political View

"MADE-A IN AMERICA"... Should African-Americans Have A Problem With Tyler's Perry's Creation?

"Hellurrrr and Good Morting!"
Recently I heard that the PERMANENTLY pissed Spike Lee 'called Tyler down to the carpet' for 'settin' the race back' with his modern-day minstrel shows, wow......honestly, we should have seen this one coming.
It was only a matter of time before Spike had something to say..and LOUDLY as usual. Although it should be pointed out that Spike had his own potentially racially damaging inventions; "Mars Blackmon" and "Mookie", that back-in-the-day some found offensive,particularly noted poet Amiri Baraka....so there you go,can't please 'em all. Now, I personally am a HUGE admirer of Tyler Perry and yet, I had a problem with Madea and 'nem at one time myself.
As hilarious and soul-stirring as I found Tyler Perry's tailor-made brand of entertainment, I also thought it dumbed down for the low-brow.I took one look at the coming attractions for his sitcoms ;"House Of Payne"and "Meet The Browns".and my HBCU educated eyes took issue with what I saw as buffoonery and coonery; a definite 'no-no' in the black community akin to passing for White, mistreating your momma, selling out to the man and other race-related sins.
So what changed my mind?
I tuned into a marathon of "House Of Payne" to see what all the talk was about and I liked it! Now, I didn't LOVE it, but I finally got what all the hype was about. They were a realistic, upper-working class family dealing with many of the REAL issues Black families are dealing with. The Paynes aren't the Cosbys, but who is ? They are also not the Evans family from "Good Times" either, living with extreme poverty and somehow being happy about it...I mean what's really good about those times anyway...I'm sayin'. Perry is not on a solo mission to raise up the race (a cringe-worthy notion anyway, Black folks aren't a crowbar) He's here to entertain and share the wealth ( much like Spike Lee and Oprah, Tyler employs a LOT of Blacks)
Part of the genius behind Mister Madea is his ability to tap into ALL the aspects of what it is to be Black in America and make it funny, tragic, uplifting and oh yes, embarrassing .....Just like real life.

My two cents worth......


  1. OK, if I come across House of Payne during my TV channel surfing, I'll watch it. Any show that makes me laugh is worth my time.

  2. Yeah, it's never going to be in my top list of shows but it's a good for a chuckle.....

  3. Good article. I know I am in the minority, but I despise the minstrel antics of Madea, though I did like his films The Family that Preys and Why Did I Get Married. I am a huge Spike Lee fan (She Hate Me was a miss tho), I dig his allegory style of storytelling. It's all entertainment, enough out there for us all.

  4. Lena honestly I tried to watch 'House of Payne' & 'Meet the Browns '. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling the low brow humor. I respect Tyler Perry for his accomplishments , directing and writing skills.I feel he's tapped into an audience that can relate to his comedy. Spike Lee has opened many doors for african american directors. He has contributed a legacy of work in cinema. Unfortunately he has a history of calling out african americans, he feels are selling out. I wish he would share his grievances behind closed dooors, or face to face with those he has a problem with. Either way nice article Lena and I like your writing style.


  5. Made some great points in this one Lena and your caricature of Tyler (Madea) Perry is, as always, on point.

    To address the topic, I have issue as well with some of what Tyler portrays in his comedy. Don't get me wrong, he does bring some good things to light and does supply a message through his movies and plays but every once in a while I can see the coon/bufoonery/buckandshine in some of his work. As much as I think David Mann is hilarious as Mr. Brown it kind of incenses me when I think of other people outside of my own race wondering if that is how we as a people act out in the open or behind closed doors on the regular. That and when they discuss a movie of this type and those are the only parts that they can recite line for line, word for word and wonder why I don't laugh with them or find it as amusing.

    I guess the real question or issue may be, has Black America now given Perry free-license to air our dirty laundry in the form of Box Office receipts?

    Some say Tyler is bringing to the table nothing more than a reflection of the Black America that still exists due to the mental chains still weighing some brothers and sisters down (no thanks to Willie Lynch). While others state he's doing it to open the eyes of those not still affected, to give them motivation to help those still afflicted, and wrap it all up nice and neat in an easy to digest Christian message.

    I for one, like Tyler's more hi-brow work like The Family That Preys which of course didn't do as well in the Box Office as any Madea film has. I guess that places myself and Tzynya in the minority of the minority.

    I'm also not touching anything that Spike says about Tyler cause I feel he has more right to speak on it that any other Director would. I mean he did Bamboozled and Malcolm X for crying out loud! Those two alone should make up for any misgivings from Mookie or Mars (Gotta Be The Shoes) Blackmon.

    To keep the discussion going, a question I have you Lena and for all commenters is, would Flip Wilson have had this much success with the comedic format/formula Tyler is using but he created, if the internet and other opportunities of today had been afforded him?

    My apologies for being long winded...

  6. You weren't long winded at all! I really enjoyed reading your comment!
    Now I enjoyed "The Family That Preys" but I thought it was formulaic as well. In truth, I'm just a waaaay bigger fan of Perry himself than his overall body of work. ..BUT I also think all artists need time to marinate..who knows how his work will evolve in say, 10 years? ;-)
    * On Flip Wilson: Hmmmm, That's kind of a cart-before-the-horse question! It was the 60's and Wilson was THE pioneer for this brand of comedy( which by definition alone implies that certain opportunities won't be available)
    ...I also think his obstacles were more about race and less of what technology was available then.

  7. Well said. I like Tyler Perry's movies. I love Madea. I have watched Perry's sitcoms too, however, I could do the Paynes but not the Browns. Somehow, I can't do but so much of Mr. Brown. Anyway, I respect both. I remember when I first started watching Spike Lee movies, I loved them because it made us think about what we do as a people. How we hate on eachother, with sex, skin tones, education, race relations, everything. But, you are right, you can't please everybody, but, everybody must respect talent and craft and know that each one is making their own mark in OUR-story.


HOLLA' BACK........