The Trouble with Tyler Perry

Most people who know me know I’m not a huge fan of Tyler Perry. I think his heart is in the right place with his movies and plays and I appreciate the Christian elements of works. But in my opinion many of his movies and plays — especially those featuring Madea — all have the same basic plot. Black woman is done wrong by some trifling black man, God fearing black man swoops in to try to save the day, initially angry black woman resists, then finally she’s won over and all is well. The end.

Furthermore, when Perry was featured on this year’s CNN’s Black in America 2, one interviewee also complained that the Madea image was degrading to the black race.

Hubster and I have been kicking around an idea for a post on Tyler Perry but until we get around to it, check out this essay posted yesterday on

I can’t say if I agree or disagree with this post because I haven’t seen a few of the movies mentioned. So I want to hear from readers who have.

Do you think Perry’s movies feature negative portrayals of black women? If so, do you think his latest movie I Can Do Bad All by Myself is an improvement? What do you think of Perry’s movies and plays in general? Let me know what you think.



  1. I refuse to see the latest movie because I too feel they are all the same movie. Plus they always feel like they are two movies in one. They never flow very well.

    Plus there are A LOT of black men out there who dont appreciate the fact that the movies are always about a black man doing a woman wrong.

  2. I’ve been having a debate about him in my head for a long time now, although it’s more about artistry and maybe social responsibility than about feminism. When the latest movie was released, I put it on my list of future column topics, so I’ll work it out in full there. I haven’t seen all the Madea movies either; usually haven’t wanted to. I will say that “Why Did I Get Married?” had a different plot, and I don’t agree with the observations the author of the essay on feministing made about it, not because those images of women didn’t exist in the movie, but because the author neglected to mention the couples who were dealing with issues that didn’t fit those stereotypes. Besides, it’s not like we haven’t seen the same kind of women in movies with all-white casts. I might have to wait to see what the movie “Precious” is like before I make any more calls about Perry and feminism. He has an executive producer credit on that one. And being able to put your money behind a project says something.

  3. Two more thoughts:

    1. I noticed this b/c J Anthony Brown on the Tom Joyner Morning Show noticed it and complains about it every chance he gets: the villain in all the Tyler Perry movies – and Brown has seen all of them – is always a dark skinned black man, and the hero is always light-skinned. And this time, he’s Hispanic. Just another layer for thought.

    2. When Perry does “For Colored Girls …” (which I just saw here in Louisville, and the production was AWESOME!) he will take soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much heat for beating up on black men. It won’t be his fault b/c he’ll be following someone else’s script, but I hope he’s ready.

  4. You know, I’ve been feeling like the lonely black woman who doesn’t like Tyler Perry’s plays and movies. Most of the women in my family absolutely LOVE his plays, and a few friends make it a point to have a girls’ night to see his movies. I don’t like what they portray. I hear they portray reality in the black community, and I guess I need to come to grips that I don’t live in the black community. I don’t even like the tv shows. I have laughed at some scenes in the movies but don’t laugh at all during the shows, and for the longest, I was wondering if my mom’s ex was right – am I missing my black card?

    It makes me wonder: (a) are black people so starved for movies with other blacks that we’re excited about anything, (b) am I wrong for not supporting him at least trying to provided tailored entertainment, and (c) what stupid stereotypes have non-blacks developed about blacks due to these movies,plays, and shows?

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