Tyler Perry is proud to be a staple in the growing diversity path in Hollywood, even if it means he has to take a few punches from his critics.
Speaking with The Root’s Danielle Young about his new film, Boo! A Madea Halloween, Perry dropped a few lines on why his work shouldn’t be labeled as coonery. Since the cinematic debut of Mabel “Madea” Simmons in 2005, Perry has centered his films around the gun-toting grandma with favorable box office results. In the years that followed the flicks, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea Goes to Jail, the director’s work was slammed for not extending the identity of a comical black character. Perry likes to think his extension of production, acting and writing jobs to people of color are far from brown nosing.
“I don’t even know how I would take any of that in,” he said. “With the shows [I have], you have about three to four million people watching those shows and millions of people coming to the movies. I just opened a studio where DGA reported that 20 percent of all diversity was because of me in television. Coon my a**, man.”
The shows Perry are referring to are the OWN dramas The Haves & The Have Nots, Too Close To Home and the comedies Love Thy Neighbor and For Better Or For Worse. Previous comedies like Meet The Browns and House of Payne hit syndication status on TBS and helped jump start the careers of Lance Gross and powerhouse gospel vocalist Tamela Mann.
“That is a person who is making a difference and making a change,” he added. “When someone wants to step up to the plate and give that kind of record, let’s talk. Until then, shut up.”
Boo! A Madea Halloween opens in theaters today. Check out the rest of the interview, here.