I can always appreciate when individuals have very public or very vocal disagreements and can somehow, sit down, hash it out, and move on. And according to his interview with Oprah on Next Chapter recently, Spike Lee and Tyler Perry have done just that.
If you rewind back to 2009, that’s when things between the two popular directors went downhill. While speaking at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference, Lee said the following when speaking on the images of black folks in film and on television at that time, and brought up Perry’s work more than once:
“I think there’s a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery. I see ads for ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’ and I’m scratching my head. The image is troubling and it harkens back to Amos ‘n’ Andy.
All these characters are bait – disarming, charming, make you laugh bait. I can slap Madea on something and talk about God, love, faith, forgiveness, family, any of those.”
For Perry, his responses ranged from this: “It’s attitudes like [Lee's] that make Hollywood think that these people do not exist and that’s why there’s no material speaking to them.”
To this: “I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee. Spike can go straight to hell! Spike needs to shut the hell up!”
You would think that it would be hard for both men to come back from that, but in his Next Chapter interview, Lee told Oprah that despite their disagreements about Perry’s imagery and way of thinking, they’ve worked things out and he has love for Perry.
After Oprah read Lee a quote where Perry basically said their differences in storytelling had a lot to do with their regional differences and parents (Perry grew up in Louisiana, Lee in New York with two college-educated parents), Lee and Oprah had this exchange:
Lee: “Look, I love Tyler”
Oprah: “You love Tyler?”
Lee: “People don’t know this, but I went to his house. He tell you? I know he told you [laughs]! Don’t front. The minute I walked out the house I know he was like [picks up imaginary phone] ‘Spike was just here.’”
Oprah: “I wasn’t gonna front!”
Lee: “No, we’re cool, we’re mad cool now. Here’s the thing though. He’s trying to make it that our differences are based on a social, economic level. He’s trying to say it’s because he’s from the South, and I’m from the North.”
Oprah: “…that you have different stories.”
Lee: “I mean, first of all, like many people in New York City, every summer, our parents shipped our black butts down South. Every summer we spent half the summer in Alabama and in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Oprah: “I don’t think he was saying ‘regional’ as much as you have different stories.”
Lee: “And then I went to Morehouse! My criticism of him was just the imagery. To me, it was just taste. He has a way to see stuff, I see it differently. He’s doing a great thing. We’re cool. We got no drama, no friction, and one day we might work together.”
Yes, a pig just flew over your head as you read this. I’m definitely glad these two could move on from their disagreements about their art and just be supportive. But as for possibly working together in the future, what are your thoughts on that? Check out the interview below and share your thoughts.