I’m Just Asking: Does Tyler Perry Choosing Single Fatherhood Make Him A Hypocrite?
Tyler Perry is a perfect example of why people roll their eyes at some Christians.
Not all of you, just the loud, pushy ones who just so happen to be the most vocal of the lot right now. Honestly, those kinds of Christians need to go sit down somewhere and reevaluate the reason why some folks are so hostile to their version of morality and values. It’s not so much the text, rituals and other observances. It’s not even some territorial religious beef with Jesus. But rather, it’s those who claim they’re Jesus’ people, and more specifically, the hypocrisy of those people. They go through all types of mental gymnastics – almost to the point of delusion – just to pretend that what they are personally doing is not contrary to much of what they preach.
For instance, that would include those holy rollers who make a big stink about what the bible says about homosexuality and then use it is as justification for why we should discriminate culturally, but then turn right around and get caught in some sort of same-sex scandal. Instead of falling on the sword of what the bible says about his or her transgressions, the oily sinner in question flips to another page in the good book and starts reminding us of the less heeded messages from the bible:
“He who is without sin cast the first stone.”
And if that doesn’t work, they throw out this: “I am a human, not God.”
Or my personal favorite: “We are all a work in progress.”
That would also include Perry, the king of single-dimension Christian dogma and ideology in film. Despite the messages he pushes in his films, he is rumored to be showing up in the public eye with an expectant baby mother on his arm pretty soon. Or she’ll at least be standing near him.
According to published reports,
Last week, Tyler Perry turned 45 and celebrated his birthday by throwing himself a star-studded birthday bash that included Stevie Wonder playing the piano. Though that was a highlight of the night, apparently, the most memorable moment came when Perry announced that he’s expecting his first child. An exclusive source who attended the party told our sister site Bossip that Perry didn’t reveal who the mother of the child is, but sources believe it’s Gelila Bekele, a 28-year-old Ethiopian model and philanthropist who openly dated Perry on and off for the past five years.
NecoleBitchie found a picture of Bekele and one of her friends on Instagram with some pretty revealing comments from the friend, which appear to confirm that she is with child. If the rumors are true, congratulations to the parents-to-be. However, one has to wonder: If this bit of intel is true, why is he not talking about marriage?
I’m asking this not because I think that since they are having a baby together they need to get married. You won’t find me co-signing any parts of the respectability doctrine here. I just think that what’s good for the goose better have been first applied to the gander before telling a bunch of geese what supposedly is right.
What I mean is that this big story makes me think of a lot of Perry’s films, which involve characters, mostly women, who are often killed, maimed or seriously punished in some way for their malfeasance, which went against cultural and often religious expectations of them. In Why Did I Get Married Too?, the punishment for being cold and unyielding Patricia (played by Janet Jackson) was lifelong guilt and blame over her soon-to-be ex-husband, who gets hit by a truck and is killed moments after they get into an argument at his job. In The Family That Preys, a cold-blooded career woman is slapped across a table before being banished to a lifetime of loneliness and financial struggle for her betrayal against her husband. And in Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, which was the biggest sl*t-shaming film of all time, the main character develops some sort of new version of HIV, which comes with a limp and causes her to age completely different than others (oh wait, that might have just been bad makeup and wigs), for cheating on her husband. I’ve heard of “the clap” and “the package,” but seriously Perry? What’s with “the limp”?
Perry’s active imagination aside, it’s clear that at least in terms of storytelling, he feels that there are definite rules and a moral code that women should aim to follow – or else. Hell, you can say that many of his films promote a very clear definition of what a Christian family is supposed to be. Even the characters in broken families in his films are always aspiring to regain some sort of respectability, particularly around marriage (There are way too many of his films to list, which tie a woman’s ability to get married or not to whether or not she will be able to fix her problems). And as noted in this archived article from The Grio, even his black male characters fall into two categories of “the righteous and the evil.”
And yet, his personal life differs. He’s in his 40s and has never been married. And according to this article from a couple of years ago, marriage – despite its importance in both contemporary and traditional Christianity – is not even being considered as a serious option for him. In fact, he told Steve Harvey, “I don’t know about marriage as much as I do know that I’d be a great father.” How is that even an option even without the dogma? Wait, wait, wait. I said I was not going to respectability-shame anybody…
But this isn’t only about Perry. Quite honestly, I don’t care how many children he has out of wedlock – just as long as he pays for them and I don’t have to read a headline on Bossip about one of the mothers pulling a silly stunt just to get support. Rather, this is about his legion of fans who worship at the throne of Perry’s ideology and claim it as a voice missing or ignored by the mainstream media. The fans who soak this stuff up as entertainment and help to propel it to the top of the box offices. The fans who don’t just stop at it simply being entertainment and instead, use it to then go and shame and guilt some women (and even men) for some life decisions that they think are unbecoming of a child of God.
I have a question for you fans: Suppose the rumors are true that Perry is intentionally going into single fatherhood. Does this make him a bad Christian, or nah?
I’m just asking.