All Articles Tagged "all black cast"
by Charing Ball
In the midst of the Red Tails/Future of Black cinema dust-up, Tyler Perry, reigning king of black film at the moment, decided to offer his unrequested two cents to the mix and penned an open letter entitled, “The problem with all-star African American Casts…”
In the letter, Perry not only expressed his support for George Lucas and Red Tails but he also offered “insight” on the future of black cinema: “Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct. THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is that DVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even. Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most “black” movies don’t sell well in foreign markets. So what that means is you will begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast. Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike than not. ”
It is perplexing that a writer/director, who has managed a successful career producing films featuring all-Black casts, mostly outside of the confines of Hollywood, is projecting an end of black cinema as we know it. Isn’t that a tad bit hypocritical, if not counterproductive to his own business model? A week ago I would have said so. In fact, a week ago, I did say so. That was until I read in Shadow & Act that Perry is currently in production for his newest installment to the Madea franchise, Madea’s Witness Protection, which will feature a mostly white cast ensemble. That’s right, Perry, who once helped long-forgotten black actresses to work again, is now opting for the likes of Doris Roberts, Devan Leos, Tom Arnold, Danielle Campbell and Eugene Levy, you know the American Pie guy, to fill seats. In fact, besides Madea, it appears that the only black star in this new flick will be Romeo Miller, the son of Master P.
Now his letter makes total sense. It’s evident that he was trying to soft-glove his core audience, i.e. Black folks, for what will ultimately be a change in scenery at Tyler Perry Studios. We should have known something was up with the surprisingly, and questionable, casting of Kim Kardashian in his soon-to-be released The Marriage Counselor. That film has also caused a stir among even his most hardcore followers that didn’t like that the Armenian known for her booty, was getting shine on in a Black film. Some of his fans were so enraged that they threatened a boycott. But in true Perry fashion, he responded to the impending boycott with a letter, stating that: “She [Kim Kardashian] literally has millions of young people following her. I thought and still do think, that it would be very responsible of her to be a part of this film. To have the young people that look up to her, see her in a film that is about what happens in life when you make the wrong choices. Whether you’re aware of it or not, to be honest with you I wasn’t, millions of young people adore her and are following her every move. If one of those young people see this film and find the strength to live a better life and not go through what these characters went through in this movie, then we have all done what I feel I’m being led to do here.”
In other words, Perry is trying to get paid.