Tyler Perry: Black Hollywood’s Leading Man

April 7, 2011  |  

(Creative Loafing) — Three monitor screens face Tyler Perry as he sits at his desk underneath a blown-up photo of the Little Rascals with Buckwheat at its center. Dressed in a black warm-up suit, the media mogul indicates the flat HDTV screen on the wall near his desk, which shows a live feed from the set of his sitcom “House of Payne,” filming at a soundstage a few buildings away.  “They’re rehearsing the show now,” he explains. Nodding at the large computer monitor on his desk, he says, “Here, I’ve got a new screenplay that I’m working on, and here” — he points to an open Mac laptop — “I’ve got a play that I’m working on. It looks chaotic, but it’s very controlled.” Actually, it doesn’t look that chaotic. Perry creates such a powerful impression of self-mastery that it’s easy to imagine him with a hand on each keyboard, typing both scripts at once while keeping an eye on the TV. From his second-floor office at his eponymous studio complex, Atlanta’s most successful entertainer never stops expanding the media empire he’s created in his image. Perry writes, directs and produces all of his plays and movies, including Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, opening April 22, and many of his TV episodes. He even pens songs released through My TY PE Music Publishing.

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