Despite all of the success, writer, actor, director and producer Tyler Perry has received his fair share of criticism over the years for the characters he creates and the stories he chooses to tell. One major complaint has been that he has crafted the most extreme tales of women’s pain, Black women’s pain in particular. Examples of that include his first film hit Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, Acrimony and most recently, the Netflix hit A Fall From Grace.
But if you ask Perry does he believe he has profited big time by exploiting the suffering of Black women, especially since he is the only one writing these stories and obtaining success from them, he denies that viewpoint. Instead, he said he’s just trying to tell a story. With his latest project, he said he was trying to tell his own mother’s story of abuse at the hands of his father.
“I’m always trying to send a message that you don’t have to deal with this s–t,” he told the New York Post recently. “It’s not about making money off of a woman’s pain — it is about telling a story. And I wish that people, especially black women, would get off the fact of saying, ‘Oh, he’s making money off of black women.'”
But women’s pain isn’t the only thing Perry has been accused of exploiting over the years. Back in 2015, he responded to claims that his work was full of stereotypes of Black people in general.
“Let me tell you what took me aback about that, when people were like, ‘How dare you put fat black people on television, these are caricatures, these are stereotypes’ — I was so offended because my aunt’s fat. My mother’s fat. My cousins are fat,” he said. “People who are like, ‘How dare you — these harken back to Mammy, Amos ’n’ Andy.’ I would hear all these things, and I would go, hmmm.”
He continued, saying the people who come to his plays and watch his films are obtaining something they can’t get elsewhere.
“I know for a fact that a lot of my audience cannot afford to just get in the Volvo and go to a therapist and spend the day off and go to the spa,” he said. “The laughter and the dress and all of that stuff, it’s just the anesthetic to say, ‘Are you numb now?’ Let’s talk about some real issues,” he said. “There are so many people that society says their stories don’t matter because they’re poor.”
“It is unfair for black people to say, ‘Carry my story in your story — show me in your story,'” he added. “And for people to say that they’re stereotypes of black people, that’s bullsh-t — it’s offensive. These are real versions of us. And every one of us has the right to tell our own story.”