When Tyler Perry told the world that he was the sole person responsible for creating, writing, producing, and directing all of his shows, the people have had questions. They wondered why he was taking opportunities from other creatives of color. And folks questioned his ability to write for Black women as a man.
It was a valid question. And one audiences are asking of several people in Hollywood. It was echoed by comedian Lil Rel.
Recently Danielle Young of ESSENCE spoke with the cast of Perry’s hit show “Sistas,” to see what they had to say about the discussion.
Check out their thoughts below.
Mignon: I’ll take that one. We have a director, producer, executive producer, creator who loves women. If you’ve ever taken the time to watch his interviews, he will tell you that his number one inspiration is his mother. So he observed that first hand. I think critics who criticize him and his writing, I think—I’m just going to be honest with you– there’s a culture of hateration. There’s a culture of being critical. And I think there’s a reason for that. And it’s because so many of us aren’t following our dreams. And it’s so easy to not be in the ring and to stand on the sidelines and critique. But once you get in the ring, once you start following your dream, you are going to naturally become a compassionate, less critical, more gracious person. So, all those people critiquing, I understand that. I believe in constructive criticism. I understand everyone has an opinion but get into the ring. Understand how hard it is first and then criticize. Get to know. Get to know.
Ebony Obsidian: And just to piggyback on that. I think it’s really important to remember that Tyler Perry puts Black women at the forefront in so many ways. “Sistas” comes from women in his life. He may have sat there and written a script but it’s coming from Black women. So Black women’s fingerprints are all over this script.
Mignon: He said at our premiere that he actually gave some of the women on his staff producer credits because he listened to them. He sat down and talked to them for a couple of hours and he was like, ‘I’m going to write this.’
Novi Brown: Don’t invalidate someone else’s reality just because it’s not yours. Just keep in mind there’s 8 billion people in the world. You’re one of them. There’s literally tweets and messages of ‘I’m literally going through this right now. I got me a Gary on the side.’ Whatever the case may be…There’s so many different ways to be represented.
You can watch the full interview in the video below.