In case you missed it this week, writer, director, producer and actor Tyler Perry has officially joined the list of billionaires out there, according to Forbes. His amassed wealth comes from his catalog of work being worth $320 million, cash and investments coming to $300 million, his acclaimed Tyler Perry studios worth $280 million, his stake in BET + at $60 million, and homes and “toys,” as in things like vehicles and PJs, at $40 million.
It’s a very big deal for anyone to reach billionaire status, but it’s especially major when you consider that Perry comes from very humble beginnings. People took to social media to applaud his success, but to also to share some criticisms of the work that helped him make such a great fortune; one of those people was writer Roxane Gay.
The Bad Feminist author said he’s a “pioneer in black ownership of IP and a studio” before also saying he’s a “pioneer in glorifying the degradation and demonization of black women, homophobia, and the lowest common denominator.”
Perry has received a great deal of criticism for his work, which people have said reinforces stereotypes and portrays Black women, and their mistakes, in a detrimental way. He recently caused a kerfuffle for sharing that he’s the chief and pretty much sole writer for all of his shows, including his BET hit about a group of complex Black women friends called Sistas. Nevertheless, Perry, and the many Black actors he employs, have always defended his work as showcasing the types of Black people who often don’t get to be seen on camera. He certainly has a large audience and fan base that appreciates it.
“It’s not about making money off of a woman’s pain — it is about telling a story,” he told the New York Post. “And I wish that people, especially black women, would get off the fact of saying, ‘Oh, he’s making money off of black women.”
“It is unfair for black people to say, ‘Carry my story in your story — show me in your story.’ And for people to say that they’re stereotypes of black people, that’s bullsh-t — it’s offensive,” he added. “These are real versions of us. And every one of us has the right to tell our own story.”
Still, the criticism, both the constructive and blunt, is ever present, but so is the love. Hit the flip to check out the opinions folks from Twitter, aside from Gay, had of the big news about Perry’s billions.