(Black Enterprise) — Over the course of the past decade Tyler Perry has dominated the entertainment industry. His stage plays, motion pictures, DVDs, sitcoms, online talk show and book, based on commentaries from his popular character of Madea, have collectively grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. As the most commercially successful Black filmmaker in history, Perry is quickly making his way to billionaire status not by following the rules but by breaking them. Staying true to his core audience and pushing his message of family values, the media mogul has a lock on a lucrative slice of the African-American market. Whether you love him or you love to hate him, you definitely can’t ignore him. If there’s still any doubt, here are a few reminders of Perry’s influence, decoded.
The Black Theater: Not since the days of Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes has Black theater been as popular and as relevant. When Perry hit the scene in 1998 with his first screenplay, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” veteran playwright David Talbert had been one of only a handful of theater producers in what was known as the “chitlin circuit,” where theatrical musicals toured smaller venues throughout the south. How Perry flourished was in trademarking his stage plays by recording the performances and later selling them on tape. According toForbes, by 2005 he’d garnered more than $100 million in tickets, $30 million in videos and an additional $20 million in merchandising.