Yesterday, I wasn’t too shocked to come across an article on The Grio reporting Tyler Perry’s most recent and blunt response to criticism by his very outspoken critic Spike Lee. After years of Spike Lee taking shots, Tyler Perry shot back at a press conference this week. He was quoted with saying:
“I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee. Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, ‘this is a coon, this is a buffoon.’ I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: ‘you vote by what you see,’ as if black people don’t know what they want to see.”
I guess a human being can only take so much public ridicule. Now while I do think Tyler’s response could have been more eloquently phrased (clearly he let his inner Madea take over), I still believe he was very justified in his frustrations. And I commend Tyler for standing up for himself.
Tyler Perry is doing what he loves. He is an artist and should be given creative freedom without constant ridicule because he is black and should only be doing certain types of films. Tyler is successful at what he does. His fans love his work. And if they want to see Tyler Perry’s movies, it’s their choice.
I understand the idea of wanting to raise black cinema to a certain level, but I’ve always felt like Spike Lee’s pot shots and negative commentary were bordering on jealousy and grandstanding. Spike just needs to do his thing and let Tyler Perry do his. Yes, knowledge is power. But laughter is medicine. And we should have room for both.
Truth be told, as a black woman, I’m not really bothered by a grown black man that chooses to put on a dress and act outlandish to make audiences laugh. Were white people concerned when Robin Williams did the same thing in Mrs. Doubtfire?
It’s always a bit disheartening to watch famous black people, a group that’s already a very small minority in Hollywood to begin with, publicly criticize one another because we shouldn’t act a certain way in front of the white folk. Black people are not one monolithic group. We are multi-dimensional just like people of other races and cultures. Spike is showing one side of our race and Tyler is just showing another. And ultimately, fans will determine who and what they want to see. I like Tyler Perry’s more recent efforts- specifically For Colored Girls. But I’ve watched more of Spike Lee’s movies. And Bamboozled is actually one of my favorite movies of all time. No one can deny that both Tyler Perry and Spike Lee are talented. They each have a voice, a point of view, and most importantly they both create jobs for black writers, actors and actresses. They should be supporting one another. And in my opinion, the real “coonery” and “buffoonery” taking place is this Tyler Perry-Spike Lee feud.
If it’s truly Spike Lee’s desire to bring consciousness to black America, then I encourage him to get back behind the camera to address more pressing issues other than a man putting on a dress. And Spike if you’re looking for material, I’ll offer an obvious suggestion: Considering the constant negative representation of black women in music and media, which last time I checked, Tyler Perry wasn’t a participant in, I would challenge Mr. Lee to turn his next film project to highlighting and criticizing famous rappers and entertainers that make their millions off the shameless objectification and degradation of black women. Interestingly enough, I haven’t heard much from Mr. Lee on this issue. And I would definitely get in line to see that movie.
What do you think of the Tyler Perry-Spike Lee feud?
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