Dear Tyler Perry, Hollywood Isn’t “Green,” It’s Very White, and So Are You
It’s Tyler Perry season. His name is surfacing in the media as quotes from past and present are once again emblazoned on the esteemed filmmaker who accrued his millions by feeding the masses — shamelessly generic fare — steeped in repackaged characters that shimmy to the beat of stereotypical themes.
Like some of you, I’m not a fan of how Perry garnered the respect of an industry that still wobbles at the challenges that come with satisfying the requirements of a truly diverse climate.
The Louisiana-born “TV Producer of the Year,” as per The Hollywood Reporter — is royally successful — and that has a lot to do with his savviplaying by the rules — even if his offerings tend to be “troubling” — as Spike Lee blatantly described in an interview back in 2009.
You absolutely don’t need half a brain in order to accommodate the buffoonery of the Madea franchise — and even though I can’t sit through any of it without squinting — I must admit they pale in comparison to the other items in his catalog.
Specifically the films that showcase the seductive abuse of the Black woman — suffering the sin of being born that way and having the courage and audacity to rise above the abuse that always ends up being the catalyst for a climatic ending.
From Diary of a Mad Black Woman (the title alone wrecks me) to Why Did I Get Married? And of course the horrifying For Colored Girls that preceded the equally horrifying and confusing Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor — Perry birthed a flourishing career that attracts the a monsoon of “green” by reshuffling the same tracks over and over again to produce the kind of results that have become his signature move.
Perry and his colleague-in-crime— Lee Daniels — the mastermind behind the sleekly produced — Empire — both have something in common.
It can be best described as being perpetually stuck in the sunken place.
Actress and comedian Mo’Nique famously expresses her utter disdain for both men in a public rant that went viral.
The Oscar-winner who won the Best Supporting Actress category for her tour de force performance in Precious — accuses Perry and Daniels of “whiteballing” her from Hollywood. Another titan of the industry — Oprah Winfrey who also produced Precious — joins the list of perpetrators who encouraged the demise of what was supposed to be the ushering of a promising career for a Black actress — who paid her dues by playing the part she was born to play.
Check it out!
Harsh words for sure, but the truth is never kind to our senses especially when they are acute enough to harden the blow.
Perry has consistently avoided getting entangled in the messy opera of racism in Hollywood.
Unlike Chris Rock who notably erected a scathing essay for The Hollywood Reporter — where he blasted the machine that made him wealthy by criticizing the lack of respect directed towards Black Hollywood— Tyler Perry is contentedly and conveniently colorblind.
His ongoing betrayal hits with privileged vengeance as he even turned on his OWN with accusations of “reverse racism” after the uproar over his casting choices for the TV drama — Too Close to Home — where he hired mostly Caucasian actors and defended his actions by pointing out how:
“ridiculous” it is that “African-Americans” would expect him to only give jobs to “Black people” when you consider “the hundreds of Black people I’ve given jobs to and the ones I’ve made millionaires.”
Fair enough, tooting your own horn is never a crime — but the damaging evidence comes with this classic blow:
“I’m just finding out more as I travel the country and world, the more I meet people, we’re all the same…We got the same dramas. So I’m not seeing color as much as I did anymore in the sense of our stories. Our stories are so similar.”
Those comments were made late last year and they clearly define a man who is intelligent enough to amass an empire that wouldn’t exist without the squeals of a Black audience — that he desperately coaxes — to ensure loyalty, but abandons when well-suited henchmen treat him to power lunches.
These meetings are to discuss how to deepen the lines that threaten the ease of versatility in a sustained environment.
Perry once again demonstrates his allegiance to the craft of mandated nonchalance during an in-depth interview with THR — where he carefully crafted a damning response to a question about whether or not the industry at large truly considers the relevance of the African American audience:
Listen, let me tell you something about what I know about Hollywood. I don’t think it’s black and white, I think it’s green. It’s just about, Where’s the money? How do we make the money? How do we make the business grow? It’s all about the money. So whatever’s making the money is where the respect is going to be.
Dear Tyler Perry, Hollywood isn’t “green” it’s very white and so are you.
You’re so white that you make the studio executives at Universal seem remarkably tan when you stand next to them — waiting for the valet to pull up in your high-tech speed demon.
You’re so blended that your incredulous disregard for a community that continues to sink in the hole of disrepair — due to societal negligence — plays out like a cramped episode — layered with mystery and contempt as the main character rejects the golden opportunity to be the hero — in favor of Doing Bad All By Himself.
It’s unbearable to watch a Black man make the transition to a colorless and transparent figure — as he grunts carelessly like a creature of habit with a diet that can’t be devoid of self-hate — and a grossly configured ideology that paralyzes his view long enough for him to retain the keys to the kingdom.
Hopefully Perry’s stint as a White dude with money and power who visualizes equality where there is none — will be worth the effort although I hear his time may run out sooner than he thinks.
The Blacks are closing in. I guess when all else fails — he was always have Madea.