Tyler Perry spoke about quashing his beef with Spike Lee during a recent interview on TMZ. And he also talked about honoring the legendary filmmaker at the opening of his Tyler Perry Studio on Saturday by naming a soundstage after him.
Perry is the first black person in the U.S. to own a film studio outright, which is a 330-acre facility in Atlanta that used to be a Confederate army base. Among other things, it has 12 soundstages in all, with each one being named after prominent black entertainers. Lee’s name is on soundstage 10.
But some may find that ironic, because Lee has been critical of Perry’s work in the past, calling it incredibly lowbrow. He also accused Perry of enforcing black stereotypes and said his “Madea” films, as well as his shows like “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne” were “coonery” and “buffoonery.”
Then in 2011, during a press conference in Beverly Hills, California, Perry shot back at Lee and said he had enough of his criticism.
“I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee,” said Perry. “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.”
But in 2013, during a visit to “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the “Mo’ Better Blues” creator said he changed his opinion on Perry, and the two were “cool” and had no “drama.”
Lee revealed that he and the studio owner also hashed things out during a face-to-face meeting at Perry’s house, which Perry also talked about during his recent interview.
“Spike called me a few years ago, came to my house, flew down to Atlanta, we sat down, we had a great conversation,” said Perry on Monday.
“So I’m hoping we as people start to come together and understand that, hey, everything is alright, everything’s cool,” he added. “You can have your opinion, I can have mine but we’re all going in the same direction. So I just wanted to honor him for what he’s done, for sure.”
“The truth is, you cannot deny what he has done in the film industry and how he’s been on the forefront to help me and everybody else get to the place where we are,” Perry explained.
Lee also attended Saturday’s studio opening and spoke about what it means for Black folks, both in and out of entertainment realms.
“This is a historic night, this is a historic night in cinema,” Lee told Atlanta’s 11 Alive. “Perry’s story, growing up with an abusive father, dropping out of high school, being homeless for a time and now one of the few most powerful figures in the film industry, is a uniquely remarkable one. This is the American dream.”