Tyler Perry has seen much success from his films and stage plays. This year, thanks to his work in Hollywood, the filmmaker ultimately landed himself a spot among some of the industry’s most notable billionaires.
Recently, Perry revealed that many of those projects, if not all, were exclusively written by him. The “Nobody’s Fool” creator left critics split following his admission. Many believed that Perry’s characters lacked progression and displayed the stereotypical narratives of Black people. In contrast, others expressed that the actor just knows what his fans like.
During a recent interview with Variety, Perry addressed critics who said that they didn’t like his work. “When I hear that kind of stuff, I’m thinking, ‘Are y’all looking at the ratings? Do you understand that the audience is in love with this?” he told the media outlet. He continued, “Because if you’re complaining about my writing, you’re not the audience. My audience loves the way that it’s done and the way the stories are told. And from the beginning, it’s always been about being true to them.”
The 51 year old said because of his critical upbringing, he didn’t let the repeated harsh analysis of his movies get to him. “I grew up with a man who criticized me and said all kinds of horrible things to me every day of my life. And if that 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-year-old, beautiful kid can endure that and find a way, what kind of man would I be to be hurt or bothered by some other criticism?” Perry explained. “I never see a lot of it, but if it does get to me, I look for truth in it. There’s a lot of it that’s just vitriolic; that’s just ‘I’m going to hate on him because he’s Tyler Perry.’ I get that. But when there’s truth in the criticism, like, ‘Why did he do this, this and this?’ I go, ‘Hmm, let me think about that.’ “
He continued, “And if I start writing for the critics, the only movie that I ever wrote that got some critical acclaim [2010’s ‘For Colored Girls’] didn’t do very well. I know to speak to the audience — that is the business; that is the voice; those are the people that matter the most to me.”
In recent years, people on social media have blasted the filmmaker for his depictions of Black women, seemingly rushed production, and his claims to be the only writer on his team.
One person commented on Twitter, “We been knew that’s why his characters and storylines are trash and one dimensional.”
“Which Tyler Perry movie is actually the worst for Black women? I say Temptations,” another person wrote on Twitter.
A third person commented, “So that’s why he just keeps churning out the same hackneyed script over and over and over and over again.”
Still, Perry admits there was one person whose criticism “stung” him. In 2009, Hollywood veteran Spike Lee took aim at the star when he described Perry’s modern depictions of Black characters as “coonery and buffoonery,” which led to a public feud between the two men. “If any criticisms stung, it would have been his because I had so much respect and admiration for him,” said Perry, who later named one of his 12 soundstages at his studios after Lee.
Perry revealed that the two have since reconciled, saying, “People’s opinions are their opinions, but that doesn’t negate the fact of the work that he’s done. And he’s due the honor of having a stage named after him and more than that.”