Tyler Perry stepped into new territory with his latest Netflix drama, “A Jazzman’s Blues.” The Emmy-winning filmmaker wrote a “forbidden love” story about a biracial woman who passes for white and falls in love with a Black man.
“Tyler Perry’s tale of forbidden love and family drama unravels 40 years of secrets and lies against a soundtrack of juke joint blues in the Deep South,” the description for the movie shows on Netflix’s website. The film stars Joshua Boone as Bayou and Amirah Vann as Leanne, who share their first kiss in the trailer. The two had the idea to run away together, but Leanna’s mother had other plans for her to marry a rich white man.
“Do you still want to take me away?” Leanna asked Bayou, who replied, “With all my heart.”
“A Jazzman’s Blues” also features recent choreography from the legendary Debbie Allen. But according to Perry, the film was written almost 30 years ago before his Madea films became a hit.
“I wrote this 27 years ago, and I finally get to show it to the world. This is my new movie, A Jazzman’s Blues,'” the 52-year-old playwright tweeted. “I can’t wait for you to see it on @Netflix September 23rd. Here’s the trailer. More to come. #AJazzmansBlues.”
“So this isn’t the black version of the ‘Notebook’?” replied one skeptical fan about the film’s storyline.
“A Jazzman’s Blues” has a different take than his last Netflix movie, “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming.” As the news circulated online, fans began comparing what they see in the new trailer to what they remember from the romantic love story “The Notebook.” The Nick Cassavetes-directed film, set in 1940s South Carolina, tells the story of how Allie and Noah fell madly in love as teens one summer. The couple was separated due to their social and class differences but reconnected years later as adults. The film was adapted from the Nicholas Sparks‘ novel of the same title.
Another fan tweeted, “Tyler Perry’s New movie feels very ‘The Notebook’ but with a singing male lead. I will watch and love the hell out of it tho.”
A third person wrote, “Ohhhh it’s got a “Notebook” kind of feel to it…Can’t wait! 27 yrs ago??? What else you hiding? Your sir are amazing..the universe sure gave us a gift when they gave us a man like you with brilliance, humanity, and talent!!!”
A few critics were also skeptical about Perry doing a film that touches on race and segregation. One person wrote, “A period piece set when Black people have have no rights? Tyler Perry looking for an Oscar.”
Another said, “Not Tyler Perry casting a biracial woman to play a white woman in a reimagining of ‘The Notebook,’ which will be set in the Jim Crow era.”
No matter how skeptical, most fans are familiar with Perry’s work and longevity in the industry as a writer and producer. Some also pointed out that he “regularly” employs black crew members on set.
One person tweeted, “Tyler Perry is one of the few writers/producers that consistently employs African American actors, costume designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, etc. The least you could do is support his projects.”
“A Jazzman’s Blues” premieres on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 23.