Tyler Perry To Critics Of Him Wearing A Dress As Madea Character: I’m Not A Man That Enjoys Wearing A Dress, It’s A Costume
Tyler Perry has confronted the criticism he’s received over his lengthy career.
During an appearance on an upcoming episode of T.I.’s “ExpidiTIously” podcst, Tyler Perry opened up about the criticism he’s received from other funny guys like Dave Chappelle, for wearing dresses as his infamous character Madea.
He also addressed the stigma that it’s easier for black men to become famous if they wear a dress. He said it was his choice to put on a dress for his character in his stage plays, that was his claim to fame.
“Chapelle is one of the most brilliant people I have ever seen in my life. Not just in comedy but the man is smart. A heavy, brilliant thinker. So, if that’s the case in Hollywood, then that’s the case. But that’s not my case. Nobody owned that dress but me. A $2 billion franchise, nobody told me to put it on, nobody makes me put it on. It was all on stage. Black man owned the whole show, it was my choice.”
He continued and said he kept wearing the dress for his first big-screen film.
“So when I got to Hollywood and wanted to do ‘Diary of A Mad Black Woman’, it was my choice. And 19 movies since then, it’s been my choice. Maybe that’s the way it’s been for some other men who have done that… I’m not a man that enjoys wearing a dress. For me, as an actor, it’s a costume. If somebody goes to Walmart to work, they put on their uniform. For me, that’s putting on a uniform, going out making people laugh, lifting them up, encouraging them. And the good that it does for so many people… My favorite moment is the last 30 minutes of every play. that’s the only time I don’t feel foolish or ridiculous… in arenas now… sit there and spit wisdom that speaks to people’s lives in a way that makes it right for me. Some people might not like the way the message got there, but for me, it’s important that the message landed and helped somebody.”
He went on to dish on his budding relationship with Oprah Winfrey.
“It wasn’t about her advising me… the beauty in that is we were able to develop a real friendship and really get to know each other for who we are. Oprah leans on me for advice just as much as I lean on her. And what’s beautiful about that is, I can call Oprah and say ‘I’m dealing with this’, and she’ll say ‘Oh I went through that in 1984. You do this, this, this, and this. Because she went first, because she’s a trailblazer, because she was the only black woman out there by herself doing this… people forget so quickly. It was a fight, and I’m proud of her every day.”
As for what’s next for him, he said he wants to take some of his land and build shelter for women who have been abused, and youth in the LGBTQ community, as well as victims of human trafficking.
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