Tyler Perry Recalls Spike Lee’s Past Criticism Of Madea Character: I’m Honoring The People That Taught & Made Me Who I Am
Tyler Perry is standing beside his popular Madea character despite the backlash he’s received from Spike Lee.
In a new episode of “Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace?,” billionaire filmmaker Tyler Perry, 53, addressed Academy award-winning director Spike Lee’s past criticism for his character that he created and portrays, Madea. Full name Mabel “Madea” Earlene Simmons, the character is described as a tough, street-smart elderly African-American woman that is based on Tyler Perry’s mother and aunt.
During the appearance, host Chris Wallace asked Perry about Spike Lee’s previous comments. As a response, the famed actor said he’s “heard it all” when it comes to the backlash surrounding the role, which he has played onstage and in films. Perry shared,
“There’s a certain part of our society, especially Black people in the culture, that they look down on certain things within the culture.”
The talented writer, producer, and director continued,
“For me, I love the movies that I’ve done because they are the people that I grew up with that I represent. Like, my mother would take me in the projects with her on the weekends. She’d play cards with these women. Most of them didn’t have a 12th grade education, but their stories and how much they loved each other and how when they’d get sad about something another would come in and make a joke. I’m 5 years old on the floor with my Matchbox cards. I was in a masterclass for my life.”
“So when someone says, ‘You’re harkening back to a point of our life that we don’t want to talk about it or we don’t want the world to see,’ you’re dismissing the stories of millions and millions of Black people. That’s why I think it’s been so successful because it resonates with a lot of us who know these women in these experiences and Uncle Joe and so on and so forth.”
“But what is important to me is that I’m honoring the people that came up and taught and made me who I am. Their stories deserve to be told too.”
As previously reported, Oscar winner Lee, 65, criticized the type of films Perry wrote and once said he wasn’t on board with Perry’s portrayal of Black people and stereotypes. Even though Perry seems unbothered by critics who don’t like his work, Lee’s former criticism of his fictional characters, — where he referred to them as “coonery and buffoonery” — may have hurt the media mogul a little.
Despite this, he still named one of the soundstages at his Tyler Perry Studios lot after Spike Lee. Perry explained,
“If any criticisms stung, it would have been his, because I had so much respect and admiration for him. 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.”
Perry revealed that Lee actually reached out to him following an interview he had with Oprah Winfrey. Perry said Lee decided to come to Atlanta to speak with him directly. Perry recalled,
“I opened the door. I said, ‘Come in here, so I can beat your a**.’ And [Lee] said, ‘Fair enough.’ And we sat and we had a conversation… He laid out his views and his opinions, which I respected. And he heard mine, and he respected them. So we can both exist in the same world with very different views and opinions and still respect each other.”
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