Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tyler Perry and Spike Lee's Irreconcilable Differences

            +            =      

                             TOM     +    TOM  = TYLER PERRY


By Xavier James

I understand why Director Spike Lee is upset. And I definitely can't say that I blame him. For over twenty years now he's worked his butt off to change the horrible stereotypes of Black folks on the big screen, only to have Tyler Perry, within a few short years,  drag us all back to those 'dark ages' again. Way back then, there weren't any Black directors. And Black actors like Bill Robinson and Willie Best literally had to 'bootlick and buckdance' their way into movies. All the while praying that  their sacrifice would someday reward a new generation of actors that would not have to suffer the humiliation and degradation they endured. But how have they been rewarded? Well, they got characters like 'Brown'(Meet the Browns) and 'Pops' (House of Payne) compliments of Tyler Perry's low brow, throwback humor. Have you noticed any differences between Perry's comedy on television and film today compared to 50 or 60 years ago? Yeah, ones in color and the other is in black and white; that's the only difference. Tyler Perry has single handedly set black folks back 60 years. If you think I'm joking go back and watch some of the old movies and sitcoms, then compare them to Tyler Perry's movies and sitcoms; the similarities are literally frightening.

If you're too blind to see the connection between Tyler Perry's depiction of black women in film and Psychology Today printing an article called 'Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women', then you've deliberately stuck your head in the sand. The magazine claimed their findings were based on statistical analysis; yeah right. Physical attraction is based on perception...image...situations with positive and negative responses. You can be as beautiful as Nefertiti, but when you open your mouth and crazy sh*t comes out, you become very unattractive. Black folks all over America were up in arms about Psychology Today's racist article but when Tyler Perry(For Colored Girls) consistently makes movies that paint black women as undesirable, mad, domineering, and morally loose,  you pat him on the back and give him an NAACP Image Award; go figure. You can't have it both ways "black peoples." Honestly, Spike Lee is one of the few high profile black folks to stand up and say enough is enough. Everybody else allowed Tyler Perry to run a muck for years. And a majority of the actors in his movies and sitcoms are so desperate for work they keep their mouths shut.

Now, I've heard some people say that Spike Lee is just hatin' on Tyler Perry because he's become more successful then him. Well now, that depends on how one measures success. A crack dealer can be called successful. But here's another analogy; if Tyler Perry owns a McDonald's Franchise that keeps feeding the black community garbage, do you keep taking your kids there to eat? Well, judging from Tyler Perry's ticket sells a lot of black folks do exactly that. But Spike Lee's movies have made lots of money. He's grossed around $400 million dollars without putting on a dress or selling his people out. That's your standard right? If Spike Lee had decided to take the Tyler Perry route and give the studios a suitcase full of stereotypes he'd already have grossed billions of dollars in ticket sells. Besides, Tyler Perry's movies are PG-13; Spike Lee's are 'R' rated. Think about the difference that will make at the box office.

So, are you telling me the best black director to ever step behind the lens can't be critical of the people he's paved the way for? Sure, he's had a few questionable movies, but being 35-3 is one hell of a record. And that's because Spike Lee looks at movie making as an art. Tyler Perry's approach to movie making is money making; by any means necessary.You know its interesting when you hear white critics who normally blast Spike for being too racial, blasting Tyler Perry for being too buffoonish. Now tell me that isn't crazy! Spike Lee's Classic movie 'Malcolm X' was chosen by The Library of Congress as one of the 25 films that will be preserved in its National Film Registry. But who knows, maybe someday they'll include a category for men who like to wear Mascara and dresses. Taken from

Spike Lee's best:                     Tyler Perry's best:                      
1. Do the Right Thing                                             0
2. 4 Little Girls
3. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
4. Malcolm X
6.The Original Kings of Comedy
7.He's Got game

Taken from
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