Tyler Perry is one of the most successful people in Hollywood but his countless films and television shows have also come with a fair share of backlash. Many critics, including Spike Lee, have blasted the actor/producer/director for portraying the black community in negative and stereotypical ways. "It is unfair for black people to say, 'Carry my story in your story — show me in your story,'" Perry says in a new interview with New York Magazine. "And for people to say that they're stereotypes of black people, that's bullshit — it's offensive. These are real versions of us. And every one of us has the right to tell our own story."
For Tyler, the Madea franchise, which plays often on Oxygen, and shows like House of Payne, show a slice of real life. Fans who disagree need not look any further than the filmmaker's own family as proof. “Let me tell you what took me aback about that, when people were like, ‘How dare you put fat black people on television, these are caricatures, these are stereotypes’ — I was so offended because my aunt's fat. My mother's fat. My cousins are fat.”
The filmmaker and friend of Oprah also addresses Spike Lee (who called his work "coonery and buffoonery"). “You have to be careful, because our audiences cross-pollinate a lot of times. There’s a lot of my audience that likes what he does. And there’s a lot of his audience that likes what I do," he says. "And when you make those kind of broad, general strokes, and you paint your audiences in them, they go, ‘Wait a minute, are you talking about me? Are you talking about my mom?'"
In the end, Tyler Perry is unapologetic about who he is and his work. Hate him or love him, he’s here to stay.