By Liam Bouza
Everyone knows the name Tyler Perry for a variety of reasons, whether it is his famous stage play tours, his blockbuster movies depicting the lives of African American families all over the country, or even just his over-the-top characters like the popular Madea.
Tyler Perry comes from humble beginnings spending majority of his life savings at the age of 22 to put up his first stage play “I Know I’ve Been Changed.”
The play was the first of its kind to include Christian themes of forgiveness, dignity, and self-worth, while addressing issues such as child abuse and dysfunctional families that most of the media at the time considered taboo.
He used the eventual success of his plays to finance his directorial debut on the film “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” which cemented him as a household name with its overall popularity. Not only that but by doing this he made tremendous strides for black culture and the view the world has towards it.
Many students on campus share the same opinion. Freshman theatre major, Janell Campbell, expressed she believes, “Tyler Perry was a necessary stepping stone for every black creative.”
She shared how Perry was one of the reasons she was afraid to go into acting and mentioned, “You can tell how good or bad an actor is based on their opinion of him.”
Both Campbell and Jayden Bryan, a sophomore theatre major, agree if there were ever a chance where they could work with him, they would not take it.
To Bryan, Perry “stereotypes the heck out of his films,” and further misrepresents the Black community, especially Black women.
In an interview with the LA Times, Perry was confronted by critics with similar criticisms as well as the critique his films are not as representative as they seem. Perry responded by saying that he “is paying tribute to people who have inspired me, who all paved a brick for me to be here.”
Continuing this path, in 2019, Tyler Perry, who founded The Tyler Perry Studios in 2005, opened a massive studio. The studio based in Atlanta is said to have more than 330 acres and 12 sound stages.
Various articles from MovieWeb and the Hollywood Reporter have expressed this makes Perry’s studio bigger than Paramount’s studio in Burbank, Disney, and Warner Bros. all put together. The place includes a custom set that includes a to-scale White House.
Throughout the years, we have seen the increase in profit this studio has been able to create due to its resources. For example, the production budget for Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Family Funeral” was $20 million. After its March 2019 release, the worldwide box office grossed more than $74 million for the movie, making a profit of more than $54 million. The same goes for several of Perry’s movies.
His new Netflix movie “A Madea Homecoming” comes out on Feb. 25. We will see in the future if what has happened with his previous films, making more profit, stays true.