Tyler Perry in Question

diaryblackwoman6So, it’s been the general opinion of this blog, its readers and the movie viewership of America that Tyler Perry is the cheif anti-Oreo. What the spawn of satan will be to the end of days, TPear is to attempts to assimilate. 

The Oreo Experience wonders now if this is the case.

Hear me out. While Tyler appears to stand for all that TOE detests, there are some key elements about him that may indicate is is a sheep in wolf’s clothing and perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, an Oreo deep down inside.

For example, Tyler Perry:

  • Exhibits a poor view of black people. His movies and shows rely on trite sterotypes to find the funny. Is he writing this way because it’s what makes money, or because it’s what he believes? If it was purely about capitalism, surely some of his truth would have seeped out by now and he would have made something pleasant. Buttyler-perry-newswire-335a061207 the self-loathing evident in his product makes him a prime candidate for Oreodom. 
  • Enjoys exploiting people of color. At his current rate of production, TP puts out a movie and nearly a full run of  TV series a year. This means he has a slew of people working very hard so that he can make media junket appearances. Because he runs “black” shows, and because he chose to settle in Atlanta, most of his employees are of color. Notably, his writers, who Perry seemingly prevented from joining their union during their employ. Only relatively recently, and after millions in his own pockets did TP give in
  • Is intmidated by Spike Lee.  Thanks to blogger Belle Woods for reposting comments on Tyler Perry’s reaction to director Spike Lee. Apparently Spike called TP on the carpet for his portrayal of black people. Tyler fought back, claiming that Madea is really a subversive way of instilling value in the viewers. Now, while a true Oreo would invite Spike over for scones and conversation, a self loather would take the same emotional stance as the fairer folks and tuck tail a bit when Lee speaks. 

The jury is still definitely out. But I’m keeping my eye on him. Maybe he’ll surprise me.

Or maybe we’ll get a new summer blockbuster: Madea Does Dallas.

Lost in Translation

Hindsight is always 20/20 and I’ve come to realize that for the last week, my coworker has been seeing me in quite the wrong light.

Forget Medea and Jason, this was a Greek tragedy!

Forget Medea and Jason, this was a Greek tragedy!

When I told her what I was going to see after work last Thursday, her eyes got gleefully big and told me that I would have a blast!

I appreciated the well wishes, but I was surprised. This is a coworker who every weekend, tells stories of embraces with strangers at trendy bars, henna tattoos and occasionally dred-locking her blonde hair. To see her be impressed with my tickets to Medea was a pleasant surprise.

Monday morning, she made clear to me what she meant.

“Did you love it,” she squealed as she burst into my office. “She’s so funny…”What’cha’ll gone do? what’cha’ll gone do? Y’all best know dat ‘ho.’ I could imitate her all day!”

Apparently, my coworker did not notice the important difference between the names “Medea,” the enchanting daughter of King Aeëtes, granddaughter of sun god Helios and wife to hero Jason, whom she helped through his trials as he fought to claim the golden fleece. And “Madea,” a woman who is really Tyler Perry in drag and who delights in being sassy, protecting her offspring through colorful language and generally making life harder for black people.

I’m not sure what about my Queen Elizabeth mousepad or the framed degree from Bryn Mawr on my wall that led her to believe that I would poison my eyes with such a thing, but I’m worried that my identity is not being made clear. Suffice to say I’m hoping to keep my office door closed, and play my Chopin a little more loudly through it.

PS. In case you’re wondering if the Medea retrospective featuring the various incarnations of her story as told by Francesco Cavalli, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saverio Mercandante, Darius Milhaud and progressive Dutch rock band Kayak was worth the $100+ ticket. It was indeed.