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Tyler Perry: Filmmkaing Against the Odds

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

Tyler Perry has been in a love hate relationship with Hollywood for years. Fans of Tyler Perry's Medea will tell you that Tyler Perry is a veteran of stage and screen for years and only now is Hollywood starting to recognize him and stand behind his movie making endeavors. Fan will also tell you that his reputation in the community is also one of Love and Hate (hate as in "hater" hate) Tyler Perry's character Medea is known for being the ghetto grandmother that is all too familiar in the African American community. Medea represents a side of the African American culture that few are ready to embrace. Although it is more than just a little funny to see this pistol packing Mama lay down the law and tell it like it TI'is, she has bruised some egos along the way. African Americans struggle with the portrayal and dehumanizing of its culture causing a barrage of negative reflections and Medea's story does not protect that image. Medea as a character however real or however exaggerated can be taken as sheer comedy or as a bashing of our motherhood image. This has caused Tyler Perry to come under fire within the community and no matter how much he tries the image of Medea or her market worthiness will not die. We will always remember Tyler Perry for making us laugh at what we see of ourselves and others through Medea's story.

As a film maker taking the leap from funny to serious is not easy task. The past few years in his film career, Tyler Perry has been working hard to bring about the true issues that face African Americans as a culture onto the big screen. His most acclaimed and recent series of Why did I get Married? addressed the marital stresses of today's culture all with an African American cast. The first movie was excellently done and had a notable cast like Janet Jackson and Jill Scott. These two gave the movie the Hollywood creditability and market push to be successful at the box office besides being well written the movie gave viewers the change to relate and experience a wide range of emotions. The follow up Why Did I get Married too? did not do as well but was still credible. Diary of a Mad Black Woman was also a stage to screen hit for Tyler Perry but none was as memorable and impact full as his writing the screenplay and direction the adaptation of Ntozake Shange's play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf." The original play which featured only 7 women known by colors the movie has given each of the 20 characters names. The movie deals with intense issues that particularly impact women in a thought-provoking commentary on what it means to be a female of color in the world. Again because of the cast the movie soared to the charts and was totaled over 37 Million at the box office. Kimberly Elise who played Crystal aka Brown, Janet Jackson appears in her 3rd Tyler Perry film as Jo aka Red and to complete the color list came Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Whoopi Goldberg as Alice aka White. A special appearance by Macy Gray gave the movie a gritty feel. The men cast also made the colors come alive on screen. Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick, Richard Lawson, Khalil Kain and Hill Harper made sure the audience was mostly female. This was a big push for Terry but it did not come without a price. Tyler's portrayal of the men in the movie was strongly criticized by movie goers, especially male movie goers. The negative consensus was that it made black men look unsavory.

His latest movie Good Deeds, goes a little bit over to the other side of African American culture. Showing the "good life" vs. the "lesser life" was a challenging topic to bring forth on film. It was a vast mix of rationales and seemingly difficult situations all with the goal of building a bridge between two worlds. Casting himself as the lead again is drawing some flak from movie goers but the sense of revelations and reality checks are all to poignant in this film. Maybe one of her less convincing roles the great acting talent Thandie Newton joins Tyler Perry again to portray the strong defiant and poor maid. While Tyler plays the Ivy League grad who sees her struggle and wants to help simple because it feels good and he can. The life changes for both are well written and he is surrounded by talent again Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union to name a few. It is a hard sell but it is another box office hit already at 32 million.

Making the transition from stage to TV to movies was just the Tyler Perry way. Many of his original works started on the stage and his comedic television work Meet the Browns and House of Payne all started from character from his stage shows. Tyler Perry is definitely a success story but his story is a good one that pay its dues. Tyler has mastered the art of making African Americana's people of all nationalities take a good look at themselves while laughing and while crying all making the story of life have some kind of a moral and sensible positive appeal at the end. His character take the spotlight as he often does, playing opposite them. Some would say it is just his way of boosting his ego and career and others would say that it lends a ere of support to his cast, knowing that he is in the acting trenches with them. Well if his goal is to boost his career he has come along way and now has a solid career as an actor, director and producer. If his goal was to bring more about the African American lifestyle then he has come along way with that also. Since his movies give an inside look into the daily struggle of today's lives in the African American community. With Tyler Perry's movies it's save to laugh at yourself, to cry and to cheer about things that matter to you. As a professional it is clear that he pours his heart into his work. I am sure there is more to see from Tyler Perry as he has already left a memorable legacy. Be sure to look for his upcoming Medea's Whiteness Protection(comedy) and the Marriage Counselor (drama) that are next to hit the big screen.

Dorelle McPherson EIC of Vivrant Magazine Websites: Vivrantmagazine.com ( http://www.vivrantmagazine.com ) - Dorelle is the creator and manager of Vivrant Magazine through the print, online and Apple platforms. "While on a long journey of passionate endeavors I discovered a underlining passion for writing. I am eager to explore all the wonderful ways to express myself through writing and publishing. My professors saw a real talent and now is the time I have chosen to develop it." - Dorelle

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