[Biased] Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Joy says:

    Just had this convo with some friends on Sunday. I think people need to see their life experiences reflected in a positive manner in popular media. Both directors do this. Black Americans are not a monolithic group. Just as every family was not the Evans, Jeffersons, or Huxtables, every movie goer will not identify with the characters of Perry and Lee. I see both in my family, I see the value in both, but I do not expect them to serve the same needs for the same groups of people. No film maker can be all things to all people…Not to mention we do not have these same coversations about mainstream (White) directors…No one would say to Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler that they are reflecting White people in a poor light…

  2. akatito says:

    Thanks for commenting Joy. The difference is that Adam Sandler and Will Ferell are balanced by 215 other channels and hundreds of other movies showing their race an culture in other lights. Since Black Americans are seen very scarcely in the media, the image they (we) project when seen has a greater impact on the audience.

  3. I watched one Tyler Perry movie and have seen clips of others and i lack the desire to return to a theater or Netflix to see another. I think that some of his characters to represent a piece of our race and even a part of our families. However, for entertainment value these character’s personalities, vocabulary, southern drawl, and actions are over exaggerated to keep he crowd laughing. I think he has his own lane, he has broken many records and set many standards including making his own filming compound so that he would have complete control over his art. That is commendable.

    I think the real answer is we just need to support any stream of African American media that portrays us in a good light. Go to an independent screening from an AA director/producer, vote online for independent movie and music awards, and help them get the shine and support required to be picked up by a corporation.

  4. penpusher says:

    The problem is and has always been a lack of outlets for the production of media. Both Perry and Lee have gotten to a point in their careers where they have some (and yes it is still just *some* for both of these talents) control over what they do and how they do it. Keep in mind that most all of the entertainment outlets in the US are still controlled by a literal handful of corporations.

    Working within this framework (and you have to, otherwise you don’t get your project produced), you have to keep in mind that the money is the bottom line. Both Lee and Perry succeed because their projects have good B.O. and that’s how you get films and TV series made. Will people attend?

    The stereotype issue is, at best, a secondary concern for most of them, and may actually be encouraged if it means better ratings points or more ticket sales. At the end of the day, it’s all about the money and “societal issues” be damned.

    Chris Rock is now in trouble for his “Good Hair” documentary, in that people are angry that he exposed elements of the Black community to the mainstream that no one knew about, just for the sake of some laughs. This is an interesting point to me, and one I think is especially telling in the light of Tyler Perry’s work. Isn’t this the same issue? Perry is showing a side of African-American culture that Caucasians probably knew nothing about, and now people are becoming offended.

    I remember back in the early 90s when the Black Filmmaker Foundation was getting established and there was a kind of Filmmakers of Color Renaissance, with a lot of directors, like the Hudlin Bros., Mario Van Peebles, Robert Townsend, the Hughes Bros., Matty Rich, Charles Lane and of course Spike Lee all getting jobs and producing some textured and interesting work. I don’t know why it all dried up and ended, but this speaks to the hierarchy of the entertainment industry: if you don’t have money people to back your concepts, you aren’t gonna get it done. We need more successful minority people to produce work. Then, we’ll start seeing a bigger variety of material that can truly reflect the Black experience in America to the world.

  5. mikitamanda says:

    I love Spike Lee and his movies but I totally disagree with his comments. I don’t think that Tyler Perry’s actors are portraying “coonery and buffoonery” at all! We all have a family member that is crazy or special in their own way…and even though you might not see a dramatized uncle brown and madea, you know they are kind of similar or they remind you of at one aunt or … I dont know..i think tyler perry’s movies the actors represent something strong then bafoonary… they represent real life issues. If you decide to focus on the fact that madea smokes weed then the fact that she looks out after her family and belief that a child should be disciplined…i dont know.. on you

  6. J. Evette says:

    I think each filmmaker has a valid point. Unfortunately, the majority of images of African Americans on TV and in film are negative. So in support of Mr. Spike Lee, I believe we have to encourage perhaps serious and more well rounded images of African Americans that don’t just make you laugh. There’s so much that we have to reverse before anyone and everyone can appreciate the images Mr. Tyler Perry depicts in his films.

    Oh yeah, this is comment number one. 🙂

  7. Soultress says:

    I think you summed it up when you said “Black America is not a homogeneous group.” With that said I like to Spike Lee joints & Tyler Perry films.

    In fact Tyler Perry does use realistic characters to expose deeper issues. Spike Lee is from a different school of thought and both of their perspectives are valid.

  8. JR Reid says:

    Both have depicted us in stereotypical roles, Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing and Tyler Perry as Madea in a number of his films. At the end of the day both filmmakers tell a great story from our perspective. There are only a handful of black filmmakers compared to others and the fact that they have made their stamp on the industry and are supported by us is a step in the right direction. IMO the individuals making music videos need influence to paint better pictures and aspire to make movies or short films instead of negatively influencing the youth with money, cars, drugs and women but this a whole different post.

    They should not publicly bicker among themselves because there are so few and far between in the industry, they should perhaps work together on a film and making something meaningful that depicts us in a positive light from beginning to end.

    For example, Tyler Perry’s next movie Precious, is that another movie that delves into buffoonery and coonery as Spike put it? Not in my opinion based on the previews. Until next time……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *