Tyler Perry has given more context to his trademark character, Madea, which has appeared in at least 10 of his movies.
In a new episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, per TMZ, Perry discussed the inspiration behind the character, in response to Wallace asking the filmmaker about a previous comment Spike Lee made about Madea, calling the character “coonery buffoonery” in a 2009 interview.
“There’s a certain part of our society, especially Black people in the in the culture that…they look down on certain things within the culture,” Perry told Wallace. “For me, I love the movies that I’ve done because they are the people that I grew up with that I represent and they, like, my mother would take me in the projects with her on the weekends, she played cards with these women.”
Perry continued, “So when someone says, you’re harkening back to a point in our life that we don’t want to talk about or we don’t want the world to see—you’re dismissing the stories of millions and millions of Black people and that’s why I think it’s been so successful because it resonates with a lot of us who know these women.”
Perry also pointed to the Harlem Renaissance, saying that this conversation tracks back to before his time. “What is important to me is that I’m honoring the people that came up and taught and made me who I am. Their stories deserve to be told too,” Perry added. In 2009, Perry responded to Lee’s critique, telling him he can “go to hell,” though it appears the two buried the hatchet in 2019 when Lee took a tour of Perry’s movie studio lot in Georgia.
Perry is gearing up for the release of his upcoming Netflix pic, A Jazzman’s Blues, for which he serves as writer and director, and stars Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer.