In October I wrote an article questioning whether Tyler Perry was helping or hurting the Black community with his buffoonery and onscreen shenanigans. Contrary to nearly every script Perry has signed his name to for movies and television, all Black people are not slovenly dressed, bible thumping, barely educated, or packed in a house like sardines. I myself, have not supported a Tyler Perry in longer than I could actually count backwards. There are only so many times you can watch a grown man parade around in a dress or unmatched clothes and suspenders doing stupid stunts, and find it funny.
Apparently, he has tried something totally different and is catching flack from his long-time Black supporters.
This week Tyler Perry is in the news claiming that the people who are outraged by TLC show “Too Close To Home” are guilty of reverse racism. Perry has spent his whole career profiting off of the caricature and support of the Black community and many are outraged that his new show has an all-white starring cast.
Perry spoke on the social media backlash to the Associated Press “That’s totally reverse racism, because it was coming from African-American people,” said Perry, speaking with The Associated Press from Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
“I don’t know if it was because they thought I should only be giving jobs to black people. Well, I think that’s ridiculous. If you look at the hundreds of black people I’ve given jobs to and even the ones I’ve made millionaires, people of color, I just think it’s unfair.” Perry stated
The show is the first ever scripted show on TLC, a distinction which probably piqued a few people’s interest on its own. In case you haven’t seen the show, “Too Close To Home” is another tale of presidential scandal, centered around Anna, who had an affair with the sitting commander-in-chief. Forced to flee D.C., she heads to her childhood family home in an Alabama trailer park. Being home brings its own familial challenges while powerful people from D.C are looking to hunt her down.
The show follows several story lines and while the starring cast is all white, the supporting cast is more diverse.
Perry, who is the writer, director and producer of the shows says he can see the people in the trailer park clearly because it was once him. The producer revealed that he once shared a trailer with family members in Louisiana.
“I know that world very well,” said Perry. “The same stories I’m relating to and telling, it could be anyone black or white. I’m not trying to the shine a light on a certain stereotype or certain people in a trailer park. It’s my own experiences from having spent time and sleeping there.”
This writer hasn’t seen the show and has no opinion on it. What I will say however is, if he was going to write a story of a woman being a whore to a high profile white guy, I’m glad he didn’t choose a sister. We already have Being Mary Jane and Scandal. We don’t need any more of that stereotype portrayed right now. It would be nice if we could get rid of those two.
What do you think of Tyler Perry’s decision to have an all-white starring cast? Have you seen the show?