“Keep watching this show. It is going to BLOW YOUR MIND from week to week,” tweeted Perry to his 2.5 million followers. “Now tomorrow, make sure you talk about how good this show is at your job, OK?”
Perry also released a comedy show a month before the “Haves” called “Love Thy Neighbor,” on the same network.
The premieres of both series established new viewership records for the OWN Network. But since then ratings have dropped and Perry has been met with less than positive feedback. For some, “Love Thy Neighbor” and “The Haves and the Have Nots” have-not strayed away from the negative stereotypes within the African-American community, reports Greg Braxton for the LA Times.
It seems that Perry’s brand of comedy has rubbed some people the wrong way and is particularly offensive. “Love Thy Neighbor” is set in a family run diner and stars Patrice Lovely as Mama Hattie. Her character has an overly exaggerated voice that can be heard spitting out a barrage of insults on the show.
A Rutgers University professor called Perry “a cultural batterer,” who perpetuates destructive images of black women.
Oprah and Tyler have a life long friendship and are prominent figures in not only the Black community, but media as a whole. Some critics feel the linking of their brands is somewhat of a contradiction with Oprah is known for promoting; personal improvement and self-empowerment, and Perry is known for broad low-brow humor and preachiness.
According to Nielsen, Perry’s two series have taken a dive in ratings by almost 30%; which should raise some concerns. However, OWN has continued to lobby for both shows saying that they are pleased with the results thus far. Rather than focus on the decrease of ratings, they choose to highlight the fact that both programs are a hit amongst the target demographic of females ages 25-54. In fact, the cable network announced Tuesday it has ordered an additional 16 episodes of the “Haves and Have Nots” — bringing its season total to 32 episodes.
It remains to be seen how the continued friendship turned business association for Winfrey and Perry will pan out. Even with a decline in ratings, both parties maintain that the shows are in good standing.
During an interview on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Perry addressed his critics by stating that his popularity with the millions of fans his productions have drawn in should be a clear indication that he’s doing something right. He thinks that it’s best to continue on with his brand and that it would be “ridiculous and suicidal” to try to please critics by changing his artistry.
Read more of this story by Greg Braxton at the LA Times.