*With a slew of popular movies and TV shows to go along with his entertainment empire, Tyler Perry can truly afford to not care about what haters may think of him or his catalog of work on the small and big screens.
But apparently, there was a time where critics who had a problem with his films, saying there are too many stereotypical characters that exploit the black community in them, bothered Perry. For the entertainment mogul, the reaction came as a complete surprise.
“Let me tell you what took me aback about that, when people were like, ‘How dare you put fat black people on television, these are caricatures, these are stereotypes’ — I was so offended because my aunt’s fat. My mother’s fat. My cousins are fat,” he told Rembert Browne during an interview for a new profile in New York magazine. “People who are like, ‘How dare you — these harken back to Mammy, Amos ’n’ Andy.’ I would hear all these things, and I would go, hmmm.”
While there have been many critics of Perry, one person who stood out was Spike Lee, who compared the 46-year-old entertainer’s work to minstrel shows in a 2009 interview with Black Enterprise. According to the filmmaker, Perry’s television shows “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne” represented “coonery and buffoonery.”
Perry fired back in a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal, saying, “Spike can go straight to hell! Spike needs to shut the hell up!”
Despite squashing their beef since then, Perry noted the affect Lee’s comments had on his audience.
“There’s a lot of my audience that likes what he does. And there’s a lot of his audience that likes what I do,” he told Browne. “And when you make those kind of broad, general strokes, and you paint your audiences in them, they go, ‘Wait a minute, are you talking about me? Are you talking about my mom?’”
For more of Perry’s New York magazine profile, click here.