From Big Momma’s House to Juwanna Mann, men dressing as women isn’t that uncommon in comedy movies. However, there are those who think that the industry won’t allow a black actor to be famous or successful without them having to ‘sell out’ by putting on a dress — and Tyler Perry couldn’t agree more.
Starting as a stage character and ending as a staple to many of his movies. Madea is who put Tyler on the spot. The writer/actor/producer is now the owner of the largest black-owned studio.
Comedians like Dave Chapelle have criticized Perry for portraying the character that has taken him so far. The Chapelle Show star insinuated that it’s often the idea of white Hollywood bigwigs to emasculate black men in TV and film.
However, the father doesn’t see it the way other people may — he thinks of it as putting on a uniform to wear to work.
‘Chapelle is one of the most brilliant people I have ever seen in my life. Not just in comedy but the man is smart. A heavy, brilliant thinker. So, if that’s the case in Hollywood, then that’s the case. But that’s not my case. Nobody owned that dress but me. A $2 billion franchise, nobody told me to put it on, nobody makes me put it on. It was all on stage. Black man owned the whole show, it was my choice,’ Tyler explained on T.I’s podcast.
He went on to say: ‘So when I got to Hollywood and wanted to do ‘Diary of A Mad Black Woman’, it was my choice. And 19 movies since then, it’s been my choice. Maybe that’s the way it’s been for some other men who have done that… I’m not a man that enjoys wearing a dress. For me, as an actor, it’s a costume. If somebody goes to Walmart to work, they put on their uniform. For me, that’s putting on a uniform, going out making people laugh, lifting them up, encouraging them. And the good that it does for so many people… My favorite moment is the last 30 minutes of every play. that’s the only time I don’t feel foolish or ridiculous… in arenas now… sit there and spit wisdom that speaks to people’s lives in a way that makes it right for me. Some people might not like the way the message got there, but for me, it’s important that the message landed and helped somebody.’
It’s also important to note that the record-breaking 50-year-old has multiple successful movies and TV shows that don’t revolve around the Madea character.