Out of touch

TylerPerryI wanted to bring to attention this item in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. Staff writer Lorenza Muñoz jumped on a tremendous Hollywood story of how Tyler Perry‘s Oprah-inspired journal writing about childhood physical abuse turned into plays and movies that are now taking the entertainment industry by storm.

And the major themes of his stories are the Christian tenets of faith, hope and redemption in an African American cultural context:

Having shown that black churchgoers can also be filmgoers, Perry — inspired by the likes of Bill Cosby before him — is out to introduce himself to mainstream white America.

“What is important to me about this movie is that the stories and messages are for anyone,” said Perry, who says a recent test screening drew raves from a white audience near Sacramento. “Anyone who needs to learn about forgiveness … will enjoy it no matter who they are.”

… Lionsgate is aggressively targeting the spiritual community by printing 30,000 prayer cards to be distributed at more than 1,200 churches nationwide [to promote Perry's new film, Madea's Family Reunion]. On one side is Perry wearing a large gold cross; on the other is Madea surrounded by a golden cloud resembling the Holy Spirit. On Thursday, Perry will appear on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Why is it so surprising to Hollywood executives that religious African Americans look for quality entertainment and are willing to pay to get it? And why is it so surprising that these religious themes — while directed at African Americans — also appeal to the broad swath of religious people in the United States?

Stories like these that shatter Hollywood executives’ preconceptions and stereotypes of other Americans are much-needed, and in a way that’s sad. It’s too bad this country’s entertainment executives are so out of touch with the American people.

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  • http://myimmortallife.blogs.com Fayola Shakes

    Because Hollywood still thinks Christianity is limited the to so-called whitebread, red-state religious fundamentalists…I call it the Color Purple Complex. All you see are scenes like the church scene from the Color Purple or a neat little NPR package during black history month…never anything more progressive and contemporary. A good example of a movie that broke those stereotypes is The Gospel, with Boris Kodjoe. But they’re always poorly funded. Other than that, b#!#ches, hoes, sports and the annual rapper-turned-actor movie will always be on the top of their lists.

  • Daniel

    Will a broad swath of religious people in the United States show up to see a cross-dressing black man? It’s quite possible, given the success of other movies quickly dismissed by naysayers, like the recent movie dismissively called as a bisexual, sheepherder movie.

    Unquestionably, there is a market for these kinds of movies and the African American audience is largely untapped. I do wonder, however, about the crossover appeal. Will white ministers rent out theatres to show this movie to their parishoners?

  • C. Davidson

    What was most surprising to me about the article, however, were the lack of pointed questions toward Perry himself: He certainly has no problem making himself center of attention, insisting on his name on everything he does, nor does he seem concerned about the riches that his films and dvds reap. A question or two about how Perry squares this with some of Christ’s admonitions regarding worldly wealth would have made for a richer (excuse the pun) article.

  • http://myimmortallife.blogs.com Fayola Shakes

    Perry’s cross-dressing is no different from Martin Lawrence’s Big Mama character. I agree that it would have been nice to hear more from Perry himself, especially after reading the last two grafs about his plans for world domination, er, *entertainment empire*

  • jonquala Cook

    I wont to be in Tyler Perry plays. Do anybody know what i have to do to get in with the crew????

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com Molly
  • elliot

    “. . .a golden cloud resembling the Holy Spirit.”

    It’s a good thing that the word “resembling” was inserted, because as everyone knows, the Holy Spirit is more of a canary yellow color.