Friday, April 22, 2011

Tyler Perry as Madea: Do I Have A Problem With It?

Years ago I was watching a preview for a movie and I kept thinking that the woman standing at her front door looked more like a man. I felt kind of bad about that, because it wasn’t like I was trying to judge or anything; I was only making an observation. Later I found out that I had nothing to feel bad about because there was a man under that gray wig and behind all that make up. Tyler Perry portrays Mabel “Madea” Simmons.

Even though he had been writing, directing and performing in stage plays for years, I didn’t know anything about Tyler Perry until the preview of the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, inspired by the play of the same name. Ever since then, different people have criticized this man because he puts on a dress to play a woman. This is how I feel about it: The man is acting. I had no problem with Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie or Martin Lawrence as Big Mama (I loved Big Mama’s House 2, by the way) or Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire or Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari disguising themselves as women in Bosom Buddies, and I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea.

Why are some people always trying to find the worst in everything? Yes, Tyler Perry has flaws; we all have flaws. But as far as his work, he brings something good to people’s lives with Madea; he makes them laugh. And he’s not doing it like some comedians do, which is by making fun of another person’s weaknesses or imperfections or personal problems or using so much profanity that if there is a good joke in there, it’s difficult to find. Let me tell you, I always appreciate it when someone can make me laugh because laughter brightens my days. And, oh yeah, if you know anything about me at all, you know I’m gonna quote the Bible: A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. That’s Proverbs15:13 the New King James Version. The New Living Translation: A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.

I’ve gotten the impression after hearing Tyler Perry speak on occasion, that he’d rather not play Madea anymore. He said something like it takes four hours to get into the make-up and the entire costume, and it can get hot in all of that padding. I don’t think he feels good at all luggin' those big saggin' breasts around. I believe he said they are stuffed with bird seeds. If you have never seen the wild woman Tyler Perry created, check out the picture of Madea up in the corner. That’s a whole lot of birdseeds! But this talented man has said that as long as people want to see Madea, he’ll play the role. I do not condemn him for that choice. I applaud him for giving people want they want; a character they enjoy watching because she makes them laugh.

I admit that I’m not into everything Tyler Perry has created. I’ll watch Meet the Browns every now and then, because I like that the show addresses teen issues, but, I’m sorry, Mr. Brown is too zany for my taste. And I guess Madea can go too far every now and then, but it’s not like ‘ridiculous over the top humor’, but more like ‘this woman just does not care and in real life she’d probably be in jail a lot longer than she was in Madea Goes to Jail’. Anyway, like I said before, I have no problem with Tyler Perry as Madea. I like Madea’s humor and boldness, but what I like most is that she always has words of wisdom to share. Nobody should take her seriously when she tells Bible stories or quotes the Bible, though, because, even though she makes it funny, she does not know what she's talking about.

I haven't seen all of Tyler Perry's movies in the theater; sometimes I waited for the DVD. However, I do plan to show my support this weekend and go see Madea's Big Happy Family. I’m not going just to see Madea, though. I really like Loretta Devine and Cassi Davis.

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