Although I’m not the biggest fan of your work, I took no joy in your new movie, Single Moms Club, becoming your worst opening picture to date. Okay, fine, I smirked for a few seconds, but I bet the stars of The First Wives Club laughed like hell at your official failed attempt to make a movie that’s sort of like the Lady Gaga to their Madonna. I really hope Bette Midler is somewhere going, “Who shot ya? Separate the weak from the obsolete.”
Likewise, I took no personal joy in Lionsgate ending its deal with your 34th Street Films, given that arrangement was intended to help you introduce other filmmakers not named Tyler Perry. Then again, one of the very movies released under that banner, For Colored Girls, is the main reason why I stopped going to see your movies in theaters. Your movies have made made close to a $1 billion and you own an island. We both know your heart will go on.
Anyway, thanks to Netflix, I did watch one of your most recent works. What was it called again? Tyler Perry’s Confessions of Another Stuck Up, Educated Light Skinned Heifer You Want To Punish On Film? Or was it Tyler Perry’s Confessions Of a Girl Who Needs Jesus & a Bus Driver? Whatever, you know which one I’m talking about; the one with the Smollett girl from Eve’s Bayou. That one.
I don’t want to rehash the rage the ending spawned— though it is incredibly irresponsible and downright despicable to use AIDS as a tool of punishment—but I do think that movie and your other Madea-less film failures in recent years point to a pattern that you need to address if your aim is to get back on top.
For starters, by now you should realize that you can’t just repurpose old film plots and expect to win big at the box office. So if you’re going to keep sampling movies from the 1980s and 1990s, you need to be like Puff Daddy and make that remix hot. In 2014, you’re more like Diddy in the mid 2000s. Remember any of his hits from that era? Me neither.
Oh, and I know you want crossover appeal, but sir, you may catch a few batches of White folks here and there, but sticking random C-list White actors isn’t going to make your movies more appealing to them. Like most of the Black mamas and great aunties in attendance, they just want to see Madea threaten to pistol whip somebody. Please stop trying so hard.
Now, if you’re serious about branching out and doing more “serious” movies and gain wider audiences, I have one very important tip for you: Please evolve, particularly on the way you portray women.
If there is one pattern to be found in your works, it’s the obvious disdain for “uppity,” educated women. That, more than anything else, is why I personally can now only take your works in doses. Hell, I would rather leave my contacts in hot dog water overnight than watch another one of your mean spirited dramatic diss records to smart, professional women.
Also, I know romantic comedies are all tied to a “happy ending,” but for someone whose entire fortune is based on the monetary support of Black women, you’d think you’d be a bit kinder to the single ones. Yes, it’s always nice to have someone, but why is a woman’s happiness always predicated on her landing a man—particularly a blue collar one?
Can no one in your movies be unmarried and be—gasp!— happy all the same? I mean, you’re not married, but you seem to be quite giddy. Why can’t any of your female characters be just as satisfied?
And how about outsourcing some of the screenwriting and directing duties to some of these brilliant Black children of God out here who have the talent, but can’t get the work? You don’t have to be a one-man-band when you have the resources to hire other people. And maybe more outside input can help you tell new stories with new characters.
Wait, let me stop before I end up the basis of a character in one of your future movies: Godless, hedonist homosexual who doesn’t find nirvana Jesus until a wise cracking, single mother of two and a half introduces me to love while stamping my priority mail.
The bottom line is you can’t keep doing is giving us Cassie the first time she performed on 106 & Park and keep expecting Beyoncé results.
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