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Thursday, October 18, 2007

No Haterade Served Here...

I was going to use this post to review Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?", but decided to change it up a bit....

Though very spiritual, I am not much of a church-goer (growing up Catholic pretty much took care of that) and my life, as far as relationships go, is pretty stress and drama-free (now, haha), so I could only relate to Tyler Perry's movies and plays on a certain level. But I always appreciated how he has put himself out there, and has excelled completely, 100%, on his own terms, even while being criticized at every turn. It comes close to a miracle. It is also a great allegory of life; don't let anyone get you down or get in the way of your dreams, that's real talk.

One thing about art is that it means different things to different people. That's why I don't mind when people say "How could you like Shadowboxer?" cause I got out of it some things that they probably didn't see...that's the beauty of Tyler Perry's films. Someone said that he has a built in audience, and yes, he does, with good reason. He speaks volumes in our community about everyday trials and tribulations related to us on a multitude of levels, both comical and serious. And if you can't relate to one thing he's addressing just hold tight, cause inevitably there'll be something else that will hit close to home.

cgwhc forwarded this note he wrote to his fans...nothing I can say about this film could represent it better than this, in my opinion. It is also very representative of a black filmmaker's experience with his black and non-black colleagues and counterparts:

Hello, hello, hello!

Before I get into this I just want you to know that this one may be a little long. (smile)

These last two weeks I have been on a promotional tour for MARRIED. 9 states, 25 private screenings, several TV and radio appearances; all in about 12 days! And let me tell you--it has taken a toll.

- I have been told that since I'm not in a dress this movie wouldn't work.

- I have been called a racist (among other things) because there are no other races represented in this film (that's not something that I ever think about...I just want to tell a good story).

- I have been lied to, tricked, deceived.There was one reporter, who I was told was coming from New York to do a favorable piece. She sat in my office and smiled and asked me all kinds of questions. When the article came out it was all out of context and all about how my movies are the worst thing that have ever happened to Black people and that I am doing nothing but modern day step-and-fetch it, and that I'm just trying to get rich. I was shocked and quite upset by the trickery. Not only by her but also the things that were said about this movie in print were so awful. Several Hollywood trades didn't even mention that MARRIED was a contender for number one. They thought that the number one would be George Clooney's movie or Mark Walburg's movie.

Now I had never ever read any of this stuff in the past, but for some reason I felt lead to read it this time. The venom and disdain for what I do was apparent. And speaking of venom, what they did to Janet was unacceptable. Janet, who was under no obligation at all to promote this movie, sat with me while I was doing a round of TV interviews. Half way through the three hours of sitting in the same spot she was attacked by a reporter on a Sacramento morning show who only wanted to talk about the Super Bowl incident.

Now, I made it perfectly clear before we went live on the air that I wasn't talking about the Super Bowl or Janet's family. We had less than 5 minuets so I wanted to keep it positive and focus on the movie. But he didn't want to keep it positive. I had to maintain my composure because we were live on the air. I didn't let her speak. I kept jumping in because it was just so unfair to her. I have not seen Justin Timberlake attacked like that. I wasn't going to let them do that to her. Believe me when I tell you--Janet worked so hard on this film. She deserved more respect from this man than that! We both did.

In the midst of all of this I was fighting trying to get more screens because every other movie that opens with a track record like mine have not had to deal with fighting for screens. Most of the movies of my counterparts open on at least 3,000 screens. MARRIED was given 2,000. Needless to say I was exhausted and mentally drained. So, by this time it was last Thursday and I just had no more to give. So, when I started to write that email (about the movie and for you to please check your tickets and so on) all that I could think was, "Tyler don't let these people get you down. As a matter of fact, speak a word of encouragement to the people that have been there for you and let that be that!"

Every time I'm overwhelmed by negative I just have to remember how good God has been to me. And as I was thinking about all of this all I could hear was LIVE YOUR DREAM BOY! LIVE YOUR DREAM!!

I wrote to you about dreams because I was just in a place of realizing that I had done all that I could do and the movie was in God's hands, so I just wanted to encourage somebody. After I sent that email to you I was reading your responses on the message board and, well, you don't know what you did for me. Here I was thinking that I was encouraging you and then you turned around and encouraged me! That's why I thank God for you and your messages.

But little did I know how much more was to come...Jesus!!!

So, now cut to Friday. . .Dear GOD!!!

I decided to go to the movie and just relax. I was trying to buy tickets online so I tried the 7 o'clock show. It was sold out. I then tried the 8. It was sold out. Then the 9. It, too, was sold out! So I thought, "I need to call the theater. Maybe they'll save me a seat since I know some of the folks that are in this movie." (smile)

After the movie started I was brought into the back of the theater, and no sooner than I sat down I realized why I was having such a battle. I then realized why there was such an attack. As I looked at the faces of the people in this theater laughing and crying I got it. I got it! I had a feeling that this movie was special, but I didn't know how special. I could literally see husbands and wives coming together. I could see people letting go of past hurts. And I could feel forgiveness in the air. I enjoyed watching your faces while you watched the movie. Between the tears in my eyes and the watching of your faces I didn't get see much of the movie.

And then I got home and went to the message board and you all confirmed in words all that I was feeling in that theater. So, with all of that said I want to say to you, thank you. Thank you for crowding into those theaters. Thank for dealing with the headaches. Thank you for fighting your way across town. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for the number one movie in America. You did that and believe me--all of the ones that I mentioned at the top of this email are shaking their heads wondering why their weapons didn't prosper.

Truly Grateful,



Anonymous said...

It's always good to hear about the obstacles a man with even his track record has to overcome to maintain his creative integrity (you'd think they'd have figured it out by now).

Of course, it'd help if his movies weren't so very terrible (I've never walked out of a movie in my life until yesterday and "Why Did I get Married"). They're not "set back the race terrible", but they definitely fall into the "this is in no way whatsoever good" category. I respect that that's his vision, though.

There's certainly an irony in the fact that the first writing of any quality I've seen from Mr. Perry came in the form of that note.

justjudith said...

i am happy for his success. he makes his projects and that is admirable.

Nicole said...

Tyler deserves all of the success that comes his way. He has a vision and makes work that people can enjoy, if not all, at least some. I have not been interested in all of his plays and movies and thought that the TV show was horrible. However, there are other works of this that I think are entertaining. Initially, I haven't checked out Why Did I Get Married yet, but do plan on going to the Cineplex to support.

Invisible Woman said...

@ anon: sorry, but that's funny....@jj and nicole-even if his stuff isn't your flavor, you just have to give him props...hence my post

hottnikz said...

I haven't seen this movie yet. I've seen the play. Actually I prefer his movies. All that singing,overacting and carrying on drives me up the wall. I understand his efforts don't always represent all black folk, but I guess you can't please all people. I think he writes from his own experiences, and some of those I can relate to. I'm not very religious either, but he still sends a positive message without getting to churchy. I'm happy to see somebody give him props for once.

Luscious Librarian said...

I saw the movie and I must say that it is a 'must see'. He has grown so much as a director since his 'Madea' days and he admits that this movie is a bit of a departure from those films and leaps and bounds better than his plays and that horrible tv show.

Now he does still suffer from the one-dimensional male character syndrome, but the themes that he deals with are complex and the story is just, well....good.

I would recommend that anyone who is even the slightest bit interested go check it out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. My husband was.

Invisible Woman said...

Agreed hottnikz. @LL: definitely a step up from the "chitlin' circuit" plays, as some like to call them. I really don't understand why that TV show happened, especially after he said he wouldn't go to Fox cause they wouldn't "let him go with his vision".

SolShine7 said...

I saw the movie on Saturday and it was packed. I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. It's so inspirational and down-right funny.

If there's anyone in Hollywood I'd like to see succeed it's Tyler Perry. I hope he has a LONG career in the business and that he creates more filmmaking opportunites for people like Janet, Boris Kodjoe, Lisa Arindell, Lynn Whitfield, Reuben Cannon (producer) and many more unknowns.

Great post!!

Invisible Woman said...

Thanks, solshine...I admit, it wasn't completely my cup of tea, but it sure wasn't boring by any stretch.