23 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Actor-director-producer's success among black audiences is sucking the air out of the African-American movie conversation

So Tyler Perry is in yet another terrible movie? Stop the presses! Adjourn Congress! Declare martial law! Or just go back to sleep. Perry has been called "the KFC of black cinema" and "the worst film-maker in Hollywood" (by MSNBC talkshow host Touré), and widely lambasted for building an empire of cash on a body of work filled with self-hating and retrograde racial stereotypes of African-Americans. No less august a figure than Spike Lee has been moved to note that, "We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Slap'n'Eat?" (two noted mid-century black entertainers). Yet Tyler Perry is about the richest and most successful African-American entertainment impresario around: Berry Gordy-rich, Quincy Jones-ubiquitous, and a 100%-down home. His work doesn't travel internationally, suggesting that it is far from universal, »

- John Patterson

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