Dr. Cornel West addressed the Tyler Perry vs. Spike Lee controversy during his book tour in Atlanta last week. In case you’ve missed all the hoopla, Tyler Perry has been facing extreme criticism over his portrayal of Black America in his films and plays. Spike Lee was even quoted comparing Tyler’s Meet The Browns characters to a modern day Amos & Andy:
‘I think there’s a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery. I see ads for ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’ and I’m scratching my head. We’ve got a black president and we’re going back. The image is troubling and it harkens back to Amos ‘n’ Andy.”
Tyler responded via a 60 minutes interview where he was visibly upset about the comment and stated that he uses the characters as “bait” to draw in White America then hits them with storylines consisting of God, love, faith, forgiveness and family. Dr. West, in addressing the “beef” between the two filmmakers made a few comparisons as to why each approaches their subject matter differently. The well-known public intellectual spoke of Lee’s background as a well-to-do Morehouse Grad versus Tyler’s abusive childhood and life on the streets. He goes on to explain how Spike Lee is a GREAT filmmaker while Tyler Perry is a GOOD filmmaker and although Spike’s comments may have been based with good intentions, the delivery could have been better.
You’ll have to watch the video to understand but West didn’t diss Tyler, he actually gave him props. He does, however state that if Tyler’s still doing Madea at 65 THEN he has a problem. I guess that gives us about 25 more years of Madea since TP just turned 40.
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