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Tyler Perry Speaks On “The Problem With All-Star African American Casts…”

Tyler Perry Speaks On "The Problem With All-Star African American Casts..."

Black cinema’s self-appointed preacherman got back on his steeple 2 days ago to preach to his congregation, releasing another one of his messages to his fans, via his website. This one titled The problem with all-star African American Casts… 

Yes, Mr Perry joins George Lucas in the Red-Tails-or-die lament, retelling Lucas’ hardluck story about how studios weren’t interested in funding his all-black WWII action movie, and encouraging his fans to go see the film this weekend.

He starts his missive with an exclamation mark, stating, “Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct. THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT!

Too bad Tyler Perry melodramas aren’t becoming extinct. Now THAT would be something worth writing about my friends! :)

But Mr Perry, one way that you of all people could help ensure that movies starring all African American casts don’t become entirely extinct is to use some of that money and power you now have accumulated, to help finance and/or produce films by black filmmakers with all black casts – especially up-and-comers.

We The Peeples was a start (although we haven’t seen anything of it yet), but there’s a lot of work to be done; and you sir are in a position to make a dent in that load. The mission is yours, should you choose to accept it…

Ahhh, da burden Tyler… DA BURDEN!

Read Perry’s latest message in full below:

Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct. THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is thatDVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even. Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most “black” movies don’t sell well in foreign markets. So what that means is you will begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast. Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike then not.

I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters.

I thought that as black people in Hollywood, this is just our reality, but I quickly realized that this is not racism. What made me realize this is I had a conversation with Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, and he was telling me that he was having the same problem with Red Tails. I was blown away! Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen. It has an all-star African-American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, which opens this Friday. He went on to say that he brought the movie idea of Red Tails to several studios and no one wanted to make this film…. AND THIS IS GEORGE LUCAS! Not to be deterred, he put up his own money, shot the movie then took it back to those same studios, and they wanted nothing to do with it. One of them even refused to see the film, citing the above mentioned problems. So George decided to take a huge risk by entirely funding the movie and releasing it himself. What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing. I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us. I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too. The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story.

It opens this Friday. Please take your kids, you will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned.

George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.

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Most of these commenters are whites pretending to be black with multiple screennames. The train of thoughts are bias, full of generalizations, and redundant. Just a bunch of racist trolls trying to get their point across. Of course, movies in which blacks are stereotyped and ridiculed will reach a broader audience. Racism sells. Most of the whites on here are jealous of Tyler. They really want to take away his fanbase and thus his profit.


VARIETY—- "White" films have it are we to be denied diverse films???
Tyler Perry is being dammned if he does not fit some standard to represent "Blacks" in a certain manner— WOW, the burden is on him because (SOME) feel we are unequal in our ability to have a VARIETY because the WHOLE race will be Judged by his Film, come on the burden is not Tyler's. We as a people must realize WE are NOT defined as a "GROUP" WE have individual tastes/Likes. Please STOP piegeon-holeing us. We LOVE VARIETY !!!!!!!


I think black people EXPECT too much from Tyler Perry! Tyler is only one man he is one person he cannot change Hollywood on his own. I think that other black directors have to find their market and find a way to become successful. People want to attack Tyler but his movies have an audience and he makes a lot of money! Hollywood is slowly starting to follow Tyler's formula the problem is the movies are derivative. I think Red Tails at least tries to EXPAND and move beyond comedy. Red Tails isn't perfect though.


I'm glad to see Tyler Perry step up to publicly support Red Tails. In fact, I was pleased to see President and First Lady Obama do the same.

Darla & Mark

Yes, in 50 years Tyler Perry will be remembered. As someone who made a lot of money. Not as someone who created quality entertainment.

Before I even wrote my post I knew some one was going to write exactly what you wrote, you Tyler Perry haters are so predictable, thanks for not letting me down.

You nor I know what history is going to write regarding Tyler Perry because Tyler is not finish making history, I believe Tyler will go beyond just making movies. You are right he does have a capitalist mind set (Henry Ford), Tyler just may end up owning an extensive enterprise with many tentacle businesses across America.


It's too bad you trash another black man who is making a difference in the film biz, employing blacks, and making strides towards getting better! You don't just express an opinion – you trash him venomously. I don't understand. This isn't about art anymore it's personal. I've read so many of your articles and it's beat up Tyler Perry no matter what even in the blog or podcasts. It just sounds so personal not like an opinion to depend on for insight into the black diaspora of the film and tv biz. Did he do something personal to you? His films and projects aren't that bad…it's not stephen fetchit. He didn't get wealthy off of white folk support. So the black community at large must be a bunch of buffoons. They made Perry not the mainstream. I don't get the hate Tyler Perry Campaign.

Joseph Garrett

Understand, if you all can't support black films, you will not get your indie films financed and budgeted by Hollywood, no time soon. I think you need to understand that Tyler is concious of that fact. I went to several boards where people feel the way y'all do and all I can think is don't expect no big budget black films for a long time.


What are these successful gangster films without major Hollywood actors that black people seem to flock to some of you posters have mentioned?


Is this a trend (a marketing strategy)? All "important"/message movies with a strong black cast must now seek Tyler's seal of approval to take advantage of his fanbase/magical rolodex? The Help, Red Tails, Precious,…

I'm technically not breaking my self-imposed 2012 ban of zero percent criticism of Tyler. This is just an interesting observation.


I have been critical of Tyler Perry's abuse of writers and lack of respect for the guilds that protect them (namely the Writer's Guild of America). Really, that is my only beef with him. But this is the first time I have ever seen him publically support a project he wasn't someone how affiliated with or with Oprah behind it. So I feel that is progress on his part and should be commended. I mean, if you see someone trying to do better, we should encourage that person not continue to bash them. Anybody can bash. If you really want to see change, take the intiative and do something positive or get on board with someone else who is. Tyler Perry is getting on board with George Lucas' plight and telling his massive fan base to do the same. No matter what you think about TP, you can't say this is a negative action. It is a positive action. In our criticism of anyone, especially our own, we should always try to at least be fair and give credit when it is due the same way we dish out the criticism when it's warranted.

Joseph Garrett

I'm sorry, but these post about Tyler is making your whole WEB SITE look bad. I thought the purpose of a site like this was to support black filmmakers. Every filmmaker has a different story to tell. Not all are going to be for everyone. I THOUGHT we were suppose to be uplifting artist who create films featuring black people. Now, I see this is a forum for a crabs in a barrel situation. I always tell people, this especially goes for those of you who want to be successful in film, you are not going to get there any quicker and it's not gonna make your work any more valuable by hating on those who have made it and are successful. (for those who hate the word hating, we'll say "being jealous"). I appreciate this site for the great and consistent info, but this I don't need to hear. It's not only Tyler I see y'all bashing on here, it's any black person who actually made it past the indie stage. I just personally get annoyed with this.


Adam Scott Thompson

George Cooney.


I thought the problem with them was that they tended to be directed by Tyler Perry. Hum. I liked the Tuskegee Airmen TV movie. The trailers for Red Tails make it look like some spazzy, MTV-produced version of Top Gun featuring real live nigras. Pass.

Miles Ellison

I'll bet Lucas would have had no trouble getting Hollywood support for this movie if he made the pilots wear dresses and fat suits.


So he wants to get Mr Perry's audience base to support his movie!


I know right? Terrence and Cuba aren't bo draws. Im glad they're working however the cast should've been better. I mean Terrence, Cuba, neyo, Nate and Tristan aren't powerhouse . Perhaps they should've hired Denzel, Cory hardict, Columbus short, or Anthony mackie.


Its not mainly an issue of racism…although it does play a part sometimes however but folks this is hollywood and they are all about the money. If you can show them the money they will be happy to do business with you. Show "Business"..thats right show your business. Tyler weather we like his films or not has been able to do that. Feed the machine. So yes it is important for all of us to park our butts in those seats this week to see redtails so that hollywood will take notice. Its not about the quailty since the acting in Redtails may suck thanks to the trailers.."or ie Tyler Perry Flicks" its about feeding the machine. Once we are successful doing that especially on a continued basis then we should see the doors open wide open. The quailty of of films need to be discussed on a later date since we are severly lacking in that but thanks to quite resergence of good directors.


To spend $100 mil on a film which HBO has already done(with Laurence Fishburne) and water it down with a bunch of silly CGI fight scenes and beg people to see it so we get more crap like that…please!…Hurry and up and lose your shirt on this one Lucas…spare us any more nonsense….I am African-American but I am 100% with the studios on this one…no one needs this shit…make smart films cheaply with digital technology, show them at festivals and self-release them…you may not get rich but if you really care about quality art, that's how it's done.

john doe

"I quickly realized that this is not racism." so what is then, Mr Perry? I'm waiting for him to continue but then Perry goes on to completely abandon that train of thought and talk about other sh*t. Honestly, TP sounds like he's not the sharpest tool in the box.


at least he tried to help in some way. Chillax….what do you do for black filmmakers?


I am continually amazed, amused and disappointed at the same time at the continued criticism of Tyler. I am not a fan of all his films, some of them are just too "bubble gum" for me, but I don't see as much "dislike" for gangsta/violent films. No doubt, if it wasn't for Tyler, a lot of Black actors would not be working. I take the films I like and leave the ones I don't alone. Even your friends and family have stuff about them you just can't stand but……
Time to chill.


Anytime you have to use Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard as selling points….Not. Good.

I'm all for bringing attention to the feats of the Tuskegee Airman, but I just can't bring myself to be interested in this movie or the bulk of the cast. If it was a documentary about the TA I'd be throwing my money at it. Alas, it isn't. Thanks anyway, Tyler.

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