In a very recent interview that covered a wide-range of topics, Minister Louis Farrakhan looked back on 2012, and looked ahead to 2013.
Topics covered include, as you can guess (given this blog's focus), black cinema – specifically, he talked much more in depth about Django Unchained (a more comprehensive response to the film than he gave Dr Boyce Watkins a week or so ago, when he challenged Spike Lee's dismissal of the film); he also talked at lenght about Tyler Perry, and Madea. And it may come as a surprise to some of you that he gives serious, mega props to Tyler, calling him brilliant, and a giant, and praises his portrayal of Madea as a vision/representation of the "strong black woman" that many of us (black folks) know and love.
"I want to say how greatful I am to Tyler Perry. He's probably one of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs that we have. Why do I admire him? I have never seen his portrayal of ‘Madea’ as a man cross-dressing. I saw his wonderful portrayal of Madea as bringing to the forefront the strongest person in the history of our sojourn in America, and that is Madea. That strong, Black woman who was the cornerstone of her family. She always was that figure that guidance [of] correction, reprimand, discipline, and Tyler Perry brought her to the screen in funny ways, but what I was seeing was the greatness of the strong, Black woman who saw us through, from yesterday until today."
So there you have it.
He goes on to compare Perry to Imam W. Deen Muhammad, the son of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and leader of the Nation of Islam after his father’s death. According to Farrakhan, as a leader, Imam Muhammad wanted to use psychology and art to heal, making the connection to what he believes is Tyler Perry's strategy as well, stating…
“When you look at Tyler Perry’s movies, you see the brilliance of T.D. Jakes, a spiritual giant. You see the majesty of human problems acted out. So you could sit in the theater and see yourself in your madness, in your gladness, in your goodness, in your evil, then come out of that experience, for a $15 ticket and some popcorn, and say, ‘Wow, I feel better.’ “So this New Year is a shout-out to the giant called Tyler Perry. A spiritual giant, a magnificent human being, and I pray that this year his art, his greatness, will shine even more in healing our people through mass projection of drama through films and plays.”
Maybe not quite what one might expect to have heard from Farrakhan regarding Tyler Perry and his alter ego, Madea; although, maybe it's right inline, and not at all a shock.
But the initial question he's asked is about Django Unchained specifically, and he segues into Tyler Perry for a bit, before returning to finish up with Django.
So Minister Louis Farrakhan praises Django Unchained, and Tyler Perry, all in about a week!
The conversation is worth a listen; it's about an hour long (as you likely know, Farrakhan's replies to questions aren't always short or curt; he loves to tell stories to make his points). So you could just have it playing in the background as I did, while doing other things.
The conversation about movies starts around the 6-minute mark, and he goes on for about 30 straight minutes on Tyler and Django.