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Tyler Perry On Why Hollywood Lacks Roles For Black Actresses (OWN ‘Next Chapter’ Preview)

Tyler Perry On Why Hollywood Lacks Roles For Black Actresses (OWN 'Next Chapter' Preview)

Ahead of next week’s premieres of the two new Tyler Perry serials on OWN – the one-hour ensemble drama The Haves and the Have Nots, which is set to premiere on Tuesday, May 28 at 9 pm ET/PT, in a 2-hour pilot, and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor, which will premiere on Wednesday, May 29 at 9 pm ET/PT – the network will air some special event programming; specifically, this Sunday, May 26, Oprah Winfrey will sit down with Perry for what the press release calls “an intimate in-depth interview” on a special Oprah’s Next Chapter at 9 pm ET/PT. 

It will be immediately followed at 10 pm ET/PT by Tyler Perry Comes to OWN: Behind The Scenes, said to be an exclusive inside look at the making of his two new series.

Below you’ll find 2 previews of Sunday night’s sit-down with Oprah on Next Chapter, in which Perry shares his thoughts on the lack of work for black actresses in Hollywood. And in the second video, Oprah asks him to address his critics, which he does.

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Tim Holloway


Your life story is very interesting, indeed. Thank you for sharing it and of course I'm happy to start over. Our dialogue has really made me think about this topic more these past few days.


i think tyler perry is also forgetting the stereo-typical long as people like him continue to make movies of black women in the stereo-typical way,black actresses will not be seen anymore than that.Thats why 9 out 10 time when you see a black actress,her character is always along that line.I get what tyler is saying but also what could be added to this problem is that writer like him should tell stories that include black women not as black women but as women period.They should create the same type of movies white people makes,just include some black actresses…sorta like several black actor do(denzel,samuel).Stop with these stereo-typical roles tyler and other directors/writers..its their fault since the bulk of work for black actresses are these types of roles, a lot of these black actresses coming up always think that these types of roles are the roles of a lifetime thus keeping them in a limited space,instead of fighting to stand out and realizing there is much more quality out there to fight for.


Tim, since we've completely kidnapped this thread, I thought it best that I start from the top.

Okay, since it seems as if we've started off on the wrong foot, I think it's time I share a little of my story.

I have visited every state in the United States and several overseas countries. I served 4 years in the US Air force. I've been locked up for bank robbery and thus touched the cold steel of bars surrounding me. I've drank wine in the jungles of Thailand and tapped my feet at the Apollo Theater. I've also tried my hand at being a stand-up comedian. I've had 3 great love affairs, and I am now a widowed black man in America (now in a committed relationship). I've been a little league baseball coach and I am presently a guest columnist for a local newspaper. I've been robbed in Dayton Ohio, ripped off in Minneapolis Minn, and attended the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. I've been shot, and I've shot at others. Death has visited my house in many forms. I've dangled my feet from the balcony of a theater at the Teluride Film Festival, and in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I've literally held 7ooo volts in my hands, and I've held the hands of my 3 children. I love to laugh and love to eat soul food. My great uncle is the infamous "Kingfish" from the old Amos & Andy TV series. There's pain and struggle, love and hope in my story, but I am never bitter, seldom angry and never bored. And, as I've said many times, one of my biggest passions revolves around conversations on movies. But let me continue. I do not have money concerns… my house, car and cloths are all paid for, so I have a peace of mind that I believe many would die for. I harbor no contempt for white folks. However, I don't hang nor socialize with them if I don't have to. Reason being, the majority of them do not enjoy what I enjoy, like what I like, love who I love, talk like me, love the movies I love most, look like me, love the music I love, share my memories, pain & struggles, etc.

So now I find myself talking to you, who I believed was a very young man who was out to tackle the world. Oh, I forgot to mention that I've worked with under-privileged youth, ex-cons and substance abusers. Anyway, since I've experienced life from various perspectives, when I see a young man stepping in the wrong path, I am inclined to say a few words that may give him reason to pause. How does that pertain to you?

Well, we met here at S&A. It's a place of many faces. For me, it's a source of entertainment. However, many dropped by for various reasons. Some promote their products, while others give advice on different occupations within the film-making industry. Some even stop-by with the sole purpose of reading the comments. Then, of course there are those who simply enjoy engaging in conversations (on movies in all it's glory) with people who look and talk and "act", just like them.


You Tim, you came through the door saying "I presented some commentary on my forum about a similar topic that I think may be relevant…". In essence, you were inviting people to your house/spot/den/blog. You even posted a link–> To read more and see the responses please visit

Okay, you're not the first to do that so I read what you had to say. Well, after reading your overly-generalized (and yes "porous") statements, the old school mentor popped out of me. I thought to myself… "this kid is inviting people to his house, but his meal is under-cooked and he's serving Cisco, MD 20-20, Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose – and thinks it's cognac.

I know, those are harsh words that do not make you feel good, but that's the point of my conversations with you. Listen, although you do not appreciate the value in "controversy" and drama, I have to point out that NOTHING changes without some form of controversy or drama. Think about it, if everyone is agreeing with everything that's said, there's a whole lotta lying going on. And we all know you can't trust a liar. I don't care if it's a love affair, business transaction or a church meeting, there will (and should be) controversy. If not, nothing moves. People will laugh, smile, agree and slap each others backs, but nothing significant will change without controversy. If you like calling it drama, have at it. However, I am reminded of a song by the OJays. It's called BACK STABBERS. A poignant line: "They smile in your face… all the time they wanna take you place – the back stabbers. Blades are long, clenched tight in their fist, aimin' straight at your back and I don't think they'll miss. (They smile in your face) smiling faces… smiling faces sometimes tell lies (Back stabbers).

So I was sitting here thinking how could I help a young guy become a better hustler, a better communicator and a wise old man. Well, from my perspective and experiences in life, lying to a person never works… it's just a band-aid. So I thought you needed a hot shot (i.e. sarcasm, ridicule, laughter, baiting, poking and prodding, etc) I tried (but obviously failed) to persuade you to take a deeper look into what you were asking people to "buy". I thought I could shake, rattle and roll you into at least considering some of the feedback ( I did want you to step in the road at a later time, and get run over by a bigger force than I… which could break your spirit). Granted, my style is aggressive and confrontational, but in my defense, I only use that tactic on visitors who I believe are moving a "misleading" agenda or those who push at me, and thus, I push back. Hey, I've had wonderful conversations with many visitors here at S&A, who I believe are the best and brightest minds to have visited S&A, yet we don't seem to wallow in dog fights. So I hope you understand why I question your characterization of me… and why you seem to resist and/or poo-poo suggestions (and feedback) given to you by me and other very wise commenters? And please, if you take nothing of importance from my words, please take note that the guy who goes by "Carl" is not your friend. I mean, unless you enjoy being around the type of individual who brings no knowledge to any discussion, befriend him. If not, run from him – as if he's the plague. Because, I've been told (by a very wise man) if you talk to a fool long enough, there will soon be two fools talking… and saying nothing anyone can use – today, tomorrow… nor never.

My hand is extended in your direction. Maybe we can start over?


Oh, boy. What an interesting tale we have weaved.

@Tim – Although I understand your passion and I get a somewhat good feel from you, I have to say that careful consideration is needed when in the midst of an 'discussion.'
You said, "It always amazed me how the Jewish, Gay and Lesbian, Asian, Latino, and countless other communities can come together and we struggle to do the same. Instead, some would rather ignore the issue and focus on pulling down others."

This was okay in the discussion because the level of discussion was on ideas/solutions that was out there. However, Tim, in reading these words, I ask that you examine your part in the struggle. Your last post resulted to getting personal and name calling. Why was that? (no need to answer me…I am just posing the question for quiet inner reflection) Why did you not realize you were conversing with an elder from the very beginning? You took offense to the term 'Young Man' – and outside the reference that he was there in the Civil Rights movement….the moment you read it, you should have been able to put all into context. (I believe you did not have full realization is because you called it dismissive) And better yet, as soon as you realized it, you should have used the manners that were instilled, but did not.

Unfortunately, these things did not occur….and now the posts you have exchanged with CareyCarey have invited truly nasty posts. In other words, the devil was given a foothold, if I may be so bold, and he let himself in.

If my post is not the last one for this topic, I pray that the last one I see is a different one from you.

Who am I to say these things? I am a beautiful black woman who loves her peeps – stereotypes and all – with a reminder that the way to end the struggle Black folks have with each other, is start with self. Every argument has two participants.

If you show me an argument with one participant, it will be with you on one side of the padded door and I on the other side talking to a Dr. :)

Tim Holloway


Sarcasm is a tool of a weak argument, which by the way I'm not going to be baited into. Terms like "young man" "delusion" "porous rhetoric" and etc. are foul attempts to be dismissive. There lies a big part of the problems we (blacks) face on many issues. Your voice shouldn't be the only one heard since this topic affects all of us.

If your concern on this issue is genuine, perhaps you could benefit from practicing a little diplomacy when addressing posts on this topic and others. You're not helping to solve the problem by being condescending or attacking an opposing point of view.

My points stand and are not validated nor discredited by your input. They're simple my views and I'm entitled to them just as you are entitled to yours. I may not agree with you, but I'm at least willing to hear you out, without "controversy." That's called respect. If we practiced more of it maybe, just maybe we can solve the problems we face together.

Lighten up already!


When will TP just reboot his whole Madea series starring Oprah Winfrey as Madea? This seems to me to be a no-brainer. She loves him, he loves her, she wants to act, he wants to direct "serious" actors, Madea needs some "legitimacy". What's the problem?

Tim Holloway

@Truer Than Thou>

You stated…
@CC, yep it's a cop out. Continue to call it like you see it.

My response…

Cop out? I'm really trying to understand what realm of reality you and CareyCarey are living in. But, I'll try to address the points you made which were clearly directed at my post.

You stated…
1. The general public don't need to demand anything. Revisit your marketing (have something worthy of marketing) and market it to your audience. Stop lumping Black viewers into one pool. Your audience may include Black people, but the target will NEVER be all of them. Let go of that crutch.

My response…
I disagree, we do need to demand a change. Are you really comfortable with the normal depictions of blacks in media being gang bangers, drug dealers, womanizers, dead beat dads, bitter black women, under achievers, illiterate miscreants, thugs, the sassy best friend, male who***(rhymes with scores), cheaters, sidekicks and the lowest common denominator? Rarely if ever the hero, the genius, problem solver, leading man/woman, secrete agent, etc.

I agree that appealing to your market is important and I never suggested we "lump black viewers into one pool." There I think you missed my point. I'll clarify, just as Affirmative Action was and Equal Opportunity is important there needs to be an effort to equalize the balance of power in film and television. That's not a "crutch" it's symmetry. It's a belief and practice that's permeated throughout all of society, because we (Americans) realize that without it the "haves" will always exclude the "have nots." If you had an unfair advantage which gained you billions of dollars would you willingly level the playing field? No. Our country's foundation stands on the notion that all are created equal and should have equal opportunities to succeed, a.k.a "The American Dream."

You stated…
2. I'm tired of hearing people say we need to work together and create more opportunities. People are doing that, and the people who they are doing it for ARE NOT SHOWING UP. There are so many initiatives and programs big and small focusing on this very group but the participation is embarrassingly low or zero. Just take this blog for example. How many times have the writers here published posts with ideas to implement, or surveys, or requests for responses, videos etc? And the turn out is low or you never hear about a follow up because there is nothing to follow up on. Low participation. So many people talk about we should build our own studio when they are not even using the resources already set in place.
We can't and shouldn't expect other people to care about Black images, if the very artists who supposedly want to make them aren't doing all they can."}

My response…
Here I agree with MOST of your assessment barring the last sentence. Typically we (blacks) don't "show up." But the question is why not? Are we lazy, have we lost hope, do lack focus, OR are we ignorant to the importance of knowing how the system works and why we should participate? It was and maybe still is widely held that blacks don't vote, yet when President Barak Obama ran we turned that notion on its head––twice.

You stated…
3. There have been and will continue to be so many discussions about Hollywood and getting over the producers etc. It's just a cover to mask the real issues. We've already established that Hollywood is not a sure ticket. Now let's talk about what we have control of and stop the blame game used as a distraction. Maybe more people do not commit or work together on anything on a grander scale because they secretly think they are the "it" factor and hollywood just hasn't discovered them yet…. Maybe….

My response…
Let me be clear here, mainstream media and entertainment plays a significant role in how society views us (blacks). It also on some level influences what we think about ourselves, especially our youth. Oprah Winfrey said it twice, first to Diana Ross when she said that she never knew growing up that black women could be that successful or considered beautiful until she saw her on television and on the cover of Ebony Magazine. The second time was to Mary Tyler Moore, when she (Oprah) said that she as a young girl never thought that there could be successful women journalist. According to Oprah, these two women literally changed the trajectory of her life. Surely you don't believe we (blacks) can afford to let a medium as powerful as film and television define who we are without so much as a peep and "focus on what we do have control of" (which is what exactly?). No one is playing a "blame game" however we do need to get our heads out of the sand and at least speak up. If not we're facing another fifties years of this mess, waiting for the next MLK to give us guidance.

You stated…
Our wounds can heal if we realize we're shot and go to the ER.

My response…
Some wounds doctors can't even heal, but avoiding the bullet from the start is preventative medicine. When you know better you do better––rendering "healing" moot.

Tim Holloway


I thought my point was clear, but I'll try to address some of your confusion without the same kind of sarcasm I sensed in your questions.

"Who is the general public you're referring to?"

Is there more than one? Everyone has a stake in this issue. I don't believe that "we blacks" are the only one to see the problem, nor do I believe that "we" should be the only ones to speak out against it. Not to diminish our plight or efforts– we didn't march alone during the Civil Rights Movement. Whites and blacks marched together, because they understood there was a need for change, and together a change was made. I could say the same about the Civil War.

" If they are black Americans, how do you suggest they demand more diverse content? Are you suggesting they should boycott films, scream and shout, or write their congressman? If they're white Americans, why do you believe they even desire more diverse content? Also, in your vision of "diverse content" what exactly are you referring to?"

Having an open and intellegent dialogue about the issue would be a start. Communication is key. "Screaming and shouting" is ridiculous (I'm sure you were being sarcastic), and writing a congressman is equally ubsurd, however writing news agencies, studios, producers and etc. about their depictions of blacks may have more of an impact than you give credit for. If it's one thing I've noticed is that big companies and brands may have practices that are frowned upon, but when called out in the open they tend to quickly change their practices fearing the negative impact on their bottom line. Ex. when Tommy Hilfiger was accused of racism he made the necessary changes to protect his brand. When Liz Claiborne said her clothes weren't made to fit blacks and Oprah responded by returning all of her clothes bearing the Claiborne label on her show a change came quickly. Big brands like Walmart, McDonalds, and countless others have corrected inappropriate business practices when called on it. What makes you think major studios won't do the same to protect their brands?

"GREAT! Fire up the band… HIP-HIP HOORAY…. but wait, have you read Martin Luther King's speech "The Drum Major Instinct" (it's also on youtube)? Well, I'd suggest you do so. In the interim, how do you propose we work together? I mean, exactly how do we do that? And, who is "we"? Do you see the ambiguities in your statement(s)?"

I won't even dignify the first part of your statement with a response. As to the rest of it I say use your imagination. "We" doesn't require a definition and the "how do we do that" is not rocket science. If the "we" does and the "how" is we are definitely in trouble.


"Shoulda… coulda…. why should they?It's not a notion, facts do not lie. But again, it's a proven fact that blacks spend the majority of their movie dollars on movies they love the most. And, the most important aspect of this entire discussion is… if it does not make money, it does not make sense to those in the entertainment BUSINESS."

Seriously? Surely you are not suggesting that the black community chooses to only see images of ourselves that are stereotypical. I believe that we choose from what's given. If I presented you two apples, one red and one green to choose from, you'd be eating a red or green apple. Then again you could choose to go hungry. However, if I gave you the option to choose outside of the selection I'm sure you'd be eating STEAK :)

I'll leave you with this Mr. CareyCarey It always amazed me how the Jewish, Gay and Lesbian, Asian, Latino, and countless other communities can come together and we struggle to do the same. Instead, some would rather ignore the issue and focus on pulling down others. More to the point, your sarcastic and harshly toned response to my attempt to offer some solutions to the problem was uncalled for–please release your claw, I might know away out of this basket.

Tim Holloway

@ Ghost> I believe in the old saying, " If you build it, they will come." It's the premise that the Hollywood system and mainstream media has stood on since their inception. The Film & Television industry has set the standard by displaying whatever images they wanted believing that we (the viewer) will consume it mostly without question– and they're right. It's also why the old propaganda films during the Holocaust era was so effective. The 1970's film "Network" highlighted the fact that the public has a propensity to blindly accept what's presented (in most cases), calling for the nation to raise their windows–stick their heads out–and shout out, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" I think we (blacks) should take a page from that book. That said– I think that our community should take responsibility for the content we consume and not support stereotypical images, lack of opportunity in film & television, and yes–hold these black "icons" accountable for their inaction and where applicable stop supporting their (black filmmakers) contribution when it contributes to buffoonery. How can we do this? Easy, Hollywood responds to low box-office ticket sales, low television ratings and a public outcry for change.

If we focused our efforts we could send an unequivocal message that we want, no demand change. We need to teach our youth to do the same. When I was younger I spent my money on music, films, clothing, ect… on face value. Now, I tend to look deeper into a brand and what it/they stand for. If it's not kosher they don't get my money.

The black community has proven time and time again that we can unite to make a change, the Civil Rights Movement comes to mind. Now we tend to unite on singular issues like the Travon Martin and OJ Simpson cases–the result bares little impact on the bigger issue of modern day racism. We (the black community) should target main stream media, gatekeepers in entertainment, and yes even these so-called black icons that sit back and do nothing, but help feed the machine.

There is room for diversity behind and in front of the camera. There is room for more than the stereotypes we see onscreen and in the news. There is room to grow as a society. There is room– and if there isn't knock down the damn wall and make some.


Maybe the reason why Dr. Dre, Bill Cosby and other blacks that have made don't bother trying to form their own studios is because they know the subject matter they might want to do will not get the full support of the black community. Because too may of us don't understand what variety means.

Lets say they wanted to do stories in the vein of American Beauty, Project X, Super 8, Harry Potter or a HBCU film that DOES NOT revolve around a stepping or frats.

Guess who will be the main ones complaining? Screaming this isn't real life because they don't see it in their hood. BLACK FOLKS.

Guess who will be the main ones complaining if a Static Shock film funded by that black studio stars Arjay Smith? Black folks screaming why not Chief Keef since he looks like him. Just like blacks whined about Red Tails having no black women or the two main stars having white wives.

Before we can band together and do own on stuff-we need to educate our people on variety. Just because you don't see them on BET or in your hood doesn't mean different types of blacks aren't real. Until then why even bother if your own people won't support you when you try to show something different?

Tim Holloway

I presented some commentary on my forum about a similar topic that I think may be relevant…


As a black filmmaker it's hard to avoid this question. In fact, it's been a question that has followed me since film school. I was even asked recently by a coworker to add this as a topic for discussion on this forum. Admittedly, for me being a black filmmaker, my first thought was to avoid this topic all together as it sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Conversely, I've never been one to shy away from the uneasy. After much research, I've found the answer to be convoluted, daunting, and at times divisive. I even struggled with how to appropriately and objectively present it here. But, here's my attempt.

IndieWIRE's Shadow And Act's Tambay Obenson featured an article on director Tim Story's understated success. Interestingly, the replies to the article launched a firestorm of heated debate. Even actor Malik Yoba chimed in offering some pearls of wisdom. An actor responding in the reply section of an article? Maybe this topic warrants further inspection, at the very least this conversation should be more mainstream and not just confined to black media.

Think about it, if Kathryn Bigelow's films can open the public's eyes to the viability of female directors than surely we (the public) can benefit from increased participation from blacks in Hollywood. Black filmmakers have great stories to tell and black actors can, if given the opportunity, generate huge box-office revenues. I'm not just talking about the typical how to get or scheme on a man ("Think Like a Man, Act Like a Woman" or "Two Can Play That Game"), covertly degrading comedy acts ("Medea's ________ "add title), or the occasional musical ("Dreamgirls"). No, blacks have the capacity to offer more than that. Clearly, there are some very talented actors like Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Nelsen Ellis, Rutina Wesley and many unknowns struggling to be seen. I think films like The Matrix, The Avengers, Precious, The Color Purple, The Italian Job, and others have demonstrated that blacks can act, produce, and direct.

So what can we the public and Hollywood do to showcase more black actors, filmmakers, and diverse films? I'll humbly offer a few suggestions:

1. The general public should demand more diverse content and films by refusing to just settle for what's given.

The result could be more memorable and loved films. Not to mention, we would broaden the scope of the entertainment we consume. I know that there has been a demand for more original content. We simply crave it.

2. Within the black community we need to work together and create more opportunities. I personally detest seeing the public feud between Tyler Perry and Spike Lee (It's not a good look), however I do understand the nature of the debate. Also I may be courting a backlash for saying this (but someone should), there are enough successful black entertainers out there to invest in the black entertainment community. Don't icons like Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and countless others who have "made-it" in the entertainment industry have a responsibility to invest in the black arts and entertainment or at the very least provide a platform for its advancement? After all who exactly was their base in helping them reach their success?

3. Hollywood producers and investors should loose the notion that blacks don't draw box-office numbers. It's Hollywood after all. These are the magicians that can sell almost anything. If they expect the public to suspend disbelief to sell some of the most unbelievable stories; than they can exercise that same suspension of disbelief to elevate members of their own community.

In closing, I want to leave you with this. We can only effect a change if we agree that one is needed. Film and all that it encompasses is a reflection of our society. Art imitates life and to some degree visa-versa. Blacks, women, and other minority groups' advancement in Hollywood says a lot about the society we live in. We can make the future a better place and improve our lives right now.


-Timothy Holloway

To read more and see the responses please visit

Tammie Taylor

Hey Tyler. The story tellers for african american leads are out here. I'm one of them. Getting noticed is our problem. We'll keep trying to reach you. Please don't stop looking for us. I just wrote a paranormal romance novel listed with amazon called "Rainy". Check it out. My name is Tammie Taylor and I'm the author.


Sounds of Blackness, "Hold on, Change is Comin". Sometimes it only takes one person to get the ball rolling. A person in the business who honestly and truly want to see other black folks prosper without the jealousy. I've said this before, and I will say it again, We (black folk) should have a minimum of 6 films a year in the theater. We have enough Directors, Producers, Writers, Etc…. to git-er-done, but the problem we have in the black community, is not having each others back. We really and truly don't need to be the Token in Mr. Charlie's movie, we have enough resources for our own. Again, WE are the problem. UNITY, UNITY, UNITY!!!


I just read this article the other day..… here is an excerpt.. some truth to it.. what comes to mind is Will Smith and Eva Mendes.. in Hutch..

Negro male entertainers have had access to Hollywood-levels of money for at least the past 45-50 years. The door has been open for BM in showbiz for the past fifty years. But unlike WM in showbiz, negro male entertainers refuse to lift up women from their own race. Once the typical negro male entertainer gets access to Hollywood-level resources, he shuts the door behind himself and “makes it rain” for nonblack women…….Judging from their collective actions, negro male entertainers have NO real interest in building an entertainment industry of their own. The vast majority of negro male entertainers also have no real interest in asserting control over any particular niche in showbiz. Whatever AA-created crumbs exist, such as Tyler Perry’s mess, is built from the money spent by AA women consumers"

Pretzel head

This board is interesting. Hollywood is Hollywood. This is not a new topic.
1) I don't think people are looking for Oprah or Tyler as saviors but it is sad when some black people with the means to help only do so after you've been through hell and back. In other cultures they have no qualms about reaching back and helping others. There is never a limit to their generosity because they know that is how a people, their history, their stories survive.
2) In Los Angeles, back in the day, there was a golf course that would not accept Jews. So guess what Jewish people did? They built their own golf course next to the restricted golf course. Everyone chipped in. Today their park and golf course is visited more than the restricted golf course.
Point being: We must build together. This question should not even be asked in the year 2013. If we build together, we can have our own network (which Bill Cosby attempted and received very little help-he almost bought NBC). Imagine a world where we NEVER have to beg, protest or demand that someone to put us on their show or news desk or write us in their scripts. It does not take millions, it takes everyone chipping in and getting involved. If every black person today put in one dollar to the television fund or film maker fund that's millions of dollars or donating their time. It starts with us and ends with us.

Pretzel head

This board is interesting. Hollywood is Hollywood. This is not a new topic.
1) I don't think people are looking for Oprah or Tyler as saviors but it is sad when some black people with the means to help only do so after you've been through hell and back. In other cultures they have no qualms about reaching back and helping others. There is never a limit to their generosity because they know that is how a people, their history, their stories survive.
2) In Los Angeles, back in the day, there was a golf course that would not accept Jews. So guess what Jewish people did? They built their own golf course next to the restricted golf course. Everyone chipped in. Today their park and golf course is visited more than the restricted golf course.
Point being: We must build together. This question should not even be asked in the year 2013. If we build together, we can have our own network (which Bill Cosby attempted and received very little help-he almost bought NBC). Imagine a world where we NEVER have to beg, protest or demand that someone to put us on their show or news desk or write us in their scripts. It does not take millions, it takes everyone chipping in and getting involved. If every black person today put in one dollar to the television fund or film maker fund that's millions of dollars or donating their time. It starts with us and ends with us.


The reason, for the most part, why there are few roles for Black actresses is that actresses are generally hired for their mass visual appeal which is based on western cultural ideas of beauty. Any representation outside of that, ie. African, has had and will continue to have a consistent resistance to entry into the "system"(defined as The major studios of Hollywood). There should be no argument that there are obviously exceptions to this rule. But on the whole, if the role is for an female, that female will more than likely be white as not to keep audiences away. The exceptions usually fall in the category of HOW closely Black actresses fall toward the spectrum of western ideas of beauty. Black actresses come in all visual categories but roles that go to the Halle Berry's and Paula Patton could just as well go to a Viola Davis or a Naomie Harris or Adepero Oduye. But they do not because from a physical perspective they are not deemed attractive or sexually appealing enough to be cast in those roles. So first, it's western culture's unappealing desire for the Black body of women that prevents roles being had by Black actresses.

Second, it's power and privilege. Again tied to what the "system" sees as what is important or viable or worthy of support. Black stories are not seen as that. Lena Dunham is a wunderkind writer/producer an HBO show and those who can give power anoint her with her own show. It's called GIRLS. It's about GIRLS. She's writing, from her perspective about GIRLS. What they go through, how they think about relationships, how they think about anything. She's supposed to be insightful, funny, quirky.
Zooey Deschanel gets her own sitcom. Could her character be Black? Hmnnn, I don't think so.
Would HBO give such power/privilege to a Black female? I don't think so. But it may change.(Issa)
The Hollywood "system" should not be the primary avenue that our energy is focused on regarding increasing visible roles for Black actresses. It would have to be independent of That "system". That's why Ava is doing what she's doing, outside of that "system".
The TP/Oprah discussion is mostly BS. In general,
TP states that it's "the stories that are being told". Most of these "stories" can have Black actresses in them AS THE LEAD CHARACTER. He's implying that stories, scripts for tv and film are written for white actresses and for the most part only white actresses can play them and Black actresses just wouldn't fit the character. That's BS. Unless you're writing about some really specific concept or from a historical or culturally specific perspective like Amish female women or women in the Appalachians a whole hell of of a lot of female characters can be either white or Black or anything else for that matter.
For Oprah to chime in, "that's it" referencing that Black actresses are not getting roles because they don't fit into the stories being written is mind numbing. Let's take a film off the top of my head. I haven't seen it yet so, I'm only going by trailers and what I've read. Why don't Black actresses get roles? The film is Mud. It's really an adventure about two boys. Mathew McConaughey stars opposite wait for it… Reese Witherspoon. She's not the story but it's a lead role in a major film. What would TP/Oprah say would be the reason why a Black Actress did not fit the role/character for this "story"? Seems to me a Naomie Harris or Adepero Oduye could play the role just as well.

I think TP/Oprah are disingenuous(or brainwashed) in addressing this issue and we should be critical of them when we believe that they are.


One more thing Dr.Dre 70 millions dollars investment to USC was a sellout move. You don't think that 70 million couldn't help young black filmmakers and musicians or a black college. This is why we can't look for rich black folks to help us because they are not going to do too much stuff for black people, they don't want to look too black for their white corporate slavemasters executives behind the scenes that control them that want to keep things the same. So let Tyler Perry, Oprah, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Dr. Dre do what they do and don't expect nothing from them because if they wanted to really to try and change the industry they would, instead they just just want to sell black folks the idea of getting rich and assimilating keeping white folks in power with the black masses stuck in the same economic situations asking what we need to do instead of going out and doing it.


Everybody comments have been real about this subject. I think what we have to do is support black independent films that are telling good stories and offering good roles for black actors and actresses that the hollywood machine don't do. This is going to have to be a collective effort for us to change things, I'm not talking about a collective effort of everybody coming together to do films, the collective effort I'm talking about is indiviual filmmakers projects get the support from the actors and crews to be able to make their film the best they can. You have enough of these films out with audience support and the industry will build itself with us coming together without having to come together because it's a market to sustain these films which will make black films better overall and also help black economic power with the jobs created and the partnership opportunity with other black businesses to help promote your film along with their business. Everybody let's keep the discussion going and put these ideas in motion. If everybody on here that commented about this article get their project done and bring their ideas that they are passionate about on what needs to be done to change the industry to the table, we will change things.


Okay I know people are attacking Oprah BUT she's done a lot for black women giving them work. Do people on Shadow and Act have amnesia? Remember, Women of Brewster Place the movie and the short lived tv series in the late 1980s? Forget, My Eyes Were Watching God which gave Halle Berry an Emmy nomination and was a ratings success. How about, Beloved, okay Beloved didn't do well at the box office but Oprah gave Kimberley Elise and Thandie Newton work. How about, Color Purple the broadway play which Oprah gave numerous African Americans work. So Oprah has done her part. I don't see Denzel Washington or Sam Jackson or Will Smith or any those top black male film directors going out of their way to help black women in Hollywood.


Also, I don't agree with that bull about writing what you know. Like George Lucas actually lived in a galaxy far, far away, or Paul Thomas Anderson grew up in the porn industry, or M. Night Shyamalan has experience counseling kids who can see dead people. I mean, c'mon! Maybe the first film could be inspired only by what you know, especially if you don't know what else to write. But after that, get out of the box. The filmmakers I mentioned, and the many before and after them, accomplished writing about things they didn't know by extensive research.

Forget all this junk about why there isn't enough roles for Black women. The biggest challenge I see facing black cinema and the people behind it is their limitations to stories they know and the audiences they cater to that won't have it any other way.


It's so annoying I can't watch these videos in the UK!

Mark & Darla

Who call is it.

Is it Spike call, to call Tyler and say I have a screenplay I would like to direct, need your financial help. Is it Tyler call to call Spike and ask, need my financial help with anything.

Is it Tyler call to call and find out about every black projects out there suspended in air waiting for help.

Another reason for the lack of collaborations, some people have their nose so far up in the air, working with Tyler is beneath their social circle.

Maybe if people stop throwing ugly names at Tyler there might be more collaborations between Tyler and other black directors in the future. If not the name calling will continue the divide between Tyler who have and the people who have not.

That is the big picture.


I truly believe what will come out of this partnership b/w Perry & Oprah is emphasizing the power of 'networking'. It should happen more. It is extremely beneficial for the up-and-coming directors, writers, producers etc. to connect with those who have already established themselves in the industry. The new talent need an entrance and collaborations, as these two, can spark a wave for others to follow along.
Now, is Perry & Oprah's partnership supreme? Um, I'd probably say no but they are doing what needs to be done.
As far as Perry saying more writers who can tell a 'black' story is the key….I'd disagree. Rhimes' 'Scandal' could have easily been written for a white woman. The difference is her stories are universal. Her writing doesn't have a definitive attachment. She doesn't write her characters stereotypically as I believe Tyler does. I'll give him the credit, he is making strides but those are extremely minute strides. I doubt he desires to break away from those certain stereotypes he perpetuates through his characters.
Hollywood is so set in its way that they will not accept anyone who isn't similar to Perry. His writing has that one dimension they would prefer be displayed. His writing fits the stereotypes of black women which is why they continue to allow his and only his writing to take precedence. The Kasi Lemmons or Ava DuVernays of the world will have a hard time being sought for their work because it is so outside of Hollywood's fabric for people of color.

And I agree, Tyler does "get it" but he is unwilling to "change it". He has made a niche for himself…he profitable market, so why in the world would he alter it? He refuses to make the changes because that would affect his base. Which I totally understand but am a little saddened because we'll continue to get the cooker-cuter writing. He has offered an olive branch to Toure's bash but is super averse to Spike's criticism…. the irony.

Um No

Yes. Lets have Tyler and Oprah save us.

Black folk ALWAYS looking for a savior. Do you all know how fucking naive you sound?

Why haven't Tyler and Oprah saved black cinema? That's basically what most of you are whining about.

Bunch of do nothing folk complaining about those that have done something. Throwing darts from the sidelines. So Willie Lynch of you but its typical now-a-days.

I'm no a fan of Tyler or Oprah but at least they are DOING something in the biz. Unless all that about Tyler hiring black folk was bullshit? Was it? If not, what the hell are you talking about?

As much power as these two have, they can't change Hollywood by themselves you naive motherf%%ers! This shit has been in place for decades. Grow a brain!


I see a lot of comments but nobody is saying the right thing.

I'll tell you the real reason why there aren't more roles for black women. Because people like these two, Perry and Winfrey, like to talk about these things, shifting blame to Hollywood and their writers, and not looking to the real culprits in the mirror. And we sit here and let them off the hook instead of calling them on their bull****. That's why there aren't enough roles for black women, why there isn't enough roles for black men, why there isn't enough quality films being released of the African Diaspora. We have all the money and power and we still look to Hollywood, putting the onus on them.

Forest Whitaker is making things happen. Look at Fruitvale. And he doesn't have half the money and clout these two have. Yet, he uses he little bit of influence, makes a quality film he believes in, stands completely out of the way of it and now it's winning Sundance and screening at Cannes. Most likely it will be among the talk come Oscar season, and yes it is as simple as that. If Whitaker can do it, what's stopping them?

And I don't want to hear s*** about writer's in Hollywood. They have it bad enough. You seriously want to bare this on their shoulders as well? They lucky if they are invited to set during the production of one of the dozens of scripts they wrote that actually gets greenlit. Meanwhile the other specs are either in turnaround limbo, collecting dust on some producer's desk or worst, collecting dust inside the writer's laptop. What about the many talented writers, undiscovered, that most likely have a great scripts out there that have roles for Black women? Why not start something like Forest Whitaker's Juntobox, or a contest like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight? What's all the f****** fussing for? These two alone can finance twenty films, easy.

With mentalities like theirs, don't expect anything to change in Hollywood for the next 40 years. Black cinema is in need of the first coming.


I detect a level of enmity on this blog. Sad.
I'm happy Oprah and Tyler are combining their brands, and collaborating. I personally won't watch, but collaboration is the key black people, not competition!
The black culture is often full of crabs in a barrel…

Mark & Darla

Given how Oprah praise Ava movie 'Middle of Nowhere' seem Oprah was ready to help her in any way possible, the question is did Ava reciprocate Oprah enthusiasm and ask her for help promoting her movie. I think by going on twitter gushing about Ava movie was Oprah way of reaching out to Ava without being overbearing with her wealth. Listening and studying Ava in interview, she doesn't want Oprah or Tyler help, she wants to build her own empire by herself.

Now does anyone have any inside information that Ava ask Tyler or Oprah for help and was turn down.


I like Tyler, but wow…..where do I start.

1. It’s really messed up that he places blame on the writers. Unless there is another clip in the interview where he continues on an additional path of placing blame, he has completely let Hollywood off the hook for their representations of people of color.

2. I also disagree with him on the fact that a person can only write what they know. Sure, it is easier to write about what you’ve lived, but you don’t always have to live an experience to write about it. Since he brought up Shonda Rhimes, I will utilize her for my example. As far as I know, Shonda Rhimes has never been a Caucasian male physician, but she wrote the daylights out of McSteamy and McDreamy.

The only issue that comes up when writing about an experience that you have not lived is the fact that Hollywood tends to write in stereotypes. Sure, a Caucasian person can write about African American experiences, but it would take a ton of research in order to make sure that the representation is accurate and not stereotypical. I get the feeling that many in Hollywood could care less about accurate representations.

3. Also, there are TONS of writers of color. The issue is not that they are not in place, the issue is that they are either not being hired at a consistent rate or when they are hired they are placed in a box to only write what Hollywood deems they are able to write. Writers should be given a level of creative freedom, but that would be too much like right.

4. Tyler speaks of the “ones who don’t get it”. The issue is, the “ones who don’t get it” seem to be growing in number based on his box office numbers. He may want to revisit what “it” is.

5. If he takes constructive criticism into account, why are so many people saying that he has not progressed? Is it that he considers almost all criticism of his work to be destructive and he ignores it? I’ve seen some constructive comments about his work, but his work has stayed the same for the most part.


What I don't understand is why Oprah feigns surprise. As though she doesn't understand the power structure of Hollywood and the entertainment business and how things work.

On the other hand, all she has to do is look in the mirror, as she could also be considered part of the problem too.

Instead of bringing TP onboard to OWN, she could have chosen to support someone who was on the level of Shonda Rhimes, say, Ava DuVernay, or Julie Dash, Kriss Turner, Sanaa Hamri, Ali LeRoi, or any number of writers, directors and producers who've created QUALITY movies and scripts and worked on mainstream programming; thus bringing more knowledge, skills and understanding of how to actually create programming of substance.


Brother owns a third of lionsgate and he's talking about, 'more people with power.?' Hell, Tyler can't even release a romantic comedy at the right time. But let's not just attack him. What about Geoffery Fletcher. He hired Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel and Tony Soprano himself Gandofini. That's right, let's talk about it. I know the truth hurts. How come Amandla Stenberg and Adepero Oduye weren't called? Just saying.
Someone has to push the boundaries and cast, write and direct us in provocative, exciting, demanding roles.
Tyler and Oprah sure aren't doing it.


Circle Jerk. Don't they have the power to green light said films? So. Out. Of. Touch. And, interested in keeping their pockets lined. These are our representatives…SAD.


Tyler's letting racist Hollywood off the hook?! Tell me Mr. Perry, since when do you actually have to like be of a racial community to write about that racial community or their point of view? And ask yourself, do you have to be a certain gender to write a story from that gender's point of view? And one more thing Mr. Perry, has that stopped ANY of there these white writers from writing about any marginalized group they please? Nope. There would be more stories of black women if whites in Hollywood (a.k.a. the gatekeepers) saw our stories are worthy. So don't sit up there and say, "we need more storytellers." We already have those. We have the talent and the brainpower. We just need the financing and distribution WHICH RACIST WHITES CONTROL IN HOLLYWOOD! It's the institutions, white supremacy, and the 'powers that be' that won't allow black storytellers to get work, financing, and distribution. How can you not find any storytellers when there are 1billion+ black people roaming this earth? You don't find that a bit odd with all the resources Hollywood has? How is this NOT a "conspiracy" Mr. Perry? There is no other way you can explain how blacks have as little power (and say) over their images as they do considering Hollywood has been here for over a century. And yes, this is actually well documented. So you can miss me with this crap, indirectly attributing this lack or representation on your own people… You should be ashamed of yourself!

But of course, Perry knows who butters his bread. >_>


I think Tyler Perry answer about black actresses is a cop out. The real reason black actresses have lack of roles is power and control. Do you really thing white actresses want to have to worry about competing with black actresses for roles when it's already hard enough for them competiting among themselves without black actresses or any women of color in the mix. It goes the same with black films, actors, writers, and directors. Hollywood is not going to do nothing to go against their bottom line, the bottom line I'm talking about it is white privilege economics and power. That's why we have to create our own lane if we want to have these opportunities for black actresses and black actresses have to understand the game and not get caught up in the glitz and glamour and take advantage of the roles that are offer to them by independent filmmakers who are creating roles for them.


The thing that struck me most about that first video is Oprah's reaction to Tyler's response. "That's It!" She reacts like this is some kind of epiphany to her or something.

And in the second video, Tyler talks about not paying any attention to the hateful critics and only paying attention to those that are constructive, but yet he says he called Toure to talk to him about his critique??? What the hell? Toure said Tyler was like malt liquor for the masses! And he actually gave Toure his time, calling him up on the phone to try and understand where he was coming from? Really? What part of your work being called "malt liquor for the masses" is constructive enough that you'd want to call him up on the phone to talk to him to understand where he was coming from??

Dankwa Brooks

Ok this may sound like hating for hating sake, but I think it's constructive crticism, whoever pulled focus on those main close up cameras need to be shot. That in and out and in and out and in and out and…you get it. Very distracting!

Gary C.

They waited to the end and seemingly as a throwaway, they on having the power to make stories and roles for black women. Simply implying we need more writers to change the condition is asinine and Oprah, if she choose can be that power on a consistent basis with her wealth and influence.

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