Tyler Perry: ‘We need to have a landslide out voting for Joe Biden’

Democratic National Convention - Day 3

Tyler Perry covers the latest issue of Variety, where they declare him the “Showman of the Year,” a weird distinction because it’s literally October and most of Tyler’s work in recent years has been behind the camera, not in front of it (like a showman). But Tyler takes what Variety gave him and turned it into a fascinating cover interview. Perry is in the elite club of Black Billionaires, and this year, he was also one of the first producers/directors to start production back on his many projects during the pandemic. Perry figured out a way to isolate cast and crew and get everyone tested for coronavirus on a regular basis and as far as anyone knows, it worked and everyone stayed safe. Perry also uses this Variety interview to talk about the years-long drama he had with Spike Lee, and about politics. Perry rarely speaks about national or state politics, but he’s endorsing the Biden-Harris ticket in this piece.

On the Trump years: “We’ve all been drafted on the worst reality show that’s ever been produced, and none of us have been paid for it. For the last four and a half years or so, we have been dragged through the wringer, and it is completely exhausting. So many people are exhausted at the division, at the hate, at the pandemic — people are just exhausted and angry and frustrated. And if the people who bring hope [and] positivity give up, then the world has lost its balance. Negativity screams, and positivity whispers. So we just need more whisperers to help people. I know this sounds cliché and some people may think it’s bulls—, but the truth is, I’ve lived long enough and experienced enough good and bad to know that good wins when everybody pushes in that direction.”

On Spike Lee’s criticism that Perry’s work is “coonery and buffoonery”: “If any criticisms stung, it would have been his, because I had so much respect and admiration for him,” Perry says. Indeed, in naming the 12 soundstages at his studio after Black Hollywood icons, Perry reserved one for Lee. “People’s opinions are their opinions, but that doesn’t negate the fact of the work that he’s done. And he’s due the honor of having a stage named after him and more than that,” he says. Explaining how the two reconciled, Perry says Lee called him after seeing an interview on “Oprah” where Perry talked about the historic feud between Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, in which Hughes called Hurston “a perfect ‘darkie.’” That interview prompted Lee to make the trek to Atlanta to talk things over. I opened the door. I said, ‘Come in here, so I can beat your ass.’ And [Lee] said, ‘Fair enough.’ And we sat and we had a conversation. … He laid out his views and his opinions, which I respected. And he heard mine, and he respected them. So we can both exist in the same world with very different views and opinions and still respect each other.”

More Black talent is being hired across the board: “Ten or 15 years ago, I could call any Black actor from Idris Elba to Viola Davis and Kerry Washington — they were all ready to go to work. But now it’s like, ‘Oh, their schedule is [booked] out two years. There’s this surge of Black is in, hire Black and diversity is in.”

Supporting Biden-Harris: “I really, truly don’t want to get political. What I want people to do is vote because everybody has very strong opinions about this. As do I. I have very, very strong feelings about the current administration. I have very strong feelings about a lot that’s going on. But I’m neither Democrat [nor] Republican — I’m an independent thinker. I vote for who I think is best to run the country.” Perry may avoid party affiliations, but that doesn’t mean he’s unwilling to take a stand. This election cycle, he’s using his considerable influence to support the Biden-Harris ticket. He’s been actively involved in voter registration behind the scenes and is reaching out to his audience to get it engaged.

He’s endorsing Biden-Harris for his 5-year-old son, Aman. “If it were just me, I could step back and maybe have a different opinion. But I want him to be able to go to the national parks and they’re not drilling inside of them, to be able to turn on a debate and see two men stand professionally, giving each other the respect to finish their two minutes that they’re allotted and not talking over and screaming at each other. If you want more of the same, then you vote the way that you did in 2016. If you want something different, then we need to have a landslide out voting for Joe Biden.”

[From Variety]

His quotes about what he wants his son to see reminded me of Hillary Clinton looking into the camera in 2016 and saying that “our children are watching.” Yes, the kids have been watching this whole time. They went from seeing Barack Obama, a man of decency and compassion, to this utter white supremacist sh-t show. Also: I had no idea that Perry and Spike Lee worked out their issues, that’s interesting. I kind of wonder if a third party – like Oprah? – brokered the peace.

My new favorite thing is women unexpectedly thirsting over this photo of Tyler.

Cover courtesy of Variety.

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9 Responses to “Tyler Perry: ‘We need to have a landslide out voting for Joe Biden’”

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  1. Midnight@theOasis says:

    Tyler Perry has put in the hard work and I’m happy to see him running his empire and enjoying the fruits of his labor. I’ve never been a Madea fan, but Tyler used that as a stepping stone to get where he is today. All props to him. And I’m glad to hear Tyler & Spike have made peace.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I saw the segment about his corona regulations at his studio and the measures he put in place were intense but seemed to have worked (confession: I watched it bc it was the same interview where he was asked about Harry and Meghan lol). I really respect how he has built on his success and what he has established.

  3. A says:

    I mean, he’s a making-the-shows…man, right? Kinda? Anyway.

    1) Not trying to get anyone’s hopes up, but, someone told me recently that, generally speaking, the candidate who out-fundraises their opponent, tends to win the election. Trump saw a last minute surge in funds in 2016, which helped him win. Biden has seen a huge surge in fundraising in these last couple of weeks, and I’m hoping that that makes a difference.

    2) “But I’m neither Democrat [nor] Republican — I’m an independent thinker. I vote for who I think is best to run the country.” and “If it were just me, I could step back and maybe have a different opinion.”

    This is essentially billionaire speak for, “My money is what’s most important to me, and I will vote for whoever will help me keep more of it in my pockets as possible.” Which is essentially 50 Cent’s whole thing too. “My money is my money, and the govt should spend tax payer money on helping me pay less of my fair share.”

    And I’m going to take that other sentence to mean that, if he didn’t have a family, he would have voted for Trump, essentially. Because he personally doesn’t mind if national parks are closed for drilling, or if two old men scream at each other past their allotted two minutes during a presidential debate. He’s cool with it. This is a weird and rather interesting spin on, “Think of the children,” if there ever was one, but whatever.

    The real hero of this story is his son, Aman. Thank you, Aman, for helping make sure that by virtue of your existence, that is one less vote for Trump. I hope people can bring it through for all of us who desperately need this win for something decent. The past 4 years have been fucking awful.

    • lucy2 says:

      Yeah I couldn’t understand that “if I didn’t have a kid I might have a different opinion” comment, but I think you’re right, it’s all about trying to keep his money.

      I can’t imagine voting solely for my own self interest. I got into it with a Bernie Bro a few weeks ago who said he would vote 3rd party because Biden wasn’t his choice, and if the Dems wanted his vote, they had to nominate his perfect candidate. I couldn’t get it through his thick head that it’s not all about him, and you have to pick the candidate who will do better for everyone, not just you.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed, @A

      Not a TP fan and never will be. What he did with Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf was a travesty. (As one reviewer wrote, at least he didn’t cast himself in that historic Black women’s play as Lady in Wig. :/ ).

      Firmly with Spike Lee on this. And if I was Spike, I’d be pissed about the naming of the stage. That’s really disrespectful, actually, to Spike Lee. Just because TP has the money doesn’t mean that he has the right to use Lee’s name for an enterprise that in many ways is the exact opposite of everything that Lee and his work stand for.

      And that whole “I’m not political” bs–seriously? TP has a huge fan base who need to be mobilized to vote and specifically to vote Biden-Harris which is in their best interests. When will it get bad enough that TP will use all of his accumulated wealth off the backs of these faithful fans to actually speak up directly and loudly for what’s right? Money is all that matters.

  4. Nikki* says:

    I am REALLY worried about Russia hacking our system. And there are quite a lot of Trump supporters where I live. I’m not sleeping well!!

  5. HeatherC says:

    A landside would be great. Then it would be considered a mandate that might actually get one or two things done for the American people.

  6. jferber says:

    I really respect Tyler Perry and I truly believe his heart is in the right place. I liked that he spoke to Spike Lee about Mr. Lee’s criticisms of Mr. Perry’s movies. I believe they had a good conversation because Tyler Perry named a section of his movie empire for Spike Lee. I love it when people with disagreements actually talk together and hash out some type of mutual respect, even if they disagree with each other’s opinions. Also, Tyler Perry is actually a self-made man, unlike that very orange impostor in the White House.

    • Anna says:

      TP naming a part of his “empire” for Spike Lee does not mean that Lee gave consent for that or supported it. It just means that TP is using Lee’s name to continue to link Lee’s legacy with his own, whether Lee wishes it or not. And being self-made does not absolve him of the deeply problematic content he produces. It just means he has fans who paid to make him a big star and to build that empire.