AceShowbiz - Tyler Perry defended himself against Spike Lee's criticism that his Madea character promoted negative racial stereotypes. The filmmaker, 53, insisted he had used Madea - based on his mother and aunt - to honour "the people who made me who I am."
When joining Chris Wallace, 74, on his new HBO Max talk show, the filmmaker addressed Spike's remarks. Back in in 2009, Spike, 65, controversially branded Madea "coonery buffoonery" and said it enhanced the negative stereotypes of the black community.
Tyler told Chris, "For me, I've loved the movies that I've done, because they're the people that I grew up with, that I represent. Most of them didn't have a 12th-grade education, but their stories and how much they loved each other, and when they would get sad about something and another would come in and make a joke - I'm five years old, I'm on the floor with my matchbox cars, I'm in a masterclass for my life.' "
"So when someone says, 'You're harkening back to a point in our lives that we don't want to talk about or we don't want the world to see,' you're dismissing the stories of millions and millions of black people... what is important to me is that I'm honouring the people that came up and taught and made me who I am."
Tyler added he thought the Madea project "resonates" with masses of fans as they know "women in these experiences." He has said Madea is "exactly the PG version of my mother and my aunt, and I loved having an opportunity to pay homage to them," adding "she would beat the hell out of you but make sure the ambulance got there in time to make sure they could set your arm back."
Tyler also told Chris about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his dad and how that related to him successfully creating his $1 billion brand. He said, "My father often, he sent a message to me a few years ago through my brother saying, 'If I beat your ass one more time, you would be Barack Obama', meaning that he thinks that his abuse brought me to success."
"But he totally negates the love of my mother. And the love of my mother is what brought me here. It wasn't the abuse. It wasn't the rage and the anger. It was her love that brought me to this place."
Tyler told People in 2019 his alcoholic father once battered him so hard with a vacuum cleaner it could have ripped off his skin. Tyler has also said three different family acquaintances raped him when he was aged 10.