Media mogul Tyler Perry became a household name as a self-made man in a hostile Hollywood industry, but according to the world-renowned entertainer Hollywood was nothing compared to the hostility he faced from his black peers.
The new documentary, Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story, explores the filmmaker’s story, from his abusive childhood to his subsequent success. Though it regularly explores Tyler Perry’s ingenuity, one particular section has been catching some media attention: the criticism he received from the black community, which he says hurt the most.
“I think the most difficult part in all of the success wasn’t battling Hollywood; it was Black people,” Perry says in the doc, as reported by The Messenger. “There’s a certain class of Black people who look down on all things Tyler Perry.”
For instance, filmmaker Spike Lee referred to Tyler Perry’s work as “coonery buffoonery” along with scholars like Donald Bogle and Jamilah Lemieux, who wrote in an open letter to National Public Radio that Perry’s work features “old stereotypes of buffoonish, emasculated Black men and crass, sassy Black women.”