Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Perry’

Talking About Jesus

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

In my last post, I wrote a review of Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family. A major aspect of all of Tyler Perry’s work is his Christian faith. He is very open about it. It seems to me that Christianity is more acceptable in African-American culture than in white culture. Maybe I’m wrong, but I never hear Christianity ridiculed in African-American art and media the way it seems to be in primarily white media outlets.

So my question to you: Why is that? Why is Christianity more acceptable in African-American culture? And, what, if anything, should we do about it?


Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Most of my readers have probably never heard of Tyler Perry or Madea. You’ve probably never seen any of Tyler Perry’s movies or stage performances. If you haven’t seen anything by Tyler Perry, you don’t know what you’re missing. In my opinion he is one of the best artists of our time able to seamlessly move from stage to screen. He is both an amazing playwright and screenwriter along with a wonderful director and producer. Mr. Perry can do it all.

Last Thursday my wife and I went to see Madea’s Big Happy Family, the latest offering of Tyler Perry on stage. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The tears weren’t from sadness. The tears were rolling because we were laughing so hard. I laughed so hard my face hurt. The writing was incredible. Tyler Perry’s whit and way with words make his comedies a laugh riot. I haven’t had that much fun watching a show in a long time.

While Mr. Perry is a phenomenal comedic artist that’s not the thing I like most about his work. The thing I like most is how he seamlessly weaves his faith into his work without it sounding forced or trite. Madea’s Big Happy Family was written by Tyler Perry, in large part, to help him process his grief after his mother passed away. The theme of the show was the influence that mothers have on their families.

The show opens with the lead character learning that her cancer has returned and she doesn’t have long to live. The hi-jinks begin when she invites her family including her kleptomaniac brother and family friend Madea, a 6’ tall 60 year old pistol packin’, ex-stripper, ex-con over to tell them the news. The entire first act is a laugh riot as we watch many failed attempts to get the family to slow down long enough to learn what’s going on. Yet, the comedy is light-hearted. This is not a dark comedy and you forget the morbidity of the situation as you enjoy watching the dysfunction of the family and laugh as you see elements of yourself and your own family in the hysterical situation.

The true theme of the show develops in Act 2. By now the family has learned the fate of their matriarch and they are working through the grieving process. The tears of joy turned to tears of sadness as we all grieved with the family at the loss of their saintly mother. (Even as I write this, I’m starting to feel the emotion all over again.) But the roller-coaster ride of emotion wasn’t over at this point. Our sadness turned to joy as we saw Tyler Perry’s vision of the death of his mother. We saw her weep for her children that were losing their mom and rejoice as she was raised to be with Jesus whom she had served faithfully.
The show culminated with the family sharing the influence their mom had on them and how through her life she pointed them to Jesus.

Madea’s Big Happy Family is one of the best stage performances I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen anything by Tyler Perry you need to check him out. Go out today and rent Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Daddies Little Girls. After you watch them, come back here and tell us what you think. I guarantee you’ll enjoy them. And if you get the chance, go see Madea’s Big Happy Family.