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Tyler Perry: "The community will support you and give you power"

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  • Wed, 11/07/2018 - 09:05
Tyler Perry
  • EFE

The only way for Hollywood to make room for Latinos is to "stop asking for a space at the table" and make their own projects, anchored in the realities and mood of their community, Tyler Perry, director of blockbuster films about the African-American community, assured EFE.

"I had to carve my own way," said the 49-year-old comedian, whose films are around $ 2 billion in box office sales and he hopes his new romantic comedy "Nobody's Fool", which opens this Friday, will be well received.

"While the others were knocking on the doors and asking 'let me in, let me in, I was creating my own table and connecting with my people," said the American director and screenwriter.

Perry was made known in 2005 with "Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman," written and starring him.

The comedian explains that at that time Hollywood placed actors "of color" mainly in roles of service personnel, or related to violence, whether they were police or criminals.

"There must be someone who makes his own films and tells stories that reflect the community, which is what put me in this situation," he explained.

"Then, the community will support you and you will become powerful in your community, that is the moment when Hollywood and everyone else will be forced to pay attention to you," he said.

According to figures from the Motion Pictures Assotiation of America, African-Americans occupy 10% of the viewers who go to the movies frequently and 12% of the total attendance.

Latinos, however, mark 24% of the viewers who go to the cinemas at least once a month, with the highest percentage being the whites, with 61% of the total attendance and 54% of the more frequent.

Perry has explored various genres in his search for connection with the African-American community and bridges to the rest of the country. In comedy, his greatest success was with the character of Mabel Earlene "Madea" Simmons, created and played by him.

But his path has not been easy. After a traumatic childhood due to beatings from his father that took him to a suicide attempt and that urged him to change his name, Perry entered the performing arts looking for a way to heal his "wounds".

He began with the script for musical theater "I Know I've Been Changed" and in the year 1990 managed to mount it in a community theater in the city of Atlanta.

"During that time I learned that you have to be decisive, you can not be doubting what you want to do," he said.

After six years of failures and constant revisions, he managed to present the work to audiences mostly African-American.

Between 1996 and 2005, he had raised about 180 million dollars thanks to box office, promotional merchandise and videos, according to figures from the Forbes financial magazine.

It was then that he decidedto transfer his experience to the cinema.

With a turning point, Perry released in March of this year the psychological thriller "Acrimony", a production with a budget of 20 million dollars.

Now he is preparing for the premiere of the romantic comedy "Nobody's Fool," a love story he wrote for comedian Tiffany Haddish with the intention of exploring the prison reality of many African-Americans and Latinos.

For this film, Perry immersed himself in the music to "make me have a good time, a lot of Cardi B., a little bit of Drake," he noted. His support to move through different film genres is in music. "While I was writing 'Acrimony' I was listening to Nina Simone, jazz of the old guys, Billy Holiday, putting me in the place I need, like the blues," added the creator.

This comedy manages to send the message that it is possible to rebuild life after being in jail, as long as the former inmate has the support of the community.

Although he declined to say what other topics he will explore, he assured that the next installment of the character of Medea will be under the title of "Tyler Perry's a Madea Family Funeral", with a release scheduled for 2019.

"It will be more crazy and darker than the previous ones," he predicted.

Source- EFE

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