In a special addition of “Farrakhan Speaks,” during which he is asked a wide-range of questions from the staff of the “Final Call,” Minister Louis Farrakhan called filmmaker Tyler Perry one of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs of our time, and says that he is grateful to him for bringing Madea to the forefront of America’s consciousness:
“I have never seen his portrayal of ‘Madea’ as a man cross-dressing. I saw his wonderful portrayal of Madea as bringing to the forefront the strongest person in the history of our sojourn in America, and that is Madea. That strong, Black woman who was the cornerstone of her family. She always was that figure that guidance [of] correction, reprimand, discipline, and Tyler Perry brought her to the screen in funny ways, but what I was seeing was the greatness of the strong, Black woman who saw us through, from yesterday until today.”
Minister Farrakhan goes on to compare Perry to Imam W. Deen Muhammad, the son of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the revered spiritual leader who helmed the Nation of Islam after his father’s death. Imam Muhammad, in addition to his transcendent spiritual leadership, used a fusion of psychology and art to heal the Black community. And Minister Farrakhan views Perry as traveling that same path.
“When you look at Tyler Perry’s movies, you see the brilliance of T.D. Jakes, a spiritual giant. You see the majesty of human problems acted out. So you could sit in the theater and see yourself in your madness, in your gladness, in your goodness, in your evil, then come out of that experience, for a $15 ticket and some popcorn, and say, ‘Wow, I feel better.’
“So this New Year is a shout-out to the giant called Tyler Perry. A spiritual giant, a magnificent human being, and I pray that this year his art, his greatness, will shine even more in healing our people through mass projection of drama through films and plays.”
Farrakhan’s assessment of Perry is counter to the intense criticism that Perry has been subjected to throughout his career from scholars and community leaders who feel that his portrayal of Black men is emasculating. Filmmaker Spike Lee has been Perry’s chief detractor.
When asked by Final Call staff writer, Starla Muhammad, how could single, Black women ensure that they were raising their sons and not “babying” them, Minister Farrakhan said they could be more like ‘Madea.’