With several dozen film and television credits to his name and more than ten years under the bright lights of Hollywood, Tyler Perry is no stranger to facing criticism for his work.
Since the release of his debut feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, in 2005, the famed director has been hit left and right with commentary about stereotypical black characters and damaging storylines. In a new interview with New York magazine, Perry addressed the criticism, explaining that his characters are influenced by those close to him.
"Let me tell you what took me aback about that," he said. "When people were like, 'How dare you put fat black people on television, these are caricatures, these are stereotypes' – I was so offended because my aunt's fat. My mother's fat. My cousins are fat.'"
"People who are like, 'How dare you – these harken back to Mammy, Amos 'n' Andy.' I would hear all these things, and I would go, hmmm."
Later in the interview, veteran actress Cicely Tyson (and the co-godmother of Perry's 1-year-old son) backed up Perry's accomplishments, saying that he's been invaluable to the black community.
"He has been one of the greatest blessings to us as a race of people, in terms of what he's done for us," Tyson said.
"There are people in the business that never dreamed that they would have an opportunity to be on the stage, to be on the film, to be on television. And look where they are. And you have to say, if it were not for him, they wouldn't be."
(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)