HELLUR! Our girl Mabel "Madea" Earlene Simmons, is back and giving us all of the laughs we never knew we needed in the recently released Netflix film A Madea Homecoming. Tyler Perry's reasoning for the return of everyone's favorite matriarch was due to the current climate in today's world. "So many people are angry, and there is so much going on. Such as politics, division, civil unrest, social unrest, and the pandemic. I wanted to do something that's going to make people laugh, and Madea was my best tool to do that," he said.
Tyler Perry's staying power in Hollywood is undeniable, and his influential effect is widespread. But one thing is for sure that has sustained the Louisiana native's longevity is remaining true and catering to his core audience. After so many years appearing on our screens, numbers don't lie, and it's obvious the gun-toting infamous character still has what it takes to capture the hearts of many as the film took the number one spot in the U.S. on Netflix upon its release.
21Ninety had a chance to catch up with the world-renowned producer and director to discuss Madea's advice she would offer to young women struggling with their faith. Also, the importance of instilling the values of love and not fear when raising children, and Beyoncé's epic reaction to the Homecoming re-enactment in the film's closing credits.
Dontaira Terrell: Since Madea is the matriarch of the family and seen as the foundation and a pillar of strength, on the opposite end of that, coming from Madea's perspective, when things get difficult, who pours into Madea's cup and what keeps her strong to continue to be that solid foundation and pillar of strength for everyone?
Tyler Perry: When you get to be her age, difficulty, struggle, and all that stuff, you have to remember she's seen it all. That's what I love about older people. They've seen it all. Things that would've bothered them at 30 don't bother them at 75 and 80. They're very clear on what life is, and I learned that by looking at Cicely Tyson and her life, especially in the latter years of how nothing phased or bothered her because she had been through and seen at all. I don't know if Madea would be the one to really go through anything like that.
DT: You're absolutely right! Nothing phases you at all once you reach a certain age.
TP: Yeah, you're like, okay, all right, here we go.
DT: Right, here we go! What is a piece of life advice Madea would offer a young woman trying to navigate and understand the ebbs and flows of life while currently struggling with her faith?
TP: She would offer understanding, and she would probably say, "Baby, just keep living, just keep living and take your time, and don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake."
DT: That part! Be gentle with yourself.
TP: Yes, learn, and listen. When you make a mistake, learn to forgive yourself because people don't allow themselves grace to be forgiven, and that will hold you back from anything else you want to do in life.
DT: Now, for you personally, as a storyteller, philanthropist, and being the first Black person to own and have a major film studio, among many other things, you're considered a hero to many, but who would you consider your hero and why?
TP: Sidney Poitier, and Oscar Micheaux, who started long before I ever did a studio, he had one. Cecily [Tyson], Oprah [Winfrey], and Barack [Obama]. All these people put their lives on the top shelf, and everybody else is trying to reach it. Those people have meant the world to me. To have an opportunity to know most of them is really beautiful.
DT: In the movie, there's a scene where Madea is speaking with Laura about being with Davie because Laura had a few doubts about moving forward in the relationship with him. Ultimately, Madea told her to follow her heart and do what makes her happy. Outside of the film, how are you personally instilling the same values in your son to act from a place of love and not fear when making decisions?
TP: He's so young right now, and I haven't had a chance to really get to that moment of it all, but just him knowing that I'm with him in whatever decision he makes gives him a lot of confidence in understanding that my dad is with me. If this is right or wrong, he's going to stand right by me. He's going to correct me, but he's going to stand right by me. I think it's more of showing and teaching than talking at this age.
DT: My last question, what are you most excited about for audiences when they see this film?
TP: I want them to leave laughing. If you're watching on your couch, I want you to go to the kitchen laughing. I want you to call somebody and say, let's laugh together. Let's sit and have some wine, watch this, and laugh our heads off. So that's what I want people to do, laugh.
DT: Well, I'm excited for the Beyhive to see it.
TP: That's right! Either they're going to sting me to death, or they're going to laugh and have a good time, but all they need to know is Queen Bey loved it.
DT: Well, that's all that matters!