Tyler Perry talks about the need for “time and training” to create lasting diversity in Hollywood


Before the premiere of his latest feature film The blues of a jazzman At the Toronto International Film Festival, Tyler Perry sat down for a wide-ranging conversation about the long road to making period drama and his hope for diversity in the entertainment industry.

“I’m extremely excited about what’s happened. The diversity, the choices, the opportunities,” Perry said in a chat with The News84Media editorial director Nekesa Mumbi Moody. “But I’m concerned because there’s such pressure for diversity and for hiring people of color that I’ve found, in situations, that there are people [who] can be pushed into seats they are not ready for.

Perry emphasized the need for training and mentorship in order to create lasting diversity in Hollywood. “I don’t want to have us as black people in seats that we weren’t ready for and then have people who aren’t black who have been moved from those seats and say, ‘Look, what a horrible job they are. make. ‘I hope that in all this push for diversity, we will also provide the time and training necessary to ensure that we can do a great job.

jazzman marks the first time Perry has presented a film at the Toronto Film Festival. Period drama, it’s a diversion for the filmmaker who made a name for himself in daring comedies like Do one movies.

The film follows Bayou, a young black man from 1940s Louisiana who finds success as a jazz singer but rekindles his romance with his childhood sweetheart, who is now a married woman and passes for a white man. ultimately opposing the racist leadership of a small Southern town.

Perry spoke of the difficulties with casting the film, having only contacted newcomers to Hollywood to have actors turn down the film due to the poor critical reception Perry’s films have received in the past. “There is a generation that grew up that grew up on the Do one movies and enjoyed them, but got a little older and they were like, ‘This is so low,’ Perry said.

(A phone started ringing in the audience, at which point Perry slipped into his Madea character, saying, “Whose phone is that? Whose phone is ringing?” The character was applauded by the audience. He laughed, “I’m trying to talk about jazzman and have class. “)

Perry continued: “In that frustration I thought, ‘Wait a minute, they’ve never seen you do anything like that. I don’t know if they think Madea is going to come out from behind a tree. Perry chose newcomers Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer.

When asked if he had ever considered giving up the reins of jazzman, Perry claimed, “Never. Not jazzman. Not this movie because of the way I hung on to it as a kid.

Netflix is ​​behind jazzmanhaving worked with the director on the last Do one film, A Homecoming Madea. “I think there’s room for a franchise to grow and become huge in streaming,” Perry noted. As for what’s next, he joked that it would be “Madea goes to Toronto.”

Perry notes that, as important as it was for him to do jazzman it is “as important as the very audience that has stood by my side that they are satisfied”. He said, “I will never deny or leave the public that brought me here.”

The blues of a jazzman will arrive on Netflix on September 23.


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