Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Power of Tyler Perry’s Alter ego

       In Don’ Make a Black Women Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, Tyler Perry completely takes on the black maternal figure. Instead of just commenting on stereotypes, he dresses up as a 6’ 300lb sassy black old women named Madea and gives advice through her perspective. While Perry’s drag performance is simply hilarious, it also allows him to navigate through gender roles and speak boldly, so he can empower his audience and guide them to self-realization.
            By dressing up as Madea, Perry is able to overstep the boundaries of black masculinity, ignore the restraints of political correctness, and speak with emotional freedom. Madea’s advice to “hold the Frisbee” and hold out on sex would not have the same effect if it came from Tyler Perry himself. In fact, people would read it as Tyler Perry encouraging the suppression of female sexuality and become offended. A completely different message is received when the same advice comes from Madea’s mouth. The reader understands that when Madea is speaking about female sexuality, she means to send a message that femininity is powerful. She says “See, all women are born with the same special power. When the doctor pulls them out and pats them on their behind and says, “It’s a girl,” that lets you know you were born with a powerful weapon.” Madea may begin the chapter with a series of hilarious jokes, but she ends the chapter with meaningful insight. She speaks directly to her audience and shows them the power that they hold as an individual to take charge of their life. In a sense Madea is a type of therapy. She simultaneously relieves her audience with laughter and encourages a sort of self-reflection.

It’s worth noting that you will not find anyone like Madea in our world. Her character is one of a kind and it is her uniqueness that causes her voice to be stuck in our head. Some of Madea’s advice is simply comical such as the chapter “The Miracle of Vaseline” where Madea describes how Vaseline can be used for anything from deodorant to a good car wax. But most of Madea’s advice has some truth to it and I’m glad its stuck in my head.

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