Appreciating Tyler Perry, Sort Of

You can't be too much of a snob about films like "Why Did I Get Married, Too" because they serve a need.

Not that’s likely to change any time soon. Tyler’s got his formula and he’s sticking to it. But I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem isn’t that there is a Tyler Perry out there making movies. It’s that there aren’t enough cinematic August Wilsons. Or Suzan Lori Parks. Or Lynn Nottages. Give me a healthy dose of smart, insightful, highbrow black creativity, and I can laugh right along with everybody else on the lowbrow stuff and its folk-wisdom truths. The problem is when there's too much low brow, I begin to resent it. White Hollywood leaves me out. Wit them, I don't feel seen or represented. With Tyler Perry, I-we-are indeed represented. And I give him props for that. I just wish that, in his representation of us, we weren't so continuously and cartoonishly exaggerated.

Teresa Wiltz is The Root's senior editor. Follow her on Twitter.