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Why White Critics' Fear of Engaging Tyler Perry Is Stifling Debate

Tyler Perry (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Tyler Perry (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

They've offered analyses that, while largely negative, skip across the surface and ignore the depth, Joshua Alston argues in a piece for A.V. Club.

At the end of March, Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor hit theaters, bringing the number of films written and directed by Tyler Perry to 13 in just over seven years. Like Perry's films always do, Temptation dropped into theaters without being screened in advance for critics, then barreled to a box-office triumph despite savage reviews.

But Temptation isn't just another inept, inelegant Tyler Perry film. In fact, years from now, we may look back on Temptation as the loose thread that catalyzed the unraveling of Perry's prominence. That could be wishful thinking, but the critical response to Temptation suggests a genuine sea change in how Perry's work is perceived. For the first time, white critics are taking earnest swings at the Perry piñata.

In the days following Temptation's release, a few white writers on prominent online platforms took Perry to task for the nauseating subtext of his film's "twist" ending. (By this time, I imagine most of the people who wanted to see Temptation have seen it, but anyone averse to spoilage should stop reading here.) Temptation concludes with a troubling epilogue in which Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is seen in a pharmacy owned by her ex-husband Brice (Lance Gross) …


Read Joshua Alston's entire piece at A.V. Club.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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