Happy 40th Birthday, Tyler Perry: I Can Do Bad All by Myself


Tyler Perry is having a grand celebration for his 40th birthday.  I Can Do Bad All by Myself, his latest Madea movie, opened at number one at the box office on Friday.  The movie is based on his play “Dear God, are all men dogs?”  On Saturday, he celebrated his birthday with Oprah, Sherri Shepherd, and Mary J. Blige.  His next movie, Precious, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday.  On Twitter today he said to his fans:

Today I turn 40 and I enter it with so much to be grateful for.  You’ve given me the best years of my life.  Again, all I can say is thank you, and that’s not enough.

His birthday wish (see note below):

If I could give my mother her health and strength I would.  That would be the ultimate birthday gift, and only God can grant that.  So I ask that you will continue to pray for her and continue to pray that her spirits be lifted and encouraged.

To celebrate Tyler Perry’s birthday, I treated myself to I Can Do Bad All by Myself.  I loved it!  I wanted to stay at the theater and watch it again, but Oprah’s  24th season started this afternoon with an interview with Whitney Houston that I didn’t want to miss.  I wasn’t surprised that Oprah had difficulty saying the words “domestic violence” during the interview.  She characterized the marriage of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown as “tumultuous.”

Breaking Down the Walls of Silence

Tyler Perry, on the other hand, doesn’t have any problem breaking down the walls of silence.  In fact, he has Sandino, the Colombian handyman (Adam Rodriguez), get out a baseball bat to prevent sexual molestation of 16-year-old Jennifer (Hope Olaide Wilson) by her aunt April’s (Taraji P. Henson) married, abusive boyfriend Raymond (Brian White).  In another scene, Sandino advises April  that she can’t heal from her own experiences of sexual molestation until she stops covering it up.  Good advice.

The message was especially powerful for me today because I’ve been silent for decades about my own sexual molestation by my uncle.  I’ve been in PTSD hell for over a week with flashbacks and nightmares because nobody protected me.

The film’s message and music spoke to my soul and provided healing.  Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight, and Pastor Marvin Winans sang to my heart ~ their songs were beyond moving especially the lyrics, “oh Lord I want you to help me, help me on my journey help me on my way.”

One of my favorite scenes was Madea sitting on the porch telling Bible stories to Jennifer.  It was classic Madea and hysterically funny ~ the audience howled with belly-shaking laughter.  Nobody in their right mind messes with Madea, but Madea certainly messed up the parables.

Courtney Young, who is promoting her own feminist agenda, blasted the film:

The crux of Perry’s gender problem lies in his reliance on conservative gender politics that eschew a more progressive, inclusive agenda.  Each of his films advances nearly the same message to his audience (which is overwhelmingly African-American, female, devoutly Christian and over 30).  Be demure.  Be strong but not too strong.  Too much ambition is a detriment to your ability to find a partner and spiritual health.  Female beauty can be dangerous.  Let a man be a “man.”  True female fulfillment is found in the role of wife and/or mother.

Oh, please!  She knows better.  In an interview with CNN, Tyler Perry explains why the critics (who don’t get invited to screenings of his movies) get it wrong:

They miss the messages of empowerment.  Sure, the silliness of “Madea,” the silliness of “Brown,” it’s broad, it’s over the top.  Great.  Fine.  I get it.  But how can you miss the message of forgiveness?  How can you miss the messages of empowerment?

I’m telling you, just to think this little boy from Louisiana can do it , anybody can do it.

He loves to leave the folks in Hollywood scratching their heads about how he does it.  He has humility, faith, talent, and gratitude ~ he told his fans today on Twitter:

You have been there with me from the beginning and continue to be so loyal, that means so much to me.  My prayer for you is that everyone in your life will be there for you the way you have been there for me.


Tyler Perry’s Inspirational Story:  Homeless to Movie Mogul

On October 4, 2008, Tyler Perry opened his studio at an abandoned Delta Airlines reservation center in Atlanta.  The complex covers 30 acres including a 200,000 square feet studio where he films his movies.

But, his journey wasn’t easy.

Tyler Perry was born Emmitt R. Perry, Jr.  His carpenter father was physically and verbally abusive.  In an Ebony interview in 2004, he said:

The things that I went through as a kid were horrendous.  And I carried that into my adult life.  I didn’t have a catharsis for my childhood pain, most of us don’t, and until I learned how to forgive those people and let it go, I was unhappy.

As a teenager, he attempted suicide and dropped out of high school at age 16.  Eventually, he got his GED.

In 1991, he moved to Atlanta where he was a bill collector.  He saved $12,000 to rent a theater to produce his first play I Know I’ve Been Changed (named after an old Negro spiritual).  It is a gospel musical about two adult survivors of child abuse.  Only 30 people came to see it.  For the next eight years, he was broke, frequently homeless, and living in his car:

I was angry.  I was bitter.  I was angry at God.

But, he didn’t give up.  In 1998, he produced the play again to sold-out houses:

After the show, every person who had told me no, every promoter who had turned me down, came to me with an offer.

How did he do it?  Like most of us, he watched Oprah and learned how to find catharsis in his journal:

I was watching the Oprah show one day and she said that it’s cathartic to write things down, so I started writing down the stuff that was happening to me. . .That’s how my first play started, which features a character who confronts an abuser, forgives him and moves on.

From playwright August Wilson, he learned:

Do what you do.  Don’t worry about these people, do what you do because I don’t think it’s bad at all.


Like Oprah, Tyler Perry refuses to play by Hollywood’s rules.  They both demand creative control and ownership of their projects.  It is their key to building wealth.

Today, Tyler Perry lives in a grand 16,000 square feet palace 25 minutes outside Atlanta called “Avec Chateau” which is French for “with home:”

I wanted to make a statement. . .to let people know what God can do when you believe. . .if there was an opposite of homelessness, I wanted to find it.

Tyler Perry and Oprah are the executive producers of Precious which was adapted from Sapphire’s novel Push.  It is about an illiterate Black girl who learns to thrive and find joy after experiencing poverty and sexual and mental abuse.  It will open in theaters on November 6, 2009.  The movie won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Happy Birthday, Tyler Perry!  Thanks for the uplifting messages, belly laughs, and inspiration.

Note:  Sadly, Tyler Perry’s mother Willie Maxine Perry passed away on December 8, 2009.  She was the basis for Mr. Perry’s character Madea.  She worked as a pre-school teacher in New Orleans, LA.

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5 responses to “Happy 40th Birthday, Tyler Perry: I Can Do Bad All by Myself

  1. Pingback: Celebritylife.org·

  2. thank you Tyler Perry for your productions to which has helped me continue along the path toward serving God amidst the pain and sufferance since a child….thank you for reminding humanity that through God…all things are possible even after abuse in every form and fashion imaginable…Happy B-Day!!

  3. Ilove all your movies and play and I hope u continued to put God first in your life. Happy late Birthday and may god contiuned to bless u.I’ll be waited for some more movies and plays in the future. My husband said hello and that he will e-mail u in the future.

  4. To Whom it May Concern :
    Tyler Help!

    I am writing this letter seeking information on how to open my own help center for victims of sexual and emotional abuse. I am a mother of three adult sons who is still struggling which the nightmare of sexual abuse from my step-father. When I was a young girl growing up I had a low self-esteem. I was labeled the black big lip, big butty girl with the short hair. I was always academically below level in school verses my light skinned A student brother with the wavy hair.
    Throughout my years I believed that every man that approached me was trying to do what was already being done to me. Once I moved out of the home at twenty one I began dating a married man and had two sons. After having my two sons’ I became a workaholic. I never felt loved so I didn’t know how to give the proper love to my boys. I believed if I provided them shelter and material item I was doing the right thing. I never wanted totally expose my love to anyone. I was afraid that any love I give my love to would hurt me like the other males that abused me.
    Because no one knew that I have been sexually abused for years my goal was to work hard be successful and have this lovely life.
    Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I than married an older man that was abusive mentally; from that marriage I birth another son. After having my third son I began to work more. I didn’t understand why I rather am on a job then at home after some therapy sessions and years of prayer. Finally, I understood why I rather am at work then at home. I was afraid to love my boy unconditionally. I began to realize I had given up on showing my love. I was afraid they would hurt me the same way my birth father did by never around to save me from my hurt and pain of abuse. My step father and uncle who molested me. The failed relationships I had with men that used me for their purposes. Males I really thought loved me. I became afraid to hug my boys to show my true love and emotions to them. I was afraid.
    Soon after I began to be this over protected mother who wanted to know where my boys were at all times. I never wanted to live with the horror of closing my eyes then opening to someone harming my boys.
    Still I felt if I let down my guards my boys with disrespect and walk over me like every male I have had in my life. “See I thought I needed to keep my molestation a secret in order to keep the peace in the family.
    Doing my growing up period my stepfather was abusive to the entire family. But, he had a good job my brother and I was going to a Catholic School our living arrangements was pretty good and my mother was afraid of him. He was an alcoholic he would beat her up and beat my brother when she was gone. My mother seemed like she was not a where of the problems in our home. Then she decided to have four daughters by my abusive stepfather. Because we lived better than most children I know: I didn’t want to tell know one about the physical abuse to my brother and the molestation that was going on in my life.
    I figured my brother and I would be adult soon and my sister needed a place to live. I made myself believe that he wanted do those bad things to his own daughter. Unfortunate, the older I got the more I worked the faster my career goals began to disappear. I was very unhappy. My secret refused to stay a secret.
    I find out my sisters were leaving their daughters with my step-father. I also find out my mother was still having relations with him. It was a reoccurring night mare. As an adult with three children of my own it was time for me to reveal my secret. I couldn’t allow that bad thing to happen to my nieces. I just couldn’t live with the additional pain of knowing I could have exposed him.
    I thought disclosing this information would be removing that heavy burden of secrecy from my heart. I thought my mother and my sisters would be happy. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. My mother and several of my sisters turned against me. I was called a liar. I was said to be jealous because my father didn’t raise me. I was asked why I pretended to love my stepfather if he had molested me. Why did I continue going to his home after becoming an adult? I was accused of being the criminal instead of my stepfather .I was said to have liked it etc. Everything that happens was my fault.

    My major problem as of today is the more I try to achieve the more that secret gets in my way and I fail. I was going to college and continued to fail because those same family member that called me a liar needed me I put them first. I was on my job for the Chicago Board of Education for eighteen year and recently lost it because of recession.
    Every relationship I have had was unsuccessful; I was used one way or another.
    The reason I write this letter is for advice. My dream has always been to open up a business helping girls. I want girls that need help to know that they are not alone in this world. See, I always wanted to know how it felt to be a princess. I observe so many young girls of today without direction. I have heard people called them whores. I have watched how inappropriate they dress. How disrespectful they speak about themselves and other girls. I see our girls of tomorrow using their body as a tool for love. It hurts me. Some of those girls are victims of physical and emotional violence and that’s their way to divulging their pain. Those girls needs some positive people in their lives and way to disclose their secrets .They need be shown how to achieve and feel like a princess.
    “Something I always wanted to feel but never given the chance.
    My problem is I am stuck. I have had this dream since I was a teen but don’t know how to begin. I have many plans but always end up back to square one. I just need some advice on how to begin my purpose in life. I would like some guidance.

    I want my journey to greatness to be a success. My life had not been complete because I haven’t been effective in doing what I believe God wants me to do.

    Please someone tell me how to remove this reoccurring secret from my life. I don’t want it to interfere with my goals. Secondly, could someone give me some ideas on how and where to begin? I will be 50years old in August. This will be my dream come true.
    My business name will be DRSW

    Tell me how I can help some trouble girls fill and act like princess.

    Thank You denisechc7@yahoo.com

  5. u are my role modle .I like the way u act .u hav one of the greast movies. It is because of u I hav faith that when I grow up I will an act like u 1hero

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