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Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Watch this Episode of Oprah Too?

April 2, 2010

Miss Janet Jackson is on Oprah today, and because I’m in Chicago, we get to watch it at 9 am, so if you are in a market where the show comes on later, there are SPOILERS IN THIS POST ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE OF OPRAH.

Things that came out in the “interview” (which is mostly Oprah asking leading questions):  the kids are kinda being raised Jehovah’s Witness, but not.  The last time she saw Michael was at a surprise birthday party and she was making him laugh like when they were kids.  The last thing they said to each other was “I love you”.  They started losing touch sometime after Thriller.  She had attended a Michael intervention with her family.  That’s about all that was revealed.

Janet is still in mourning:  she can’t look at pictures of Michael, can’t bear to watch the concert movie or even simple clips of it, it’s too painful.  Though she was brave enough to face this pain to promote her new film Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?   A marketing inspiration to us all.

Miss Tyler Perry came out after the first segment and spoke up on her behalf, wanting to make sure everyone in the world knew that the Jackson family really tried to help him.  And….now it’s time to plug the movie.  It’s 9:18 am. Maybe she didn’t want to try and compete with LaToya’s 20/20 interview.  It’s not that I somehow needed some hourlong tribute special by Janet about her brother, I didn’t even need that 15 minute segment, it just always feels in poor taste to link the explanation of personal trauma to a movie promotion, even though that’s the standard m.o. for Oprah.

I respect Tyler Perry’s business sense, and I know (white) people say that a lot, but seriously, this man sells out theaters and movies like crazy, because he is providing entertainment to a significant proportion of people pretty much being ignored by the creative focus on only the most technologically advanced forms of expression.  I am interested in how befallen mediums can still thrive in the shadow of popular advancements in other areas — for example, the programming schedule on all of the MeTV stations.  I would probably join a CB radio club right now if I had one.

I can’t bear to see any of the Madea movies where the man is in bad drag, but I do have a soft spot for his melodramas, particularly I Can Do Bad All By Myself (Gladys Knight and Mary J Blige sing!) and The Family That Preys Together (Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard living a 80s cable movie dream!), because in the midst of these familiar storylines and plothole-ignoring histrionic dialogue will be a few shining scenes of good melodrama and good acting, these surprisingly tender moments with the actors, and yeah, it’s mostly with the women.

Oprah just said about Tyler Perry: “He’s the kind of guy who’s a nurturer, who takes care of you… can you write for women so well?”

“My momma.”

Also, he’s gay.

Oh wait, I’m not supposed to say that yet.  But as I type this, he just hired two beautiful singing gay boys on the spot in the hallway in front of the Oprah cameras!  I was waiting for him to say “meet me in my office later….uh, to sign the paperwork.”    This isn’t really about Janet Jackson saying nothing new about Michael Jackson — these is me calling FRYBUTTER dibs on writing the “Welcome to the Family, Tyler” entry when it happens.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 10:20 am

    Great Post, Keep It Up

  2. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 2, 2010 11:35 am

    The show ended with a segment featuring the Old Spice commercial, where Tyler Perry told him directly that he’d gotten a part in his new pilot. Perry requested that the smoking hot and hilarious actor “put his shirt back on and come out of the bathroom” as if he was uncomfortable with looking at his pecs. Oh, the classic homophobia-as-closet technique. The man doesn’t reinvent the wheel, he just takes it for a long ride!

  3. April 2, 2010 2:07 pm

    Hahaha. Oh they’ll kick his ass out the closet. He done pissed off way too many blacademics and they’ll bomb that closet before they’d let him hide in there a moment longer.

  4. lacrease permalink
    April 2, 2010 4:45 pm

    What was the point of this article? I learned more about your Character than anything youve wrote about. SMH.

  5. msjacks permalink
    April 2, 2010 6:31 pm

    Oh my god, I LOLed all the way through this. from your “very serious” WARNING: OPRAH SPOILERS on through to the end. Kudos, RayRay!

  6. evmaroon permalink
    April 2, 2010 6:47 pm

    BWAHAHAHAHA! I would so buy a CB and/or short wave and/or ham radio just to hear your broadcast! Oh, Janet. Oh, Oprah. Oh, TYLER!!!

  7. hsofia permalink
    April 3, 2010 12:39 pm

    I don’t dislike Oprah, but I rarely watch her show, and I clearly didn’t miss anything with this one. I feel kind of like it’s wrong of me to assume Tyler Perry is gay altho it feels sooo obvious to me. But isn’t it sort of heteronormative to decide men talking in a certain way or having effeminate features/habits can’t be straight? I dunno.

  8. April 3, 2010 5:09 pm

    I know what you mean, and I actually didn’t assume/think he was gay until very very recently when 3 people, 2 of which are generally my go-to experts on closeted hollywood, mentioned it, and after reading around, I feel there are two situations possibly going on here. (By the way, I’m about to be totally snark-free in this comment!)

    1. It’s a “glass closet” situation, a la Anderson Cooper and Lance Bass and Wanda Sykes and Jodie Foster and Ellen, where everyone in the industry knows, their family knows, their friends know, much of queer america knows, but there is still this resistance to SAY it and be in it and own it. It might be more like a Ricky Martin situation though, since Ricky had flatout denied it some, though primarily just dodged the question. Tyler Perry dodges the question really, really well, or rather, he gives this complicated savvy answer that implies he’s straight but doesn’t say either way, and it makes him look secure and confident in his masculinity, more so than the asker. He says things that aren’t untrue (“dressing up in a wig and makeup doesn’t make you gay”) but they also don’t completely answer the question truthfully.

    2. Tyler Perry has had some fcked up abuse in his childhood, and his christian faith has kept him sane and survived all that. I think he is still working out some of those feelings about what that means for him now an adult man. There is part of me that wonders if he might be somewhat asexual, possibly as a coping mechanism related to past trauma, but also possibly just because some people are asexual. I really believe that he believes so strongly. I still question his actions and disagree with some of his opinions, but I find the man surprisingly genuine, just more that he maybe isn’t aware of everything go on inside of himself either.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about Tyler Perry, apparently.

    I definitely don’t think that any and every effeminate man is gay, and I think there’s also indicators that read gay in one culture and not in others; there have been many white people who think some black men are gay because their masculinity reads different to them and so I wonder if that is also happening here too, of course. Or at least, I used to wonder this more, but then I heard him called “closetcase” by hollywood insiders and so I had to go back to square one!

  9. April 3, 2010 5:09 pm

    thank you!!

  10. April 3, 2010 5:10 pm

    I want an iphone app that replicates CB radios!!

  11. April 3, 2010 5:34 pm

    Tyler Perry dodges the question really, really well, or rather, he gives this complicated savvy answer that implies he’s straight but doesn’t say either way, and it makes him look secure and confident in his masculinity, more so than the asker. He says things that aren’t untrue (“dressing up in a wig and makeup doesn’t make you gay”) but they also don’t completely answer the question truthfully.

    I guess I didn’t realize this was even a secret. I do feel weird saying, “well he’s family!” and such with an air of authority lacking any evidence to support my claim.

    Actually, it was never about anything he was saying, how he said or actually what he’s *not* saying. But a familiar pattern of behaviors – more than anything – observed throughout my years sharing pews with closeted black church mens!

  12. April 3, 2010 5:35 pm

    We gotta big big convoy!

  13. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 3, 2010 5:46 pm

    If you google “Tyler Perry gay” one of the the videos on the first page is an interview called something like Tyler Perry answers the gay question, and so I watched it (research!), and the word “gay” was never said by the interviewer or by him, and the question was not really answered. I found this weirdly brilliant and it just completely confirmed what you said — just this knowing, this familiarity of his way. There are also some southern white closeted church mens, and they were in the choir with me. yeah, that’s right, I was in the choir, what?

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