Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tyler Perry

Life has been alittle busy around here: I'd had Jury duty, Mark medical examines and drill and then there is Montague.
Since this picture, Montague has been to the Groomers. More about that later.
One of the difficulties that I have struggled with as a believer is the theather.
Even as a child I loved not only acting, but writing and producing my own plays. I love the magic performed by the Wardrobe mistress, the feel of the wool stage under my feet and the the release of my body when I dance.
And yet, being a modest woman, I have at the same time struggled the morals and values ofter portrayed that are so different than my own.
And while I know there are g-dly men and women in Hollywood and in the theather who believe that can make a difference, I can't say I am one of them.
Until about two years ago, when I heard about Tyler Perry.
I had gone to spend a few days with my mother and she had a DVD she wanted me to see, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I confess, another black movie that makes us all look stupid, ugly and nasty.
But because it was my mother, I agreed.
What I found was a well written story, a story well told. One that made me laugh, cry, scream, cheer and think.

In the movie, a black woman learns that her wealthy is not only seeing another woman, but plans to replace her with the tart and throws sister out on the street. She returns to her family, family she left to please her husband and now must learn to stand upon her on two feet.
After seeing this movie, I wanted to know more about Tyler Perry, not the writer, but the man.
Because to have written such a piece, the struggle of an abused woman learning to stand on her own two feet and find her voice, this man had to have known such pain in his own life.
Tyler Perry did.

Born Emmitt Perry Jr. in New Orleans, Louisiana to Emmitt Perry, who was a carpenter  and Willie Maxine, Tyler was the eldest of four children.
Tyler said his father's only answer to everything was to beat it out of you. Sadly, this is a pain that is still all too common
When I hear that as a child, Tyler Perry even attempted suicide in an effort to escape his pain, I knew i found someone I could relate to. I often the same way after a beating or after my step-father molested me. In contrast, Willie Maxine took her children to church each week, and like so many of us, Tyler found a sense of refuge and contentment, even if it was for a few hours. At age 16, he took the bold step of having first name legally changed from Emmitt to Tyler in an effort to distance himself from his father.
I never saw the movie Precious; I still cannot. Having been molested for so many years, and knowing the storyline, I still cannot face the movie. But not Tyler Perry. After seeing the film,  he was moved to share for the first time of being molested by a friend's mother at age 10.Before that, Tyler was also molested by three men previous to this, and later found out his own father had molested a childhood friend.
Like Tyler Perry, I did not complete high school,but worked to earn my GED.
The turning point in his life, was in In his early 20s. He watching Oprah and heard someone describe the sometimes therapeutic effect that the act of writing can have, enabling the author to work out his or her own problems
Interesting, I had a Therapist who had told me the same thing. Which caused me to once again begin to write.
For Tyler, this advise inspired him to apply himself to a career in writing. He started first, writing a series of letters to himself, which became the basis for the musical, I Know I've Been Changed.
Financed by his life savings, I Know I've Been Changed, a story of forgiveness, dignity and self-worth while dealing with child abuse and dysfunctional family life, the musical was a failure.
 But Tyler wasn't going to admit defeat. He kept writing, kept producing plays that failed. But Tyler Perry kept going.
He wasn't going to allow the music inside go unheard.
Finally, Tyler successes. The doors began to open, his stories were finally being told.
Now I know why I loved A Diary of a Black Woman. Yes, I saw myself, I saw people I knew. I also saw Tyler's story being played out. His pain and his victory.
Despite his success, Tyler is still a humble man, a thankful man. The kind of man I would what my son to look up to as an example.
And if Mr. Perry had a need for an extra in one of his films, his offer would be the only one I would ever accept.
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