From Madea to Media MogulTheorizing Tyler Perry

From Madea to Media MogulTheorizing Tyler Perry

TreaAndrea M. Russworm, Samantha N. Sheppard, and Karen M. Bowdre

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9781496807045

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


From Madea to Media Mogul examines multi-hyphenate media mogul Tyler Perry’s unique role in contemporary media culture. Unlike the discordant, popular, and limited range of academic responses to Perry’s work, the essays here are engaged with neither celebrating nor condemning Tyler Perry. This collection demonstrates that there is something inherently political about the intersection between understanding the pleasure as well as displeasure surrounding black popular cultural expression. This intersection is crucial not only to understanding Tyler Perry but also to how we think about race and identity in the 21st Century. The collection is organized around a core set of key concepts, because Perry’s image and productions are an invitation to interrogate and transform some of our most familiar disciplinary terms, such as affect, cinephilia, platforms, mogul, rebrand, and niche. Other concepts that Perry prompts us to reconsider, like the politics of respectability, centrality, exceptionalism, and disguise are informed by cultural studies traditions, while new perspective on terms like chitlin and gospel broaden our grasp on thematic concerns from black cultural traditions. Above all, what this collection aims for in offering this rubric for reading Perry are paradigm-shifting approaches that embrace the unexpected. This is a collection that deliberately brings these diverse approaches and disciplinary traditions together by arguing that Tyler Perry’s productions are unintelligible without them and that these critical perspectives reveal Tyler Perry as perhaps one of the most important figures in American media history.

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—Miriam J. Petty

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