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Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes, and the Birth of Gospel Cinema

Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes, and the Birth of Gospel Cinema

Chapter:
(p.52) Chapter Three Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes, and the Birth of Gospel Cinema
Source:
From Madea to Media Mogul
Author(s):
Keith Corson
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496807045.003.0003

Since Perry’s plays share with his film production a similar thematic focus on Christian morality, Keith Corson’s contribution to this collection charts the rise of regional theatre and the translation of the financial, aesthetic, and political model of “gospel theatre’s” urban circuit to the multiplex. In the process of identifying the evangelical influences of some contemporary African American films, which Corson calls “gospelcinema,” the chapter compares Perry’s films with televangelist T.D.Jakes’s in order to argue that their films have helped reshape notions of a Black film audience. Gospel cinema narratives often function as morality tales that align closely with the rise of the Black mega church as they express a middleclass idealism that is rooted in a doctrine of prosperity, self-help, and individualism. Yet, as Corson defines it, gospel cinema also features a unique blend of melodrama, folk humor, and camp aesthetics that complicate a simple faith-based reading.

Keywords:   Gospel Cinema, Gospel Theatre, Christian, Morality, Melodrama

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