Tyler Perry has hit back at Spike Lee’s criticism his Madea character promoted negative racial stereotypes.
The filmmaker, 53, said he had used Madea – based on his mother and aunt – to honour “the people who made me who I am”.
He spoke about Spike’s remarks when he joined Chris Wallace, 74, on his new HBO Max talk show.
Spike, 65, controversially branded Madea “coonery buffoonery” in 2009 and said it enhanced the negative stereotypes of the black community.
Perry told Wallace: “For me, I’ve loved the movies that I’ve done, because they’re the people that I grew up with, that I represent.
“Most of them didn’t have a 12th-grade education, but their stories and how much they loved each other, and when they would get sad about something and another would come in and make a joke – I’m five years old, I’m on the floor with my matchbox cars, I’m in a masterclass for my life.’
“So when someone says, ‘You’re harkening back to a point in our lives that we don’t want to talk about or we don’t want the world to see,’ you’re dismissing the stories of millions and millions of black people… what is important to me is that I’m honouring the people that came up and taught and and made me who I am.”
Perry added he thought the Madea project “resonates” with masses of fans as they know “women in these experiences”.
He has said Madea is “exactly the PG version of my mother and my aunt, and I loved having an opportunity to pay homage to them”, adding “she would beat the hell out of you but make sure the ambulance got there in time to make sure they could set your arm back”.
Perry also told Wallace about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his dad and how that related to him successfully creating his $1 billion brand.
He said: “My father often, he sent a message to me a few years ago through my brother saying, ‘If I beat your ass one more time, you would be Barack Obama’, meaning that he thinks that his abuse brought me to success.
“But he totally negates the love of my mother. And the love of my mother is what brought me here. It wasn’t the abuse. It wasn’t the rage and the anger. It was her love that brought me to this place.”
Perry told People in 2019, his alcoholic father once battered him so hard with a vacuum cleaner it could have ripped off his skin.
He has also said three different family acquaintances raped him when he was aged 10.