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Tyler Perry’s career took off after he introduced the character Madea to the world. Although many people love Perry’s movies, some are critical of how he tells the stories of African Americans. Here’s what Perry has to say about that and why he doesn’t read reviews of his work.

Tyler Perry explains why he doesn’t read reviews

Tyler Perry attends the Oscars while wearing a blue velvet suit.
Tyler Perry | Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images

Perry enjoys what he does for a living and he’s proud of his work. However, he avoids reading reviews of his movies. During Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? on HBO Max, he explains why.

Perry says he chooses not to read reviews because the person reviewing his work might not have a full understanding of the material. Reviewers might criticize something simply because they don’t understand it.

“I don’t read reviews just for the fact of just being in this business for a long time and doing things that were intentional and specific for my audience and having someone review it, who didn’t quite understand that,” says Perry. “Or [a reviewer] may not really realize what it was. Good or bad, I just didn’t read them.”

He tells Wallace that Oprah Winfrey recently called him to read a good review he received about his latest movie, A Jazzman’s Blues. “So, [Oprah] said, ‘Have you read the Variety review?’ I was like no, I’m not going to read,” says Perry.

Perry says he and Winfrey went back and forth about how he should read the review. He said he wasn’t going to read it because he usually doesn’t read reviews. So, Winfrey read the review to him.

“And [Oprah] starts to read [the review] on the phone, and she got emotional halfway through reading it because she’s just so proud of the journey,” continues Perry. “As am I, I’m just very grateful.”

Tyler Perry’s thoughts on bad reviews

Wallace asked Perry why his movies tend to get a lot of negative reviews and how he feels about that. Perry says it doesn’t bother him when he hears negative feedback because his work resonates with so many people.

“What I know about it goes back to the intentionality of it all,” says Perry. “I was speaking directly to my audience in a way that we speak. A language that we speak that we get. And if you are a trained eye, you may not understand that or get it. So, the criticism is what it has been and what it was, what it is.”

“And that’s all fine,” Perry continues. “Because what I know inside of the criticism for every bad review, there were at least 20,000 to 30,000 positive comments on my pages telling me how [my movies] spoke to them.”

Tyler Perry is focused more on the lives he has touched instead of bad reviews

Perry says he is grateful to be able to help so many people through his movies. He recalled the time someone contacted him and told him that he helped a relative leave a bad relationship.

“[There are] people who have followed me who cannot afford therapy, could not get into the Range Rover and go on vacation,” says Perry. “But they were going through some difficult things and could watch Diary of a Mad Black Woman and see themselves.”

Perry says he focuses on the positive results of his work. “I would never forget getting an email from a woman saying, ‘You did in an hour and a half what my family and I have been trying to do for 12 years. My sister is leaving a bad relationship. It gave her hope,’” says Perry. “So, it’s kind of hard to focus on a bad review when you have people’s real lives changing from some of these things. So that was my purpose and my focus.”

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