Spike vs Tyler

Now the funniest part about this entire debate is how old it is. There has been a growing group of people (like myself) who are not fans of Tyler Perry's work for various reasons. Now let me be honest I only have liked X and He Got Game from Spike Lee so it's not like I am a big fan of his either. Beyond understanding his point I empathize with him and his anger.

You see the first thing people say is that "Spike is hating" or "Spike is jealous". That is because they are uninformed. Watching more educated or should I say aware people try to resolve this conflict without picking a side is hilarious because it can't really be done. The common idea is that Spike can't make the money that Tyler Perry makes or that he is jealous because his films don't get that kind of money. how many people have thought that maybe Spike holds his film making to a higher standard and won't do what Tyler does just for money.

This parallels hip-hop in many ways. You have a large number of artists who don't have any business rapping because they actually don't care about making good music. Then you have an artist like a Nas who takes the extra time to put into making every song, verse, and bar count to the fullest. Why wouldn't this person be mad when they put forth the extra time and effort into their product or job (just to relate it to everyday people like you and me) and get overlooked when someone else shucks and jives and gets the love, promotion, and accolades.

Back to the original topic, I can say that Tyler has had some amazing accomplishments. He has created an empire from nothing even though it is very similar to the coonery of Amos and Andy in some regards. His ability to make some big business moves is to be commended, however, his characters are often generic caricatures of the same old stereotypes in every movie and television episode. The lessons are stale and generic as well and the movies always seem to emasculate men and paint them as the villain.

Spike Lee on the other hand is too smart for his own good sometimes, hitting you over the head the message and smothering you with it so that you cannot breathe at times. That and that damn dolly camera shot of someone walking down the street in every freaking movie can be very, very annoying as is his habit of showing up on screen himself in a bit part with a poignant role in the story-telling process.

Now the final thing I want to address is the idea that Spike should call Tyler Perry and tell him how he feels in private. Honestly, the idea of Spike making the statement is not to change how Tyler Perry makes his movies and his money, but to change the public's view and to open the debate as well as their minds. The problem is never that Tyler makes those movies, it is that the public, especially the black public, runs out to support comedy and entertainment that is silly and stereotypical and not that which has the depth of a Spike Lee. Look at tv. There aren't any serious black dramas on because we don't watch them. The only black movies that get made are drug sagas with an action twist and slap-stick comedies usually involving a drug deal gone bad or a man in drag.

Until we as a people start to support a variety of films, there will seem like there is only room for one person to represent us and that is wrong and what Spike is fighting against.


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