Tyler Perry Says He’s ‘Not the Person to Ask About Racism’ in Hollywood


Tyler Perry spoke about his audience and career trajectory at the Produced By conference on Sunday.

In a conversation with Ava DuVernay on the second day of the Producers Guild of America’s annual conference, Perry said his audience is defined more by class than by race.

“There’s a certain class of people that I come from who know what I’m talking about, who get it,” he said. “There’s this other class who simply say, ‘What is this s***?’ ”

He told DuVernay his career hurdles likewise have more to do with his unconventionality than his race. “I’m not the person to ask about racism in this town,” he said. “I’ve never had to go through things others have to get things done.”

He and DuVernay spoke about why he’s less often considered a top diverse showrunner like Shonda Rhimes, despite his multiple series and millions of viewers.

“In order to have the success of an Empire, you have to have Fox. You have to have huge P&A, you have to have huge budgets for the show itself,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable saying Empire‘s budget is six times what I’m spending on The Haves and Have Nots.”

He noted his series, including If Loving You Is Wrong, For Better or Worse and The Haves and the Have Nots, specifically target black audiences. “It doesn’t appeal to broad audiences, to a point,” Perry admitted.

He and DuVernay spoke about his unusual entry to the industry. “I didn’t come through the door,” he said.

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Austin Siegemund-Broka

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