Tyler Perry expressed his excitement about the recent push for diversity in the film and TV business at a press conference in Toronto on Sunday, but added that the push will only succeed if it’s accompanied by education, training and time to gain experience. .
The director, who has paved the way throughout his career in expanding the space for black stories and talent on the small and big screen, is in Toronto for the world premiere of his new film. Jazzman blues ahead of its release on Netflix on September 23.
A work of love for Perry, 27 years in the making, the drama stars young talents Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer as unhappy lovers in 1940s Louisiana whose relationship is thwarted by the racial laws of the time.
This is one of the many articles at TIFF this year dedicated to black talent and stories, including fiction. woman king as well as Inspection and documentaries Sydney as well as Dear Mom among others.
Asked how he views this moment in history for black creators, Perry said: “Let me be very careful about how I say this, be diplomatic. I’m very excited about what’s happened to the diversity and choice and opportunity we’re seeing for the first time for black people, it’s amazing.”
“But I’m worried because there’s such a push for diversity and hiring people of color that I’ve found situations where people are being pushed into places they’re not ready for,” he said.
“At Tyler Perry Studios we train so many people, we have hired people and they are doing an amazing job, but once people are trained and know their job, they are grabbed to move on to a bigger production, which is normal, because if you want to find people who know their job, if they can do it in my studio, they can do it anywhere,” he continued.
“What I don’t want is for black people to take places we weren’t ready for, and then people who are not black to be moved from the places… If we didn’t qualify, train or educate to get there, then How do they give us places so quickly? I hope that in all these changes and this push for more inclusion, we also take the time and practice to make sure we can do a great job.”
Dramatic tone a. Jazzman blues marks Perry’s post-raft departure after the commercial hits of comedy and drama, led by his longtime Did franchise.
Perry said he felt he had to prove himself in Hollywood before jumping into this more artistically ambitious role because he couldn’t afford to “fail” early in his career as a black man.
“I knew that if I had a failure, I would not be able to continue my business, because as a black person I had much more problems than my colleagues … I knew that I needed to create my own brand and build a studio, get to a place where I can stand just as firmly and say, “OK, now I want to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he said.
Perry announced his partnership with Netflix – in films, including Fall from grace as well as Madea Homecoming – played a part in convincing him that it was the right time to bring Jazzman blues to implementation.
“I was told for many, many years that films with black people or black stars would not travel around the world, except for Will Smith. Making two films with Netflix that became number one hits in different parts of the world confirmed what I already knew that I had a platform, a place in the world,” he said.
The current political climate in the US has also spurred him on, he continued, citing recent cases where conservative groups have pressured American schools to remove certain books about sexual minorities and racism from their libraries.
“So political officials are banning books from libraries, wanting to rethink, not wanting white kids, black kids to learn the history of what blacks have experienced in America, wanting to soften it, wanting to make it homogeneous. This shocks me, because I know for sure that if you do not study your history, you are destined to repeat it, ”he said.
“I thought the timing was right because even if it’s a fictional story, if it arouses curiosity and people want to explore and look back on some of the things that happened to us as humans, our love affairs and what we have It was. do to be okay in this world, then that’s what the movie is about.”