From Madea to Media Mogul
Theorizing Tyler Perry

Edited By TreaAndrea M. Russworm
and Samantha N. Sheppard

Edited By Karen M. Bowdre
Foreword By Eric Pierson

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, foreword, introduction, index

9781496807045 Printed casebinding $65.00S

9781496820174 Paper $30.00S

Printed casebinding, $65.00

Paper, $30.00

Essays on the seemingly unstoppable writer, producer, director, actor, and entrepreneur Tyler Perry

Contributions by Leah Aldridge, Karen M. Bowdre, Aymar Jean Christian, Keith Corson, Rachel Jessica Daniel, Artel Great, Brandeise Monk-Payton, Miriam Petty, Paul N. Reinsch, Rashida Z. Shaw, Samantha N. Sheppard, Ben Raphael Sher, and Khadijah Costley White

For over a decade Tyler Perry has been a lightning rod for both criticism and praise. To some he is most widely known for his drag performances as Madea, a self-proclaimed "mad black woman," not afraid to brandish a gun or a scalding pot of grits. But to others who watch the film industry, he is the businessman who by age thirty-six had sold more than $100 million in tickets, $30 million in videos, $20 million in merchandise, and was producing 300 projects each year viewed by 35,000 every week.

Is the commercially successful African American actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, and producer "malt liquor for the masses," an "embarrassment to the race!," or is he a genius who has directed the most culturally significant American melodramas since Douglas Sirk? Are his films and television shows even melodramas, or are they conservative Christian diatribes, cheeky camp, or social satires? Do Perry's flattened narratives and character tropes irresponsibly collapse important social discourses into one-dimensional tales that affirm the notion of a "post-racial" society?

In light of these debates, From Madea to Media Mogul makes the argument that Tyler Perry must be understood as a figure at the nexus of converging factors, cultural events, and historical traditions. Contrbutors demonstrate how a critical engagement with Perry's work and media practices highlights a need for studies to grapple with developing theories and methods on disreputable media. These essays challenge value-judgment criticisms and offer new insights on the industrial and formal qualities of Perry's work.

TreaAndrea M. Russworm, Amherst, Massachusetts, is an assistant professor of English at UMass Amherst. Her work has been published in Cinema Journal's Teaching Media and the books Watching While Black and Game On, Hollywood! Samantha N. Sheppard, Ithaca, New York, is an assistant professor of cinema and media studies at Cornell University. Her work has appeared in Cinema Journal and the edited collection The L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema. Karen M. Bowdre, Radnor, Pennsylvania, is an independent scholar who has published in Black Camera; Cinema Journal; and Falling in Love Again: The Contemporary Romantic Comedy.

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, foreword, introduction, index