Tyler Perry is the most prolific, successful and unapologetic filmmaker blending faith and film. His comedic first feature, Diary of a Mad Black Women introduced Madea, the broadest, most imposing and insightful black “Mama” since Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the Wind. Perry put on a house dress and high heels to offer Madea’s comedic observations and moral corrections. It was a tribute to his aunt and the mother who raised him.
Born outside the studio system in Perry’s Atlanta home, Diary of a Mad Black Woman became an unexpected hit, earning $50 million on a modest $5 million budget. Only indie studio Lionsgate understood how many black moviegoers had already discovered Madea through Perry’s popular stage plays. Years of touring on the ‘chitlin circuit’ with his melodramas had created brand loyalty. Lionsgate and Perry have teamed up for a string of hits aimed at his devoted audience, from Madea’s Family Reunion to Why Did I Get Married? and Meet the Browns.
I hope that white, suburban Christians will discover Tyler Perry and The Family that Preys. It is exactly the kind of faith affirming, biblically-informed story we allegedly long to see. To enhance the viewing experience, I’ve created a Bible study guide that explores the ethical choices wading through The Family that Preys. You can find clips from the film and download the free study guide at SermonSpice.com. May Tyler Perry continue to hone his writing, sharpen his directing, and deepen his faith. We need so many more smart and funny faith-fueled filmmakers.