How Do You Solve a ‘Problem’ Like Madea? Re/Reading Tyler Perry

December 6, 2018 @ 4:30 pm America/New York Timezone
106 McCormick
NJ 08540
Beate Witzler


How do you Solve a ‘problem’ like Madea? Re/Reading Tyler Perry

Thurs. Dec. 6, 2018 4:30 PM, 106 McCormick


The Society of Fellows 2018-19 Public Lecture Series

Miriam Petty, Associate Professor, Department of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern, was a fellow in the Society 2006-2009 and affiliated with the Departments of English and African American Studies.

Tyler Perry’s iconic Mabel “Madea” Simmons has been alternately lauded as a tribute to black maternal figures, denounced as an emasculated cinematic image of black manhood, decried as a mockery of black women themselves, and claimed as a gesture to Perry’s surreptitious queerness. In his films, Perry consistently posits Madea and her antics as the solution to domestic and communal problems, even as the character raises intersecting problems of gender, sexuality, race, geography, performance, and generation for Perry’s audiences. This talk will read Perry’s recent holiday films “A Madea Christmas” and “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” to consider Madea’s narrative and visual relationship to the “problem” of Black nostalgia, especially for the American South.