He's a playwright, director and actor who has taken Hollywood by storm with such blockbuster hits as Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion. Tyler Perry talks to Gayle about his latest movie, his rocky childhood and his hopes for the future.
Tyler calls his new movie Daddy's Little Girls his best film yet because of its important message. "It's celebrating black fathers," he says. "As African-American men, we are depicted as the worst and the lowest of the low—that we don't take care of our children, we don't do any of these things—so this movie is about celebrating a good father who happens to be African-American."
In addition to portraying African-American fathers in a positive light, Tyler says he hopes the movie will be inspiring to younger generations. "I think it's very important that we as black men see it, as well as black boys see it, to get some kind of idea [that] you don't have to have a whole lot of money, you don't have to be the gang bangers in the neighborhood, you could just be a regular guy and love your kids as best as you can," he says.
Tyler has spoken candidly about his own father who he says was emotionally and physically abusive when he was growing up. Despite his painful childhood, Tyler says he has since reconciled with his father and they've worked out their relationship through forgiveness, prayer and reflection. "How can I be angry with this man when everything he did formed the man I am and I love the man I am today?" Tyler says.
Indeed, there seems to be no limit to Tyler's success, having conquered the stage, screen and even the publishing industry with his book, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings. Tyler says most of his dreams have come true, but one is still outstanding—becoming a father himself. "I still have dreams of being a great father and having a house full of kids but, you know, one day," he says.