Movie mogul Tyler Perry has generally steered clear of politics, aside from hosting former President Barack Obama at fundraisers in the past. In 2020, though, he’s officially endorsing Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Speaking with Variety, Perry — the creator of Madea, the no-nonsense elderly Black woman he has portrayed in 10 feature films — explained that a number of factors influenced his decision to publicly stand behind a candidate this year.
They include his 5-year-old son, Aman, the coronavirus pandemic, and the fact that the United States had been “drafted on the worst reality show that’s ever been produced, and none of us have been paid for it.”
“For the last four and a half years or so, we have been dragged through the wringer, and it is completely exhausting,” said Perry, a self-described “independent thinker” who does not necessarily identify with the Democratic or Republican party. “So many people are exhausted at the division, at the hate, at the pandemic — people are just exhausted and angry and frustrated. And if the people who bring hope [and] positivity give up, then the world has lost its balance.”
“I know this sounds cliché and some people may think it’s bullshit,” he added, “but the truth is, I’ve lived long enough and experienced enough good and bad to know that good wins when everybody pushes in that direction.”
Referencing Trump’s poor record on the environment and his catering to the fossil fuel industry, Perry explained that he wanted his son “to be able to go to the national parks and they’re not drilling inside of them.” He also took aim at Trump’s frequent interruptions during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, pointing out that he hoped that his son could “turn on a debate and see two men stand professionally, giving each other the respect to finish their two minutes that they’re allotted and not talking over and screaming at each other.”
“The great thing about a democracy is every four years, you have an opportunity to make a change, and I’m hoping that there are enough decent people who are seeing that we need to make a change,” Perry said.
He added later: “If you want more of the same, then you vote the way that you did in 2016. If you want something different, then we need to have a landslide out voting for Joe Biden.”
Aside from politics, Perry also touched on race relations in the movie business. The mogul, who recited his personal mantra that “this Black skin that encompasses me is beautiful,” said that despite 2020 being fraught with racial injustice, Hollywood was making encouraging strides forward.
“Ten or 15 years ago, I could call any Black actor from Idris Elba to Viola Davis and Kerry Washington — they were all ready to go to work,” Perry told Variety. “But now it’s like, ‘Oh, their schedule is [booked] out two years.’ There’s this surge of Black is in, hire Black, and diversity is in.”
Read the entire interview here.