I will be the first to say that I am a HUGE Tyler Perry fan. Contrary to the number of film critics who think otherwise, I think he is an excellent producer and actor. I’ve seen just about every movie he has ever produced, I’ve watched his TV shows, some of his plays and I have never been disappointed in how they turned out. Some are better than others, as that goes for many series of films and media productions. But my favorite thing about them, besides Madea’s crazy self, are the life lessons that Tyler makes very present. Every movie, not just the Madea centered ones, is about something different and has its own trials of drama that are extremely realistic and can happen to anyone, not just an African American family. I’ve shared with you the top six biggest life lessons that Madea teaches us throughout her movies.
Family is important.
I know how obvious this sounds and that this theme can be found in many movies outside of Tyler Perry productions. But I mention this one first because it is one of the biggest. Your family is important. Your family knows you in ways others don’t and they literally share your blood. In many of the Madea movies (and other Tyler Perry films), family members are constantly being brought together. Madea has her tough and (seriously) harsh ways of bringing her family together, but they sure do work! She never lets any of her family go about their life without helping resolve their issues or giving them a piece of her unforgettable advice. She does not beat around the bush and even though it may be hard to see sometimes, she always wants her family to love one another and respect each other. Your family will always be there for you when others won’t. This theme is very prominent in three of Madea’s movies, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”, “Madea’s Family Reunion" and "Madea's Big Happy Family."
Easy enough to see in “Madea’s Witness Protection,” she does not fall short in helping people. It may be a completely off-the-rocker, barbarous, vulgar, selfish or absolutely hilarious way, but it gets done. Even though Tyler Perry’s character, Brian, gave her the huge amount of money incentive in order for her to house this white family in need, both parties learned something in the end. The children learned never to take their parents for granted and to be more respectful, the couple was able to have sensible and intimate talks since the husband had been a crazy working man and Madea was able to supply these strangers with her advice and help them grow. She honestly knows when someone is in need and doesn’t mind sitting on the porch with them to talk about it. Behind all of that fearless armor she wears all the time, she really is a genuine character. She’s not the most rational, but genuine nonetheless.
We see on a lot of movies and TV shows, and even in real life, many couples battling infidelity. Someone gets bored. Somebody gets drunk and does something stupid. Someone cheats out of spite. People are feeding into their temptations and it destroys their life. It’s a terrible wind of emotions and life changing experiences and taints people’s trust. A lot of Madea movies, and even other Tyler Perry films like, “Temptation” and “Why Did I Get Married/Too”, couples are dealing with the repercussions of infidelity. In “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” Helen is dealing with more than just infidelity from her soon-to-be ex husband and Madea takes it into her own hands to help out her family member struggling. I don’t suggest ever going to your ex’s home and chainsawing their furniture in half, but Charles finally knew how strong Helen was. At the end of the movie, he realizes the kind of woman he had and shows how much he needs her through his own struggles, but sometimes it’s a little too late. In both “Temptation” and the “Why Did I Get Married” series, the main characters bring their lustful wants to life and it turns out they get more than just that in return. Do not take your loved ones for granted. Turn away from your temptations and towards God. Appreciating each other and living a healthy, loving life together brings you closer to God and farther away from the devil. One day you will need them and because you could not appreciate what you had when you had it, they will be gone. Is it worth it?
Do not blame others for your problems.
Frankly, when we make mistakes, we immediately want to find someone to blame for them. We don’t want to look in the mirror and admit it to ourselves that we just messed up. It’s time to stop that. We are human and we were not created to be perfect. The sooner we can all admit that we cause the bumps in our road the better. It’s very hard to admit when your life ends up in a way you never wanted, but nobody forced you to do those things or act that way… you chose to do what you did. You can’t go back in time to change anything, so forgive yourself and change your path. Seek help. Talk to somebody. Change your future now. You dug yourself in there, you can get yourself out. It takes effort and you have to stop settling and do something about your life if you want it to change. This theme is very prominent in “Madea Goes to Jail” when Madea confronts another inmate who blames her father for why she ended up in prison:
“I can’t stand folks wanna be the victim. ‘This person did this so I’m this way.’ Everybody got a story. Your mama and daddy gave you life, that’s all they were supposed to do. No matter how good, how bad the life was, it’s up to you to make something of it. Suck it up and shut the hell up.”
Forgive and let go.
This is another huge theme in the Madea movies. With all the drama and problems that the various characters face, in one way, shape or form they learn to forgive each other and let things go. I carried around my past for a very long time and it began to get the best of me, until I asked God for forgiveness and was able to forgive myself. Like I said before, you can’t go back in time and change things. So what do you do? You move on. You forgive those who have hurt you, you forgive yourself, and you let go of the past and work on your future. Though you can see this theme in all of Tyler Perry productions, three of the movies that this theme is very obvious in are: “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, “Madea Goes to Jail”, and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” Each character has been hurt, has hurt themselves or someone else, and has to go through the many stages of forgiveness on top of their hectic lives. The video below is something my mom showed to me after a terrible break up and it honestly helped me see things so differently.
Don't take crap from anyone.
Probably the best thing about Medea’s character is that she does not take crap from anybody. She does not let people walk all over her, disrespect her or others around her, lie to her, nothing. I think this is something that we could all learn from her which is why I saved this lesson for last. Do not let people take you for granted. Do not allow yourself to be walked on. You are a person with feelings, not a welcome mat. Don’t be violent, of course, but don’t let people get away with lying to you or trying to play games with you. They need to realize the truth and what they are doing is hurting you and has probably hurt other people, too. Be honest and stand up for people. Madea is always standing up for herself, her friends and her family. She is never a bystander. Help your friends and family when they ask for it and give them sound advice. Madea can be rash, but she can also be very sensible. Under all of the made up words and grammar infractions she’s guilty of, there is a deeper message she shares that we all need to hear.
Madea is a strong, bold, honest, and even genuine woman (I know it’s hard to believe sometimes). She takes responsibility for her actions and teaches others to do the same. I think these lessons found in Tyler Perry productions are the reason that I love them so much because I have literally learned something from watching them. They are funny and crazy and dramatic, but they’re smart and really focus on a lot of Christian values (in the weirdest ways). We all know that Tyler Perry is the actor under the gray wig and fat suit, and as funny as he makes her out to be, let’s not forget who is really telling us these things and showing us this wisdom.
Here’s to you, Tyler Perry. I cannot wait to see what other quirky schemes you put this old woman through! Let the crazy advice keep coming!