Madea's Big Scholarly Roundtable: Perspectives on the Media of Tyler Perry: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Madea's Big Scholarly Roundtable: Perspectives on the Media of Tyler Perry

Madea's Big Scholarly Roundtable: Perspectives on the Media of Tyler Perry
5 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed November 28, 2012
5 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


This timely and engaging panel discussion will examine the work of African American media mogul Tyler Perry. Without question, the prolific Perry is a leading Hollywood box-office performer; each of the 13 films he has released since 2002 have enjoyed opening weekends with top earnings. The writer-producer-director-actor also continues to produce the wildly popular gospel stage plays that constitute his show business origins, while at the same time overseeing two commercial cable sitcoms. Featured panelists will consider Perry’s extensive body of work from a variety of perspectives, exploring such topics as his theatrical roots, his works’ connections to “the” African American church, the highbrow/lowbrow tensions his works stir up, and the ways that class, region, gender and sexuality signify in his screen and stage productions, as well as in the discourses surrounding Perry himself.

Moderator: Miriam Petty (Assistant Professor, Departments of Radio/TV/Film and of African American Studies, Northwestern University)


Mark Anthony Neal (Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African & African-American Studies, Duke University)

Racquel Gates (Assistant Professor, Department of Media Culture, CUNY College of Staten Island)

Daniel O. Black (Novelist; Professor of English, Clark-Atlanta University)

Brittney Cooper (Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies & Africana Studies, Rutgers University)

E. Patrick Johnson (Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University)

This program is co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities; Block Cinema; the Black Arts Initiative; Departments of Radio/TV/Film, of African American Studies, and of Performance Studies; and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. 


Madea's Family Reunion

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:30 AM FREE
(Tyler Perry, 2006, video, 107 min.)

Screening at Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive

This is Perry's second feature film, loosely based on his 2002 stage play of the same name. It finds Madea (Perry) in the midst of a family reunion, a family wedding, and deep-rooted family strife between Vanessa (Lisa Anderson), her mother Victoria (Lynn Whitfield) and her younger sister Lisa (Rochelle Aytes). A typically Perry star-studded cast that includes Cicely Tyson as the family's Aunt Myrtle and Maya Angelou as Aunt May, Madea's Family Reunion attempts to weave a burgeoning love story between the apprehensive Vanessa and good-hearted Frankie (Boris Kodjoe) in amongst stories of concealed familial abuse, domestic violence, and the generational differences that divide African American families.

Post-screening discussants: Racquel Gates, C. Riley Snorton 
Moderator: Miriam Petty


The Family That Preys

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:00 PM
(Tyler Perry, 2008, video, 111 min.)

Screening at Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive

As another of Perry's many films set in the American south, The Family That Preys centers upon two Atlanta families with intersecting lives. The film follows the tangled connections between the middle-class Pratt family, headed by kind and hard-working Alice (Alfre Woodard), and the wealthy Cartwrights, headed by tough-minded business woman Charlotte (Kathy Bates). The deep and abiding friendship between the two matriarchs brings their families together, ultimately exposing the rifts that exist inside each clan. The conflict within and between both families ultimately comes to a head as the extramarital affair between Alice's haughty daughter Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and Charlotte's cold-hearted son William (Cole Hauser), finally comes to light.

Post-Screening Discussants: Brittney Cooper, D. Soyini Madison
Moderator: Nick Davis

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at