It is easy to misunderstand the appeal of Tyler Perry's most popular recurring character, Madea. A trash-talking, gun-toting grandma played by Tyler Perry in low-tech drag, Madea may seem at first glance to be the same sassy matriarch stereotype that has become a staple of black comedies like Big Momma's House and The Nutty Professor. But the real reason Perry fans love Madea is because she is the folksy, comic voice through which Tyler Perry articulates his hard-won life lessons. If Perry's movies are fairy tales of a sort, then Madea is their irreverent fairy godmother, offering up guidance, wisdom, and hope in her uniquely mischievous way whenever Perry's young protagonists lose their way.
The same nuggets of wisdom Perry dramatizes in his movies are pithily articulated in Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings, Perry's book of self-help style advice written in the voice of Madea. Whether you're new to the Perry phenomenon and not sure which of his films to check out first, or a dedicated fan deciding which of your favorites to watch again, these quotes from Madea on life, love, and surviving adversity will point you to the right Tyler Perry movie for you.
"It doesn't matter what other people say. You don't have to go keeping up with the Joneses. Hell, I ain't known anybody named Jones in my neighborhood."
Life Lesson #1: Keep it Real
In Madea's Family Reunion Madea convinces a niece who is trying to maintain the appearance of a perfect marriage to admit to her family that her fiancé is abusing her.
"Whatever you've done in the past is done, and don't be ashamed of it. As long as it didn't involve animals or children, you're all right."
Life Lesson #2: Learn From Your Mistakes
In Daddy's Little Girls a working class father falls in love with his white collar lawyer while she's helping regain custody of his three daughters, but a dark secret from his past jeopardizes their relationship.
"Some people come into your life for a lifetime and some come for a season. You have to know which is which."
Life Lesson #3: Know When to Let Go
In Diary of a Mad Black Woman a housewife becomes so obsessed with revenge after her husband leaves her that her bitterness prevents her from embracing the new man in her life.
"Everybody's got skeletons in the closet ... my advice to anybody with skeletons is to dust them off every now and then -- as long as your closet ain't full of them. It's not good to have more than two or three."
Life Lesson #4: Confess Your Secrets
In Why Did I Get Married? a perfectionist wife gives everyone else relationship advice while her own marriage crumbles in the aftermath of a family tragedy she secretly blames herself for.
"Life is sometimes hard, and you have to laugh your way through it."
Life Lesson #5: Don't Give Up
In Meet the Browns a desperate single mother's strength is renewed when she goes home for the funeral of the father she never knew and is embraced by his eccentric family.
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