Filmmaker Tyler Perry has responded to backlash over his upcoming TLC series, which features an all-white cast. In an interview with the Associated Press, Perry says complaints about his choices are “reverse racism because it was coming from African-American people.”
“I don’t know if it was because they thought I should only be giving jobs to black people. Well, I think that’s ridiculous,” Perry said. “If you look at the hundreds of black people I’ve given jobs to and even the ones I’ve made millionaires, people of color, I just think it’s unfair,” he added.
Perry explained why he decided to break precedent with Too Close to Home, which premiered in August and returns to TLC on Wednesday.
“I’m just finding out more as I travel the country and world, the more I meet people, we’re all the same,” he said. “We all got the same dramas. So I’m not seeing color as much as I did anymore in the sense of our stories. Our stories are so similar.”
Perry says the character, who grew up in a trailer park community in Alabama, was inspired by his own experiences living in a trailer park.
“The same stories I’m relating to and telling, it could be anyone black or white. I’m not trying to the shine a light on a certain stereotype or certain people in a trailer park. It’s my own experiences from having spent time and sleeping there,” he told the AP.
While his last point is valid, his remarks that all races have “the same dramas” is eyebrow-raising given how palpable and quantifiable racism still is in the U.S. But apparently Tyler Perry is living in a post-race world.