The Birth of Madea
In 1999, Tyler Perry debuted his first stage play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” featuring the character of Madea, an elderly African American woman played by Perry himself. This play and subsequent productions featuring Madea became wildly popular and launched Perry’s career.
Madea on the Big Screen
In 2005, Perry brought Madea to the big screen with “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which also introduced audiences to several other recurring characters in the Madea universe. The film was a box office success, leading to a series of Madea movies over the next decade.
Controversy and Criticism
While Madea has been embraced by many fans for her humor and larger-than-life personality, she has also faced criticism for perpetuating negative stereotypes about African Americans and women. Some have also accused Perry of profiting off of these stereotypes.
Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
The first Madea movie follows Helen (Kimberly Elise), a successful lawyer whose husband leaves her for another woman. Helen seeks refuge with her grandmother Madea and other family members as she tries to rebuild her life.
Madea’s Family Reunion (2006)
In this sequel, Madea helps her niece Lisa (Rochelle Aytes) plan her wedding while also dealing with her own family drama. The film also explores themes of domestic violence and family secrets.
Meet the Browns (2008)
Madea travels to Georgia for the funeral of a friend, where she meets the Brown family, who are facing their own challenges. The film also introduces Madea’s love interest, a former NFL player played by Rick Fox.
Madea Goes to Jail (2009)
Madea finds herself behind bars after getting into a altercation at a fast food restaurant. While in jail, she tries to help a troubled young woman turn her life around. The film also features a cameo from Dr. Phil.
Madea’s Big Happy Family (2011)
Madea helps her niece Shirley (Loretta Devine) gather her three adult children for a family dinner, where secrets are revealed and tensions rise. The film deals with themes of illness and death.
Madea’s Witness Protection (2012)
Madea takes in a family involved in a Ponzi scheme who are placed in witness protection. The film also stars Eugene Levy and Denise Richards.
Madea TV Shows
House of Payne (2006-2012)
While not solely focused on Madea, this TV series created by Tyler Perry features the character in several episodes. The show revolves around the Payne family and their everyday struggles.
The Haves and the Have Nots (2013-2021)
Madea makes appearances in several episodes of this drama series, which follows the lives of the wealthy Cryer family and their less fortunate employees and acquaintances. The show was a ratings hit for OWN.
Legacy and Future of Madea
The Madea character has had a significant impact on popular culture, inspiring Halloween costumes, memes, and even a theme park ride. Tyler Perry has announced that he is retiring the character, but has hinted that she may make appearances in other forms in the future.
Regardless of what the future holds for Madea, the character and her movies and TV shows will continue to be remembered and enjoyed by fans for years to come.