By Yul "Spencer"
Posted on 04 Oct 2008 at 2:27pm

Subject: From Michael Ajakwe re Tyler Perry

Subject: “The Real Family That Preys Ain’t At the IMAX, It’s In ATL”

Wow! What a shame. And the saddest part is that this does not have to happen. Tyler Perry, with all his millions, can afford to treat his writing staff like any other comedy writing staff in our industry. The fact that he, a writer himself, has chosen to screw over not just his writers but the folks who helped make “House of Payne” a success says more about not just him but how he views his own (i.e., other writers). I guess the “real” genius behind his films is the fat man in the dress and, of course, his director (who just so happens to be him). I have always found it interesting that his show is SAG and DGA but not WGA. He knows that no matter how rich he claims he is, Allan Payne and some of the other more notable actors would not appear on that show if it wasn’t SAG. Even when he appears on the show, he gets SAG wages, pension etc. I also find it extremely interesting that he doesn’t write any of the episodes but directs all of them and, of course, the show is DGA, which means Tyler Perry receives a DGA rate for directing plus all the goodies (pension, health and welfare) that come with it.

It’s amazing how a brother can start off doing so much good and wanting to make so many positive changes in our industry ( and let’s give the man his due, he has done a lot in a relatively short period of time), yet fall prey to the same draconian mentality when it comes to his own folks that other “Black media entrepreneurs” like Bob Johnson have done. I mean, we will now be talking about Tyler Perry in the same breath as Bob Johnson — a guy who made a billion dollars but who had a perception problem in and outside of the Black community. People do not hold him up in anywhere near the same light as an Oprah Winfrey. He’s not even in her shadow’s shadow. Yet they both have reaped billons through the media. Oprah, for all her success and riches, is almost always viewed as classy. You NEVER hear about any unions bitching about not being treated right by her Harpo. Why should they? Everbody knows there is more than enough money to go around. With BET, I know people who worked there whose checks used to bounce. And this was after the company had been around 10, 15 years. The programming,for the most part, seemed to cater to the lowest-common denominator (booty videos and gyrating hos). And when they finally (after God knows how long) did find a signature show in “Comic View”, what did BET do? It did not want to pay the comic SAG/AFTRA so it moved its operations to Atlanta (Hmmm… sound familiar?) and produced the show there. The comics, I was told, had to fly themselves in, put themselves up in hotels and buy their own food. It was a travesty. A lot of comics either refused to do the show or complained and protested. Did Bob Johnson give a rat’s ass? Uh.. HELL NO! He had his billons. Well, Tyler Perry is acting the same way. He seems to be saying, whether he realizes it or not, that having millions of dollars makes him better than the next man; makes him impervious to rules and doing what is right; and permits him to fuck over other Black professionals!
who are just trying to get what their White counterparts are getting that this so-called “emerging billionare’s” company is more than capable of paying. It’s just a bunch of bullshit (“nigga mess,” as my play mom used to say). And all this man every talks about when he’s not dressed up like a woman is Jesus and the Lord. Would God approve of what Tyler Perry just did to his writing staff? Or would God say, “But Tyler, I’ve made you so rich. Don’t you think you should share the wealth accordingly?” Tyler Perry may not realize it, but his actions say that he worships the Almight Dollar more than his God. Because, again, he can’t cry broke. He can’t cry poor. There is no reason why he can’t do what is right and fair because that is what God,what his Bible, would instruct him to do if he still adhered to it. He still talks that talk, but he has clearly stopped walking it.

Maybe he will just write all of the episodes himself, direct them and then play all ofthe characters. After all, he’s Tyler Perry! He can do anything! Who needs writers! Everybody knows scripts write themselves!

The biggest crime that will come out of this is that the Black press, I believe, will not go after him for what he is doing. There will be a general feeling of “let’s not bring this successful Black man down.” You know how we do. A brother could be running over children, but let him be successful and rich and watch the Black collective make excuses for his bad behavior and try and justify it. Our so-called “Black leaders” will be silent because they want to make sure they get invited to the yacht parites and other fun stuff rich and famous Black folks like Tyler do. Did you ever see our so-called “Black leaders” go after Bob Johnson during his 25-year reign of terror on the Black community? Of course not. You think Oprah will check Tyler for screwing over his writing staff? Uh, I doubt it. Black folks, we need to stop giving a pass to Black entrepreneurs who use their power to bully and mistreat other Blacks in business. We need to stop making excuses for their wickedness and call them on it to keep them honest becauase we all know that if Bob Johnson was a White man BET would’ve either had to clean up it’s act way back in the 80s or it would’ve been shut down. And you also know that if Tyler Perry was a White guy, Al Sharpton and Jesse J would be picketing outside his mansion at this very moment, trying to get him to “do right by the brother.”

I wish I was in Atlanta. If I was, I would be picketing right alongside Teri Brown-Jackson, Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore and Lamont Ferrell. I happen to know them all personally and they are all good people. They did not deserve to be treated like garbage and put out on the street for pick up just because they stood up for themselves after two years; stood up for something Tyler and his minion of mostly Yes Men at his company know is fundamentally right. How they justify screwing over writers (“Because we can!” they are probably saying) escapes me. It’s mean-spirit, un-Christian, anti-Black and just fucking gangsta. It’s not right. And the people at Tyler Perry Studios know it’s not right, but they’ve been allowed to get away with it for 126 episods, they’ve gotten comfortable/used to viewing writers as disposable (of course, all of them are “indispensible”). But the people who have helped give TP Studios value are summarily dismissed. Again, and I mean this, IF TYLER PERRY WAS A WHITE MAN HE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED BY US (BLACK FOLK) TO GET AWAY WITH DOING SOMETHING SO BLATANTLY WRONG.

I don’t care if Tyler Perry reads this and I don’t care if he never hires me or wants to work with me. I had a career in this business long before he did and Tyler Perry has never paid any of my bills. I continue to thrive in the industry without what he has to offer. And even though we don’t know each other and have never met, I have never wished him ill. I have always sung his praises and told others to support him. I also recently saw my first Tyler Perry anything when I caught “A Family That Preys, ” which I actually enjoyed. But those days are over. So long as this Tyler Perry disrespects writers, I will NEVER support any of his creative endeavors again. I will also tell everyone i know not to support him. If enough people take a stand against Black-On-Black (Brother-Exploiting-Brothers) Crime, it will stop being profitable for the perpetrators.

You cannot screw people over and expect to get blessed, Tyler. Don’t work that way. You know that. And you have been EXTREMELY blessed. Maybe you have gotten so big for your britches because of all of your success that, brother, you are out of touch moreso than you think. It can happen to anybody and now it appears it is happening to you; you who spawned on the scene from such meager and humble begginnings. I have seen the fami
lythat preys. And it wasn’t on the big screen at the Archlight. It is happening in Atlanta, at your studio where you are supposed to be trying to empower and build Black folk in this business not oversee and punish them for being Black and in need.

No matter who you are, what you drive, where you live or how much money you got in the bank, nobody is on top forever. What goes up must dome down. Just ask Frank Sinatra. Michael Jackson. Mike Tyson. What goes up, must eventually come down. A universal law. That being said, unjustifiable and vile actions like what Tyler Perry allowed to happen to his loyal writing staff (a staff he had already pimped out for 126 episodes) leads me to believe that Tyler Perry is sewing the seeds of his demise. So stay tuned.

Mike Ajakwe Jr.
Supporter of the “House of Payne Unjustly Fired Four”
Teri Brown-Jackson
Kellie Griffin
Christopher Moore
Lamont Ferrell

Now if I would of told you that story about BET which I’ve always known about for some time. You would’ve said I was bitter or pissed off. But coming from Mr. Ajakwe I thought you might see that me and many other comics are not bitter at all. But were tired of getting fucked around. Many fans approach me today and say when you going back on BET?
And kindly I say I don’t know. Because I didn’t want to bad mouth nobody. But I moved on because I had to do what I had to do for me. Plus I was tired of being bunched up with comics who had no real love for the craft. I remember the call an executive at BET made to me, she will remain nameless. She called me and asked me if I would do a special for them. And then it came to my mind that BET wasn’t going to change their ways. So who would have to make the change? You got it, me, so I said no and hung up. The executive accused me for being egotistical, she asked me to take my ego out of it. I told her we don’t eat ego at my house we eat “Eggos” we need compensation. Many of us had to make that decision sooner or later. I used to say back then by 2010 we were going to see some fucked up BET comics who weren’t really funny in the first place. On the side of the freeways with signs that read ” I WILL JOKE FOR FOOD”.
They were unaware that they had been marketed for there silly black ass attitudes and personalities(not material) and for awhile you believed you were talented.
Now you can’t buy a joke to save your life. Sorry to hear about those deceived comics. BET pumped you up to believe you were funny and all you really were was stupid maybe silly. I did six seasons with them including a New Orleans Anniversary Special or some shit. With all kinds of subtle promises or rumors of hosting the show one season. I’m going to mention this one last thing since the can of worms has been opened by the bold and honest Michael Ajakwe. I was somewhat a fortunate case because I can act, I was a Kat, be before most of the comics were kittens. So, I continue to work fluently in many capacities in this town. (Writer, Actor, Comic, Producer and so on). But the president of programing for BET at the time, told me I was to smart for the BET audience. That my material made you guys think to much because most of it was all true to life material. I couldn’t believe my ears because with the laughs of so many of you for so many of years laughing at this material. Obviously understanding every bit of it, it’s not like I’m “Steven Wright” now that was a smart comic. Wright, is a white-boy comic who used to perform out of Boston smart mudder-fucka but funny. Anyway the Pres. told me BET audiences were only interested in Big Booty’s and bling-bling, and gangsta shit. That’s what he said about US, my folks that love me. They said BET audience wasn’t smart enough to catch the material I was puttin’ down. Even though season after season you folks laughed at it all.
I Thank you for that because no matter what the executives have said to me. It’s because of you the audience I kept going and succeeding anyway. Let me say a big Thank you, and I love you.
And as far as Tyler Perry, following suit as Bob Johnson c’mon, how surprised are you? He came to Hollywood wearing a dress nobody even asked him too. He knew the formula ahead of the game. And came to Hollywood fully prepared to stampede around the screen like he’s crazy in a dress with his Christian ass. I don’t give a fuck what nobody say a man in a dress looks like a man in a dress.

I truly hope and pray these writers the “House of Payne Unjustly Fired Four” get the compensation they deserve. And that the Atlanta Studios take on all the Guilds, starting with the WGA, everything begins with the script dummies.

“That’s a Wrap4Real”

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