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Madea visits relatives in Alabama for the holidays.
Mabel “Madea” Simmons (nee Baker/Murphy)
Born in Louisiana, Madea is a tough, street-smart elderly Black woman. Her age varies in different movies and plays. She grew up in poverty, in a shotgun house with her parents and siblings. Madea has stated that although her family didn’t have much, they had love. In her formative years, she lived in Alabama and Georgia. She was a cheerleader in Atlanta during high school. She had children starting in her mid-teens. Madea has been jailed numerous time for different crimes, ranging from illegal gambling to attempted murder, to road rage. Despite her general temperament, she is seen time and again defending (and antagonizing) her family.
Tyler Perry, who plays Madea, said the character is the PG version of his mother and his aunt. Madea is his opportunity to pay homage to them. “She would beat the hell out of you but make sure the ambulance got there in time to make sure they could set your arm back because the love was there inside all of it.” (“Tyler Perry Transforms: From Madea To Family Man”. NPR. 2012-10-15.)
Actor, writer, producer, director:
Perry was born in 1969, in Louisiana. He has called his childhood a “living hell.” In his 20s, while watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, he heard someone describe the sometimes therapeutic effect the act of writing can have. The comment inspired him to apply himself to a writing career. He has since wrote and produced numerous stage plays, films, and tv series (1990s-2010s). In 2011, Forbes listed him as the highest-paid man in entertainment. Outside of his own productions, Perry has been cast in Hollywood films and done voice acting for animated films. Despite commercial success, his production have received criticism from critics and scholars who believe his films perpetuate negative or offensive portrayals of African Americans. Despite that, in 2020, Perry was included in Time’s list of the 100 most influential people and received the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Additionally, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy Awards in 2021, and was inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame the following year.
Shipp is a digital creator with experience reviewing films in several national film festivals. He is the Editorial Director of the platform Nerd Union, which reviews film, tv, video games, and table top games.
“‘Commander’ Shipp has had opinions on movies since he was a kid…even if that meant talking to himself. He loves tackling the issues involved with our modern blockbusters while still enjoying the deep dives into the films you may have glossed over.”