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The problem with all-star African American Casts...

Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct.  THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is that DVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even.  Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most "black" movies don’t sell well in foreign markets.  So what that means is you will begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast.   Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike then not.

I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters.

I thought that as black people in Hollywood, this is just our reality, but I quickly realized that this is not racism. What made me realize this is I had a conversation with Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, and he was telling me that he was having the same problem with Red Tails. I was blown away!  Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen. It has an all-star African American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, which opens this Friday.  He went on to say that he brought the movie idea of Red Tails to several studios and no one wanted to make this film…. AND THIS IS GEORGE LUCAS!  Not to be deterred, he put up his own money, shot the movie then took it back to those same studios, and they wanted nothing to do with it. One of them even refused to see the film, citing the above mentioned problems.  So George decided to take a huge risk by entirely funding the movie and releasing it himself.  What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing.  I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us.  I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too.  The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story.

It opens this Friday. Please take your kids, you will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned.

George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.

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  • Sherry Blackwell Jersey City, NJ 07305

    Thank you, Mr. Perry for giving young, aspiring film makers like myself some valid information about how hard it is to get films made in Hollywood. You would think someone as big as George Lucas could make any film he wanted and get it distributed right away. I still think that there is a way for "black" films to be introduced and distributed in the foreign markets. I will be supporting "Red Tails" on opening weekend. Appreciate. :)

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  • Demetria Outlaw durham nc

    Mr Perry you have truley inspired me with your story. im so glad we still have some good working strong black men in this world, you keep on doing what you do and may god bless you.

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  • Kevin Mc Kenney Baltimore Maryland 21206

    I will take my Wife of 15 years and my 4 Sons to view this film. Being a Veteran myself , these Brave Men made it possible to serve Our Country with Honor. Respectfully the Parenets of the music Group Mac Four.

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  • Tracy Niles, MI

    My family which includes 4 sons will support this movie because it is a important part of American history, however I disagree that this is not racism. Mr. Lucas decided to make a movie with an all black cast about an important episode that happened in our country. When he went to the big wigs in Hollywood, even being who he is with all of his accomplishments they were not willing to fund it because it was a black movie with black cast. Not to mention that the cast members are accomplished actors in their own right. It is racism. We as a people need to understand and use our buying power. These are the same big wigs that commercialize movies, cars, phones and a number of other things to us for our dollars, yet on the other hand refuse to fund a project that builds up, shows our strengths and history. Think about it.

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  • Ken Whitehurst Atlanta, GA

    Dear Mr. Perry. I am from a generation ahead of yours (baby boomer) which experienced first-hand the effects of segregation in America. I grew up in segregated communities, segregated schools, segregated shopping and the list goes on. Conversely, there were limited visible black heroes and black heroines outside of the athletes, ministers, teachers and our parents (both single and two-parent). So we were hungry for all black casts, black actors and actresses in leading roles, etc. Your generation began to experience greater opportunities for integrated schools, freedom to choose neighborhoods that were integrated, integrated restaurants, etc. The generations after you know segregation as a historical concept. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is as historical as Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth (I had this conversation on MLK Jr. Day with a 29 year old). So even for young African-Americans, all black casts, movies, etc., are more historical to them because they are not grounded in their realities. Diverse classmates from kindergarten through graduate schools are real and tangible. So, don't be surprised as the hunger for all black movies regardless of historical significance become less demanded even within our own markets as we move further away from segregated life in America. Hotep.

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  • Andrew Brown Sparta, TN

    Dear Tyler, I feel your pain to know what a shame it is in our society to see that in America where mty Grandfather faught so hard in WWII and to know that such ignorance is still knocking at peoples doors. It absolutley breaks my heart. I have faught so diligently for you race I even was best friends with a girl who was 11 in my hometown and became pregnant the schoolo system shunned her but i did not. I became her best friend I even skipped school to go to her house and spend time with her and her Mom. I their learned so much about the black culture. I loved those times and I cherish the memories I had back then. I am proud to say she is doing well and her son is 20 years old. It is a very unfair world my mom taught me that growing up. I had a great love for God and that is what still to this day gets me through the tough times I never stray from my Faith in the Lord. For it said all things all possible through Christ Jesus our Lord for those who believe in Him. Forgive me I am paraphrasing but I know I am not alone when I stand form in this belief. May God Blees You as you continue to bless us and entertain us w** your brilliant work. You saved my life Tyler when you appeared on Oprah. And I thank you for that I must end this. I apoliize if this was to long. Your friend. Sincerely, Andrew

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  • LAKESHIA DAY United States

    I would like to what happened to the show on fridays for better or worst that was a good show so far when is it coming back on

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  • Camille.B Dallas,Tx.

    Awesome I will be taking my 8yr.old Prince on Friday. MAY God continue to bless u both.

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  • Mechelle New Castle, DE

    Already on my list as the first thing to do for my birthday! Can't wait to see it. Thank you, Tyler, for all that you do.

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  • Joyce A. Toronto, ON. Canada.

    Hey Tyler, I'm glad you said its not about racism; its about the money plain and simple. Hollywood would go where the money is. Does this mean that you feel differently about your initial experience in Hollywood? Do you now view comments like 'black people who go to church don't go to the movies' differently? Please share your insight.

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  • Bimbo Salami Nigeria

    Tyler, I come from the part of the world that hunger for all black cast stuff, the problem we have is that of scarcity and cost because of exchange rate. The world is now a small village, in our own country with a population of over 160 million, the market is unbelievable. I got addicted to soaps starting with "good times" Jeffersons different world etc in the 70s and films like new j*** city, trespass, boys in the hood and a whole lot of it. Tyler I have seen your whole work and treasure it, once I lend it out, it takes months to get it back because it goes a long way. Right now I pray a syndicate will bring "for better for worse" this way. There is a vast opportunity and both end wins. The thirst is unbelievable. There are African-America who comes yearly and can testify to these opportunities Expand your territories and business, send your creatives this way. Thank you Bimbo

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  • Empress Marcia ATL,

    Blessings Tyler, First let us Thank you for your stella contribution to the African American film industry, and for giving us one of the best pain medicine (laughter) . I was 10 yr old when I came to this country in 1970, then, only a hand full of black people were shown in certain movie and on television. For example, guess who's coming to dinner with Mr Sydney Pottier and Good times, and the Jeffersons. LOL back then we only had one channel. Since then, til now, We can count on two and and two feet and beyond the amount of movie we have seen with African American as well as a all blacks cast. We are joining you in sharing and encouraging our friends and family to go and support RED TAILS. Our stories need to be told and shown to our children and their children, so that they can know the strong African Backs in which they stand. Tyler you were born for a specific purpose, to tell our stories through the eyes of many who came before and after you and those who raised you, We humble our selves to you. may Jah continue to bless you and your family.

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