I have been critical of Tyler Perry before on this very blog so you should not be surprised that I have something to say about his recent casting of Kim Kardashian in his new movie the Marriage Counselor. A news commentator who is not a fan of Perry said Perry is a below average writer, director, etc but the one thing he does exceptionally well is marketing. Perry will have every 30+ black woman in America marching to the theaters on opening weekend to pay their ten dollars to watch his latest assembly line produced film. He has a built in audience that just needs to see his name affiliated with a movie to head to the theater. Casting Kim Kardashian may be one of the first marketing failures of Tyler Perry’s career.
Here are the problems I see with casting Kim in the movie. Lets start with the fact that she cannot act. I admit that I watch the Kardashians shows. In fact I wasted four hours of my life watching the mess that was her wedding special. Kim couldn’t even “act” like she really liked the guy! Casting a non-actress only adds to the critiques of his movies. Some could say he is clearly not about making a good product or else who would have found another person preferably a real actress to play this role. It is a movie, a persons ability to act should be paramount. I will not go as far as others and say that he should have hired a black woman actress for the role, he may have been looking for a little diversity. May I suggest another young white actress and not a reality star? They do exist.
Well then I thought you know Tyler Perry is about marketing as I said before that is really what he was good at! Casting Kim was a marketing ploy. But wait, Tyler Perry your market is older black women who absolutely loathe Kim Kardashian. Kim generally only dates black men, including top athletes such as Reggie Bush. African American women do not take well to women of different races “taking” their men particularly successful African American men. Kim has also been known for large behind. Black women are known for having larger butts and I know that many were not fans of Kim receiving so much attention for hers as if black women have not possessed the same feature for centuries. Then as with most Americans, black women are still confused about why she and the rest of her family are famous. All this adds up to a strong dislike for Kim Kardashian. We have all heard the phrase do not bite the hand that feeds you. With one casting decision Perry did just that. Making a casting decision that isolates Middle-aged black women is insane. For example Denzel Washington refused to have a love scene with a white woman because he knew the core group of his fans were African American women and they would not take well to that scene. Those in Hollywood work hard not to disconnect from their audience but Perry seemed to take them for granted. I understand wanting to expand your audience but don’t step on those who have been there from the beginning to do so. It may be too soon to say this but this could feasibly be the downfall of his built in audience.
Perry’s core audience have been very vocal about their dislike for Kim Kardashian’s casting so much so that Tyler Perry had to respond. I read his response letter and well it only made me mad. He starts off with what I perceive as a stereotypical dig at Black women, his core audience, but I’ll leave that alone. He emphasizes that young people need to see this movie. I cannot imagine what life-changing thing Perry is putting in his movie that young people need to see but I digress. He adds that in order to pull young people he added Kim Kardashian because young people follow her by the millions. Sighs… Mr. Perry young people follow a lot of people like Lil Wayne but that does not make it right! This letter essentially puts a rubber stamp on Kim as a role model! You are telling young Americans, presumably African Americans hey I know you look up to the woman with the sex tape, large behind, 10 pounds of makeup, extensively worked on face, and 72 day marriage so I am going to put her in an inspiring movie for you to see. This makes NO sense!!! Why is anyone encouraging people to look up to Kim Kardashian? That is what is happening here and I cannot agree with it. If my little sister told me she wanted to be just like Kim Kardashian when she grew up I would give her a MAJOR side-eye! So what young people follow her in droves? Put a real role model in your film, someone they really should look up to if that is your goal.
I look forward to see how this casting decision plays out. I do not think Perry will back away from the decision and with contracts already signed Kim Kardashian will be in this movie without a doubt. I have to add that this is really beginning to feel more and more like Tyler Perry’s top priority is to make money and not produce a good Christian product for black audiences as he has claimed. His decision here though may result in him making less.