Film

Madea actor Brandon Black wants first gay character in Tyler Perry series to teach a vital lesson

Nola Ojomu February 26, 2022
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Brandon Black in A Madea Homecoming (Netflix)

Brandon Black in A Madea Homecoming (Netflix)

Actor Brandon Black is making history by playing the first gay character in Tyler Perry’s popular Madea film franchise.

After 11 films starring his on-screen comedic drag persona Mable “Madea” Simmons, Tyler Perry has arrived on Netflix with his latest instalment, A Madea Homecoming.

Among the newcomers to the cast is Brandon Black, who plays Madea’s gay great-grandson, Tim, in his feature film debut.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Black explained how after booking the job, he realised what a big deal it truly was.

“It was still a big deal for me because it was my first [movie],” he said. “And when I found out I was the first gay character in a Madea movie, I thought: ‘Well, I think I’m qualified for the job.'”

 

Brandon Black continued: “I think I’ve done the research. I was really happy to get it. For me, it was already a big deal to say yes to it, and then to realise that it was the first of all his movies meant that it was going to get a more special spotlight than I anticipated.”

Madea’s first gay character ‘is sure of himself’

The Dear White People star said he found it “really exciting that this movie, with this many eyes on it, is going to have a gay, Black character who is sure of himself”.

He added: “He’s still a little wary about his family, but this is someone who’s not on the down-low, sneaking around. This person knows who they are. It’s just the last reveal to their family.”

Musing on how Madea fans will relate to his character, Black added: “Tim is the eye of a storm of crazy-ass family members, so I hope, straight or gay, you see yourself in Tim. I hope that straight people see that this is just another dude or whatever, and for gay people, I hope that they see that owning yourself can pay off.”

It’s something Black can relate to. He said it took him “so long” to come out to his family, because he wanted to be certain that what he was feeling wasn’t “a phase”.

“I wanted to be so solid with knowing what I was doing so that way I could take their questions and know what I needed to say back and be sure,” he explained. “And that’s where Tim is at.”

He continued: “Tim knows himself and it’s now time to bring that information to his family. I want people to know that when you’re at that place, you gotta just feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Brandon Black and Tyler Perry in A Madea Homecoming
Brandon Black and Tyler Perry in A Madea Homecoming (Netflix)

The film features veterans of the Madea franchise, including Tamela Mann (Cora), Cassi Davis Patton (Aunt Bam) and David Mann (Mr Brown) as well as a guest appearance from Irish actor Brendan O’Carroll as Agnes Brown.

The movie follows the family as they gather to celebrate the college graduation of Madea’s well-moisturised, valedictorian great-grandson – who is anxious to come out to his family.

In another chat with PopCulture.com, Brandon Black reiterated his hopes that A Madea Homecoming will empower gay viewers struggling with their own identity.

He said: “The whole thing that we have in the Black community about, ‘They try to emasculate our men’ or whatever. Tim is standing up to his entire family to say something that’s difficult for him to say and is going to go be literally the next Barack Obama.

“I want people to take from this movie that being gay is not less than, it doesn’t make you less of a man. It doesn’t, none of that. And that’s something that I keep hearing in our community a lot and it makes it difficult for people to come out because they don’t feel like they’re going to get the same support.”

He continued: “So seeing that everybody in this family supports Tim and gives Tim all their love, I think with this audience being very, very Black, right? We’ve got a huge Black audience and now we have the whole world with it being on Netflix.

“I think that this is the right time to add in that element and help push people’s imagination of what the Black man is. Because I think straight or not, this idea of what a Black man has to be is crippling to all of us, straight, gay, anything, you need to be yourself. And that’s what a Black man is. He is someone standing up in themselves, not having to fit a vibe, a narrative.”

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming is available to stream now on Netflix.

More: madea, netflix, Tyler Perry

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