Despite its centering of Black women, a key criticism of Tyler Perry’s new show Sistas is that there are no women in the writers’ room, per Perry’s revealing that he is the sole writer for all of his shows that are currently on the air.
Premiering in October, the BET shows stars KJ Smith, Ebony Obsidian, Mignon Baker and Novi Brown as a quartet of single Black women navigating the ups and downs of friendships and romantic relationships.
In an interview with Deadline’s New Hollywood Podcast, Lil Rel Howery said that while he loves Tyler Perry, he should’ve used Sistas as an opportunity to have Black women in the writers’ room.
“I love Tyler Perry and I’m proud of him, but I told myself I’m a say something because I don’t agree with that. I don’t understand,” he said, noting, “You can’t write a show called Sistas and you’re not a sista. So you don’t want no suggestions or nothing?”
Despite the criticism, the stars of Sistas came to Perry’s defense in an interview with Essence.
— ESSENCE (@Essence) February 25, 2020
“We have a director, producer, executive producer, creator who loves women,” Sistas star Baker said to Essence. “If you’ve ever taken the time to watch his interviews, he will tell you that his number one inspiration is his mother.”
Baker also revealed her belief that “there is a culture of hateration” and being critical.
“There’s a culture of being critical. And I think there’s a reason for that. And it’s because so many of us aren’t following our dreams,” she continued. “And it’s so easy to not be in the ring and to stand on the sidelines and critique.”
Fellow co-star Ebony Obsidian co-signed on Baker’s viewpoint.
“I think it’s really important to remember that Tyler Perry puts Black women at the forefront in so many ways. Sistas comes from women in his life,” she said. “He may have sat there and written a script but it’s coming from Black women. So Black women’s fingerprints are all over this script.”
In January, Perry ignited a firestorm of conversation on social media when he revealed that he is the sole writer on all his shows currently on the air.
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