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Tyler Perry: Kim Kardashian Is A Role Model

First Posted: 11/17/11 12:28 PM ET Updated: 11/17/11 12:38 PM ET

Tyler Perry Kim Kardashian

Since Kim Kardashian announced late last month that she has joined the cast of Tyler Perry's next film, "The Marriage Counselor," critics and fans have sounded off on the filmmaker's decision to select the reality star in a role alongside Brandy, Lance Gross and Vanessa Williams.

On Wednesday evening the multifaceted media mogul responded to everyone who threatened to boycott his film in an open letter posted on his site. Perry dismissed reports that Kardashian is not in a lead role and how she's a role model for today's youth.

"She literally has millions of young people following her. I thought and still do think, that it would be very responsible of her to be a part of this film," he wrote. "To have the young people that look up to her, see her in a film that is about, what happens in life when you make the wrong choices. Whether you're aware of it or not, to be honest with you I wasn't, millions of young people adore her and are following her every move."

"If one of those young people see this film and find the strength to live a better life and not go through what these characters went through in this movie, then we have all done what I feel I'm being led to do here. I hope you understand. I really do!"

Read Tyler Perry's personal message in its entirety below.

Kim Kardashian in the Marriage Counselor

I think many of you know that this is a very difficult time of year for me, so what I try to do is make sure that I'm working during this time. All I wanted to do was shoot a great film and try to keep my mind off the holiday grief that I have been experiencing for the past two years. I could not have imagined I'd be getting all these emails about Kim Kardashian. I HAVE SEEN THEM!! YOU HAVE BEEN HEARD!!...LOL. Now, may I say something? Can a brother get a word in?...LOL. Y'all gave me a new movie title, Tyler Perry's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman Cause You Hired Kim Kardashian, Don't Make Me Take Off My Earrings and Boycott Yo A**."...LOL. Some of my ladies are upset. Ok, all jokes aside, can I have my say? Will you at least here me out?

I was in a Mexican restaurant and the cutest little old woman stopped me and said, "I want to talk to you about KAR-DAT- CHA-NEM." I said, "Ma'am?" She said, "What is wrong with you putting her in the lead role of your movie?" By the time I explained to her that she was not in the lead role and why I thought she should be in "The Marriage Counselor", she said, "Oh, I see your point and I can't wait to see the movie." So, if you don't mind, I'd like to share with you what I said to her then maybe you'll see why I wanted her in the film.

This movie is about a young lady named Judith (Jurnee Smolett), who grew up in the countryside of Virginia in a trailer park. She was raised in the church by her mother Sarah (Ella Joyce). Judith married her childhood sweetheart Brice (Lance Gross) and had the perfect life until she graduated college and went to work in the big city. After college, all she wanted to do was be a marriage counselor, but the only job she could find was working for a matchmaker named Janice (Vanessa Williams). Janice has several employees that work for her, including a woman named Ava (Kim Kardashian). Ava is constantly trying to influence Judith on everything from her shoes to her hair. Judith meets a man at work named Harley (Robbie Jones). Harley challenges everything in her life from her marriage to her husband to her faith. Meanwhile, Brice (Lance Gross), Judith's husband works at a pharmacy owned by Mrs. Waco (Renee Taylor). Brice has just hired a coworker named Melinda (Brandy), who has some major demons that she is running from. In the end, the choices that both of these young women have made come crashing down on them and their lives will never be the same. I wish I could tell you more, but I don't want to ruin it for you.

After I finished writing this movie, I sat back and re-read it. Half way through my read, the gravity of what I had written hit me. I knew that this message was not only for my age group, but for all audiences, especially the youth. ESPECIALLY THE YOUTH!! YOUNG FOLKS NEED TO SEE THIS!!! And not just the young people that follow me, but the young people that are following other young people, as well. I wanted a younger cast, that's why I put Jurnee in the lead and invited Lance Gross, Robbie Jones and Brandy. About two months ago, long before I even heard about Kim's marriage or divorce, I was trying to finish up the casting. I said to one of my producers, "who else is out there that young people are looking up to?" One of my producers showed me pictures that his daughter had taken of several hundred kids lined up around the corner to get into a Kardashian store. They wanted to meet Kim. I thought, what better person! She literally has millions of young people following her. I thought and still do think, that it would be very responsible of her to be a part of this film. To have the young people that look up to her, see her in a film that is about, what happens in life when you make the wrong choices. Whether you're aware of it or not, to be honest with you I wasn't, millions of young people adore her and are following her every move. If one of those young people see this film and find the strength to live a better life and not go through what these characters went through in this movie, then we have all done what I feel I'm being led to do here. I hope you understand. I really do!

And lastly, because I believe that my films speak from the inside out, why wouldn't Kim Kardashian be invited into a film about Faith, Forgiveness and the healing power of God? What is wrong with that??

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PHOTOS: Black Filmmakers Through The Years
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  • Spike Lee

    Besides Woody Allen, no other filmmaker has had more films on the big screen in the last 20 years than Lee. From "She's Gotta Have It" to "Jungle Fever" to the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated "Do The Right Thing," Lee's production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since 1983. In 2008, the Atlanta native released his latest film, "Miracle at St. Anna," a story about blacks fighting in WWII.

  • John Singleton

    A native of Los Angeles, this USC film school graduate blazed onto the Hollywood scene in 1991 with his debut film "Boyz N the Hood," which starred Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube and Nia Long. At age 23, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay and was the youngest person ever nominated for best director, the only African American to be nominated for the award. Since then, he has directed many films, from "Poetic Justice" and "Higher Learning" to blockbusters such as "2 Fast 2 Furious" and "Four Brothers." Future projects include "Tulia" and the long-awaited "Luke Cage."

  • Lee Daniels

    Beginning his career in entertainment as a casting director and manager, the Philadelphia native worked on projects such as Prince's "Under the Cherry Moon" and "Purple Rain," before hitting the jackpot with his production of "Monster's Ball" in 2001. That film garnered Halle Berry a Best Actress Oscar, making her the first African-American woman to do so. In 2006, Daniels made his directorial debut with "Shadowboxer, which starred Oscar-winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren. His latest directing gig, "Precious," was amongst the best of the 2010 awards season.

  • Tyler Perry

    Filmmaker Tyler Perry has had an indelible impact on the film business this decade. Bringing his theatrical character Madea Simmons to the big screen has proven very successful at the box office. From "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" to "Madea's Family Reunion" and "Why Did I Get Married?," which featured the return of Janet Jackson to the big screen, Perry's films have grossed close to $500 million in five years.

  • Tracey Edmonds

    A trailblazer in the industry, the California native has nearly 20 years in the business as an award-winning producer and studio executive in television, music and film. Shortly after graduating from Stanford University with a degree in psychobiology, Edmonds made her formal entry into the entertainment business in 1993 with the creation of Edmonds Entertainment Group, a partnership with her then-husband, music producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Edmonds Entertainment produced the critically acclaimed film "Soul Food," which earned five NAACP Image Awards and inspired the TV series of the same name. Other movie projects helmed by Edmonds: "Light It Up," "Josie & The Pussycats" and "Who's Your Caddy."

  • George Tillman Jr.

    Notable for directing the films "Soul Food" (1997) and "Men of Honor" (2000), Tillman has produced several movies and TV series, including "Soul Food: The Series" for Showtime Network and the three films of the "Barbershop" franchise. Most recently, the Milwaukee native directed the 2009 biopic "Notorious" about New York rapper Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace.

  • Robert Townsend

    Primarily known as a comedian, this Chicago native established himself when he wrote, directed, produced and starred in the comedy "Hollywood Shuffle," his 1987 film about struggling black actors. He also created and produced the CableACE award-winning "Robert Townsend and His Partners in Crime" for HBO. His best film to date is the 1991 musical "The Five Heartbeats." Townsend directed the documentary "Why We Laugh," a story on black comedians and their impact in America.

  • Will Packer

    Rainforest Films co-founder and chairman Will Packer has been heralded as one of the "10 Producers To Watch" over the years and is notable for producing the urban drama "Trois. The film went on to gross $1.2 million at the box office, making it the fastest million-dollar grossing film distributed by African Americans. Packer's hit movies include "Stomp The Yard," starring Chris Brown; "Obsessed," starring Beyonce Knowles; and "Takers," starring Idris Elba, Paul Walker and T.I.

  • Angela Robinson

    A graduate of Brown and New York universities, this San Francisco filmmaker made her film debut with the 2003 award-winning short film "D.E.B.S.," the story of a teenage lesbian relationship. The film was subsequently green-lighted to full-length feature and released in 2005, along with her second film, "Herbie Fully Loaded," which starred Lindsay Lohan. Robinson became the first female director to have two films out in the same year.

  • Antoine Fuqua

    After directing music videos for many artists, including Prince and Toni Braxton, the Pittsburgh native stepped up his game and directed feature films before getting his big break with "The Replacement Killers" in 1998. Three years later, his biggest film to date, "Training Day," garnered star Denzel Washington a Best Actor Oscar. Fuqua's latest film, "Brooklyn's Finest," starred Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle.

  • Bill Duke

    Known for his imposing figure and turns in action films such as 1987's "Predator," the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native began directing feature-length films in the 1990s with the crime dramas "A Rage in Harlem," "Deep Cover" and "Hoodlum." In 2007, Duke directed "Cover," with Vivica A. Fox, and "Not Easily Broken," based on a T.D. Jakes novel.

  • Ernest R. Dickerson

    After a start as a music video cinematographer, the Newark, N.J., native went on to make his feature film debut in 1983 on Spike Lee's first film "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads." An alum of both Howard University and New York University, Dickerson collaborated with Lee on such films as "She's Gotta Have It" and "Malcolm X." Dickerson's directorial debut came with the 1992 film "Juice," starring Omar Epps and the late Tupac Shakur. His impressive resume also includes work on such TV shows as "The Wire," "Heroes" and "Dexter."

  • Gina Prince-Bythewood

    Prince-Bythewood started her career as a writer for "A Different World" and "Felicity," and has since directed two urban romantic films, "Love and Basketball" and "Disappearing Acts." She won an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on "Basketball." Married to writer/director Reggie Rock Bythewood, Gina recently directed "The Secret Life of Bees," which stars Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, and is nominated for several NAACP Image Awards, including best picture.

  • Franklin Leonard

    Former consultant-turned-studio development exec and screenwriter, Franklin Leonard is responsible for the creation of "The Black List." In 2005 the Columbus, Ohio, native embarked on the annual ranking of outstanding unproduced screenplays during his tenure at Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way. By leveraging over 300 film insiders between London, New York and Hollywood, Leonard has tapped into a niche system of overlooked scripts and writers.

  • Forest Whitaker

    An Academy Award winner for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film "The Last King of Scotland," the Longview, Texas, native has directed many films, including the fan favorite "Waiting to Exhale," based on the Terry McMillan novel of the same name. Other directorial films from Whitaker include "Hope Floats" and "First Daughter."

  • F. Gary Gray

    Having directed more than 30 music videos for artists such as Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, TLC, Dr. Dre and Mary J. Blige, and winning several awards in the process, the New York native moved into the film world with cult favorite "Friday," starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. He followed that film with another fan favorite, "Set It Off," with Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Jada Pinkett Smith, before moving on to big-budget films such as "The Negotiator," "The Italian Job" and "Be Cool." His next feature is slated to be "Marvin: The Life Story of Marvin Gaye."

  • Malcolm D. Lee

    Lee made his debut in 1999 with the critically acclaimed "The Best Man," starring Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Terrence Howard and Morris Chestnut. The film topped the box office, and Lee has subsequently gone on to direct films such as "Undercover Brother" and "Roll Bounce." His film "Soul Men" starred Samuel L. Jackson and featured the last performances of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes, who died before its release.

  • Kasi Lemmons

    An actor for most of her career, the St. Louis native made her directorial debut in 1997 with the critically acclaimed "Eve's Bayou," which starred Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Whitfield. Married to actor and director Vondie Curtis-Hall, Lemmons has also directed "The Caveman's Valentine" and "Talk to Me," which starred Don Cheadle in the story of Washington, D.C., radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene.

  • Julie Dash

    In 1991, this Queens, New York, native gave us the film "Daughters of the Dust," which tells the story of three generations of Gullah women at the turn of the 20th century. It was the first full-length film with general theatrical release in the United States by an African-American woman. In 2004, the film was included in the National Film Registry.

  • James Lassiter

    As long-time friend and business partner of actor Will Smith, the Philadelphia native has decades of collaboration with his famous friend under his belt. The two formed the production company Overbrook Entertainment in the late 1990s, a moniker inspired by Smith's high school in West Philadelphia. As a film producer, Lassiter has been behind such films as "ATL," "I Am Legend" and "The Secret Life of Bees."

  • Albert and Allen Hughes

    These twin brothers put their stamp on Hollywood with 1993's "Menace II Society," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews and became a cult classic with urban audiences. The Hughes Brothers went on to direct other films such as "Dead Presidents" and "From Hell" with Johnny Depp. Out of the spotlight for some years, the Detroit natives returned to the big screen with "The Book of Eli," starring Denzel Washington, in 2010.

  • Reginald Hudlin

    Along with his brother, Warrington, the Centreville, Illinois, native were at the crest of a new wave of filmmakers who followed Spike Lee with their urban comedy "House Party" in 1990. That film starred rap duo Kid 'n Play and Martin Lawrence. "Boomerang," starring Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry, followed, and Hudlin was afterwards hired as president of entertainment for BET in 2005. No longer with BET, Hudlin wrote the Marvel Comics series "Black Panther."

  • Patrik-Ian Polk

    A jack-of-all-trades in the film business (director, producer, screenwriter, singer and actor), the Hattiesburg, Miss., native has sought to explore the lesbian and gay experience in films. He made his feature film directorial debut in 2000 with "Punks," which traveled the festival circuit before hitting theaters in 2001. In 2005, Polk served as the creator of the gay TV series "Noah's Arc." After its cancellation, he made a feature film based on the show called "Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom," which played to limited release.

  • Ossie Davis

    A pioneer in the film business and a legend in the African-American community, Davis was an actor, director, poet, playwright, writer and social activist whose career spanned nearly five decades. Davis directed numerous films during the blaxploitation era, including 1970's "Cotton Comes to Harlem" and 1973's "Gordon's War." Along with wife Ruby Dee, the Georgia native starred in many movies, including several of Spike Lee's films, such as "Do The Right Thing," "Jungle Fever" and "She Hate Me."

  • Oscar Micheaux

    This Metropolis, Ill., native revolutionized the film industry when he formed his own movie production company and, in 1919, became the first African American to make a film. He wrote, directed and produced the silent motion picture "The Homesteader" and then introduced the film world to Paul Robeson in "Body and Soul." In 1986, the Directors Guild of America honored Micheaux with a Golden Jubilee Special Award, and today the Oscar Micheaux Award is presented each year by the Producers Guild.

  • Melvin Van Peebles

    This Chicago actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist and composer is most famously known for his contribution to the blaxploitation era with the independently financed and critically acclaimed film "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." The 1971 film was written, produced, scored, directed by and starred Van Peebles, and it tells the story of a deprived African-American man on his escape from the white authorities. The father of actor/director Mario, Melvin completed the film "Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha" in 2008, which played at various film festivals.

  • Maurice Jamal

    A former assistant director on Comedy Central's seminal sketch comedy series "Chappelle's Show," this Madison, Wisc., native took Hollywood by storm with stories of the black gay experience. His first foray was the ambitious effort "Ski Trip," which was shot in 10 days for $10,000 and featured a cast of newcomers. Jamal hit his stride with 2007's "Dirty Laundry," starring Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine and Jenifer Lewis, winning rave reviews and garnering numerous festival awards and distribution by Fox Searchlight.

  • Matty Rich

    This Brooklyn-born filmmaker broke through the ranks of Hollywood with the 1991 independent film "Straight Out of Brooklyn," which he financed through credit cards and donations. The film grossed a little over $2 million from a budget of $450,000, and the 19-year-old quickly won fame and awards, including an Independent Spirit Award. In 1994, his second feature, "The Inkwell," was distributed by Touchstone Pictures, a division of Walt Disney. The film was a box office disappointment, and Rich hasn't returned to the spotlight since.

  • Darnell Martin

    This Bronx native worked her way up the ladder, from short films to work as an assistant camera operator for Jonathan Demme's documentary "Cousin Bobby." Producer Stephanie Allain gave her the green light to direct her debut film, "I Like It Like That," in 1994, making Martin the first African-American woman to direct and produce a major studio movie. In 2008, Martin wrote and directed the musical drama "Cadillac Records," which features Jeffrey Wright, Beyonce Knowles and Mos Def.

  • Troy Beyer

    Known for her role as Jacqueline "Jackie" Deveraux, the daughter of Diahann Carroll's character Dominique Deveraux on the ABC prime-time soap opera "Dynasty," this New York filmmaker started to work behind the scenes, making her screenwriting debut in 1997 with "B*A*P*S*," which starred Halle Berry. She followed up with a screenwriting project, "Let's Talk About Sex," before writing and directing the Nick Cannon/Christina Milian film "Love Don't Cost a Thing," a remake of "Can't Buy Me Love."

Filed by Brennan Williams  |