Editor’s note: Spoilers for ‘Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming’ below:
As audiences continue to check out Tyler Perry’s latest film, the movie’s stars, particularly the relative newcomers, are basking in its success. One of these stars is Isha Blaaker, who plays Davi in the film.
In the film, Tim (Brandon Black) is the great-grandson of Madea and the family is gathering to celebrate his college graduation. He is the valedictorian of his class and is planning on coming out to Madea and the rest of the family during the celebratory weekend. His best friend, Davi comes along for the ride and there are some secrets that are revealed that changes the dynamic of their relationship, which is one that they both lean on.
On being a part of a Tyler Perry film, he told S&A, “I didn’t grow up with these movies and I am a Black man from Europe and coming here, I got just re-immersed into Black American culture. I learned a lot and it was a very beautiful experience. I was born in Suriname in South America. It’s just above Brazil and right next to Venezuela and it’s a country without systemic racism. So I moved to Europe when I was a year and a half and I grew up with that Surinamese culture.”
Both Black and Blaaker were cognizant of the fact that this movie was the opportunity to present a platonic, loving relationship between a straight male character and a gay one.
“My mom always taught me not to judge people,” he said of the importance of this storyline. “Just coming into this, into America, and this world and seeing this culture in this way…that was a very interesting thing. Brandon and I, we stayed friends afterward as well and we did everything together and [this was both] our first feature film as well. Then what was interesting for me is that going back home, being with my family, I’m used to that, but then street culture was very different. I learned a lot and I actually noticed how homophobic people can be. As a straight man, you don’t always realize it because it’s not necessarily your battle, but then coming off a movie like this and then thinking about all my other gay friends, I started opening my mouth a lot more. Even living in Harlem, you see a lot of gay men who have to hide it and I think that’s sad. I wish that would change. I’m very thankful that I get to be a part of a project that supports that.”
He also talked about being able to work with classic Tyler Perry character actors who appear in nearly all of his films.
“I mean, you very quickly understand that you have a job to do,” he continued. “These people have been doing it for years, they’ve done the plays and you understand. I have to tell this story so they can crack all their jokes around it [laughs]. That’s what the movie’s about. They’re going to make jokes about you, around you, through you, and you have to keep that through-line, you know?”
A Madea Homecoming is streaming now on Netflix.
Watch the full interview with Blaaker and Black below: