Editor’s note: Spoilers for ‘Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming’ below:
Madea isn’t out of commission just yet! She’s back on Netflix for Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming.
The film features the Madea franchise’s very first openly gay character in Tim, played by Brandon Black. This is Black’s first major film, and he comes to the franchise after playing Kordell, a supporting character through all seasons of Netflix’s Dear White People.
This is a major moment in the Madea films, and it’s something that Black wishes he saw when he was younger.
"It's always exciting when you can use parts of your life to help ground the character," said Black in a recent interview with Shadow and Act.
“It’s a bit of catharsis to be able to use some of your life experience in the work, and this was definitely that. This was me having to come out to my family. I’ve had that happen. So it’s an exciting to do something that you feel like other people will get something out of. I know I wish I saw more stuff like this when I was younger and I was trying to figure out my sexuality. As an artist, it’s one of these things where you just hope people watch it, and with this, I’m stepping into a franchise that I know people are going to watch. It’s cool to know that you’ve got a built-in audience, and [this] audience is one that I think definitely needs to see a gay character in this light.”
In the film, Tim 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.
He explained, "That's something that me Isha talked about when we were working on the scenes...that kind of codependent relationship between the two of them, and then having that kind of be severed because now, it's like you're dating my mom [laughs]."
Yes, Davi has been dating Tim’s mother, played by Gabrielle Dennis in the film. “And it’s just this big shock,” he continues. “But I think that what we see by the end is, of course, they make whatever amends that they can. I still feel like Tim got some residual side eye…I tried to trickle that in there for everybody to see [laughs]. It’s not over, it’s just all right. But the relationship between the two of them is something that is important because Tim needs Davi as support, because Davi knows that Tim’s going to come out.”
Black was also cognizant of the fact that not only would he be the first openly gay character in a Madea movie, but this was the opportunity to present a platonic, loving relationship between a straight male character and a gay one.
“That wasn’t lost on me at all, because as a gay person, anytime a straight, male friend does more than just tolerate my existence, if they actually ask me questions like, ‘Oh, so how is he, how is that guy you’re dating?’…because a lot of times they try to swerve, and they be on this like, ‘Oh, well as long as you ain’t into me.’…and it’s like, nobody worried about you [laughs]. So of course, anytime that a straight friend of yours, and then a person of color on top of that, is receptive and is there for you in that way, it’s always meaningful. And this stuff mirrored real life because also Isha and myself did become friends while we were working on this movie. And we did talk about personal love life things, he never flinched or got weird, so anytime that happens, it means something to me.”
Ultimately, he hopes that this film allows families to show love to their queer children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and other family members.
“Tim’s family accepted him without a blink of an eye, and they’re all different people from different times,” he said. “We’ve got a few different generations that I was talking to at one time. And to see, even his dad who was problematic for other reasons, but he still was there for his kid. I think that especially [important] the male figures in our families accept their kids however they are– shout out to Dwayne Wade. I think that if we can see more of that and know that is a viable option that exists– it does exist that people love their kids no matter what they are. And Madea, being however old she is with a shotgun under her seat and all this stuff like that, to not even question it, I hope that more people do just like that.”
'Tyler Perry's A Madea Homecoming' is now streaming on Netflix.
Watch the full interview with Black and Isha Blaaker, who plays Davi, below. Stay tuned for chats with Blaaker and Perry later.