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The Power of the African-American Purse

The opening of a Tyler Perry movie, is an opportunity to reflect on the power of the African-American purse. Tyler is the first one to admit (and express his appreciation) that his success is due to his faithful supporters who bought tickets to his plays, bought videos of his plays on VHS and DVD, and attend his movies in droves. He is also the first to point out that because of their support, he has been able to provide opportunities for African-American actors to practice their craft, employ over 300 people on a regular basis, help a church recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and build new homes for hurricane victims. This is not a phenomenon, it is the blessing of God.

While enjoying and celebrating Tylerís success, I hope we do not overlook the fact that God used African-Americans who are not rich and famous to elevate Tyler to such a place of blessing. This is the power of the African-American purse. Tyler is changing the face of entertainment in terms of who is allowed to perform and display their acting skills. His success has been achieved in spite of (and probably to the derision of) movie and entertainment critics who may think their reviews can make or break an artist. Not so with God. Through Tyler, God has demonstrated that the opinions of movie and entertainment critics are of no consequence when He is in control.

Tylerís success should remind us African-Americans that where and how we spend our money makes a huge difference in America. The same hands that picked cotton (and/or the descendants of those who picked cotton) can change the entertainment industry or any other industry. During the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, victories were won using the power of the boycott. May we African-Americans continue to allow God to use us to change life for the better by being mindful of where and how we spend our money.

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