Yesha Callahan

Tika Sumpter Defends Tyler Perry: ‘You have the right to turn the channel’


In a recent interview with The Grio, actress Tika Sumpter, from The Haves and the Have Nots applauded Tyler Perry for being groundbreaking and enlightened.

Although there was a petition to remove her show from the OWN Network, the show is the top rated program on the network.

“You have the right to turn the channel,” she explains. “There are a lot of people who turn the channel on, who have made him this successful, so there is an audience. When we start making judgments on what’s lowbrow to some people, then you’re making accusations that this group of people doesn’t know what’s really good. I don’t think that’s fair…Don’t condemn a bunch of people who actually go to these movies for what they like.”

From The Grio:

After premiering in May, The Haves and the Have Nots has done well ratings-wise, even prompting OWN to extend its show order to 32 episodes.

Reviews, on the other hand, haven’t been spectacular, many calling it a soap-opera-style cop off to legendary TV programs like Dallas or Dynasty.

Sumpter, who got her start on the daytime series One Life to Live, doesn’t classify the show as a soap opera, however she appreciates the noteworthy comparisons. Given they are “iconic” programs with proven longevity, she’ll take it.

Portraying a vixen, the actress also refutes the theory that all Perry’s programs carry some underlying moral high ground.

“What is morality?” She questions. “What’s the barometer? Who’s saying this is moral and this is not? Are you talking to a pastor or are you talking to a teenager? It depends on whom you’re talking to and what is the measure…[Candace] is totally comfortable using her body. The body is a temple to some people, but to her it’s a tool.”

Sumpter also believes that as a black woman in Hollywood, her role in  Have Nots is groundbreaking.

“The thing I love about Candace is she’s really trying – even though she doesn’t go about it the right way– she’s really trying to do it for herself,” Sumpter points out. “She’s not relying on a dude to pull her out of the gutter. She’s using the opportunities she’s getting, definitely, but she’s not leaning on him as a crutch and I love that. She’s standing on her own two feet. Whether she’s fighting dirty, she’s fighting for her life, for her career, she’s standing on her own.”

What do you think about Tika Sumpter’s comments? Are you a fan of the show?

  1. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    Of course she would deny what Tyler Perry does with his creations. Its her bread and butter!

    • July 26, 2013 - Reply

      @Shanese (@NapturallyNesey)

      Right? The man writes her checks. It’s hard to believe she’d lobby any criticisms his way.

    • July 26, 2013 - Reply

      @Shanese (@NapturallyNesey)

      Regardless, she is correct. Just change the channel.

    • July 26, 2013 - Reply

      @Shanese (@NapturallyNesey)

      Seriously. Negroes won’t boycott Florida but there’s plenty of energy to rag on Tyler because it will set us free. Or something.

  2. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    … and we have the right to not put up with his and her bull.

  3. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    … we get it Tika… you need this job.

    • July 27, 2013 - Reply


      There are plenty of independent films, web series, and foreign films that need black actresses. And if there weren’t, so what? Should Stephen Fechit still be on the air, just b/c someone will pay to see it? Just like prostitution is illegal though it is a “victimless crime,” there are certain things we should abhor as African-Americans, whether or not there’s an audience for it. There’s always a market for filth, doesn’t mean we have to let it be peddled. We can change the channel or protest, we do have freedom of speech, after all.

  4. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I do have the right to turn the channel. I exercise that right everyday by not watching OWN.

  5. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    “… then you’re making accusations that this group of people doesn’t know what’s really good. I don’t think that’s fair…” – Tika

    … more like “it is fairly accurate”. It is what it is… if they did know better there would be mass forward movement, not just stagnation and decline, in the community.

    Keep tryin’ to convince yourself that your character is more than what it is… every stereotypical whore tale weaved, for years, by ignorant males rolled up into one mega-black whore only proving that every lie spun by the failing black patriarchy is true. Stupidity.

    Just grab your check, but don’t try to make us buy your choices.

  6. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I agree with the first comment like she would really say something negative about the show. I haven’t watched the show I have seen the previews but for some reason I think she trying to make her character more good than what she is.

  7. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    Groundbreaking? Tyler Perry relies on traditionalistic stereotypes of African-Americans to gain his audience. I applaud Perry for his success, however, I wish his characters would veer away from the well-known misinterpretations of the Black community. “Meet the Browns” and his critically acclaimed character “Madea” explicate the one-dimensional perspectives of his content. Perry’s work would be more commendable and respected if for once, the Black community was portrayed in a more refined manner, rather than in a “Mammy”, shucking-and-jiving across town way. “The Haves & the Have Nots” suggests Black women are hypersexual beings, a myth that has plagued African-American women for centuries-we’ve seen that before. I’m disappointed. Also, Tyler Perry isn’t doing anything as “enlightening” as we all think, other than his messages of God, faith, and family. If there wasn’t a religious message engrained with his one-dimensional characters, I believe the disdain for Tyler Perry films would heavily increase.

    • July 27, 2013 - Reply

      @Brittany Dawson

      Yup…I wonder if she feels the same way about Olivia Pope.

  8. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I love Candance and Tika rocks this roll to the fullest. Real drama like it used to be in the 80s. Drama with a lot of heart and substance. Anyone questioning morality in today’s cheap/scripted non suspense acting roles is living in the closet.

    • July 26, 2013 - Reply

      @The Comment

      I like the show and the acting. Tika is great! Love the woman who plays her mother..all and all..def an 80’s style soap opera throwback..I see nothing wrong with it . Meet the Browns and the other foolish show on the OWN network by TP are far worse in terms of reenforcing stereotypes imo.

      • July 26, 2013 - Reply


        The mother is off the hook. I loved the scene when Candance was going laying on woman’s bed and going through her clothes. She said she didn’t want a house like that….she wanted THAT house! Loved it!

  9. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    She is correct. I have the right to turn the channel. And I did.

  10. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I think Tika is GORGEOUS and I’m glad she’s employed. As others have already mentioned, she’s not about to bite the hand that feeds her. DUH! LOL!!!

    I haven’t watched the show and have no desire to. Soap operas of ANY kind (day or night) have never appealed to me. But I’m glad the show has found an audience because from what I understand the cast of characters is varied so there’s more of a “balance” instead of ALL of them playing to the same stereotypes.

    I wonder if Oprah has reached out to other black directors/producers/filmmakers. Or if they have reached out to her. I would LOVE to have other black voices along side Perry’s on her network. Then we can have real choices, and more opportunities to support OWN.

  11. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I like this show but I’m a fan of soap operas. I’m glad to see black actors getting work and I hope this show leads to more roles in the future.

  12. July 26, 2013 - Reply

    I like this show. I TRIED to watch Love thy Neighbor but I just couldn’t get with it. I like Tika Sumpter, but I love to watch the guy who plays her brother.

  13. July 27, 2013 - Reply

    I honestly really like this show, I watch it online. The paranoid maid really trip me out, but there are really people like that out there. It is a very solid show, not as glitzy as Dynasty or Dallas, and the acting is not comparable either, but it is filling a need for a primetime soap opera.

    • July 27, 2013 - Reply


      how do you watch it online? I’ve been looking for it.

  14. July 27, 2013 - Reply

    im a huge fan of this show and i’m happy for tika. why were they trying to get rid of the show? on what grounds?

  15. July 28, 2013 - Reply

    Well so much for black folks want to see themselves in a more positive light in the media.
    This just proves that black folks actually want to see themselves as trashy vixens, whores, sluts, big booty queens, thugs and empty minded black men. And this fact is borne out in the fact that the most popular kinds of novels in black bookstores over the last 20 years have been novels by Zane. Oprah was able to be very high brow when she had a hour long broadcast daily but with a whole network she had to bow to the reality of economics. Trash sells and unfortunately for black folks too many of us love trash because (subliminally or otherwise) we must believe that this is how are lives are supposed to be. And trust me, I see too many of these real life stereotypes on a daily basis to know that this is EXACTLY the kind of image black men and women WANT for themselves. Because otherwise they wouldn’t like such garbage.

  16. July 29, 2013 - Reply

    I like it, I look forward to it coming on. I like the way TP never ceases to amaze us. This The H & The H N has the potential to be just as good as a Soap O. Like she said if you don’t like it don’t watch.

  17. July 31, 2013 - Reply

    Its nothing but stupidity in these comments… if Tika was white would we then be fine with what happens in the show…if you feel a negative way about this show, you must be a Hanna, Candace or Jeffrey. Black ppl love to complain but never makes moves. Start your own show.

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