Alvin Poussaint

What To Get a Black Person For Christmas
December 15, 2009

So very “2004” by now – the days when the kickoff question for an interview on black issues was whether you agreed with the views of Bill Cosby.

What Tyler Perry and Bill Cosby Have in Common: On the Occasion of "I Can Do Bad All By Myself"
September 14, 2009

At a Christmas party in 2004, a cousin asked me "Do you like Medea?" For a minute I was a confused, since it didn’t seem to be the occasion for sharing our impressions of Greek mythology. But it turned out she was talking about Madea, the massive, loudmouthed, pistol-packing black grandmother who Tyler Perry performs as in drag in a series of "chitlin' circuit" touring shows. Perry sells DVDs of the shows on line, and ten minutes after my cousin put one on I was hooked. I’m not alone. Madea was the biggest new phenom in black America until Obamamania.