Tyler perry dancing to how do you want it

Big Think, Is There Such a Thing as Selling Out? Why Maya...

Maya and I had a wonderful relationship but we didn't always agree on everything.

And one of the things that we had a conversation about was her being in one of these Tyler Perry Madea movies. And Maya had always stayed on me to be careful about my choices and to make sure that I was doing work in that mattered and that I wouldn't connect myself to projects that didn't deserve my participation for whatever the reason might be. So we had these conversations all the time about valuing, she would never put it this way but about respecting my brand and valuing my brand. And so when I heard and learned that she was going to be in one of these Madea movies we had a chat about it one day. And I wanted to know why she would agree to be in one of these Madea films. The short end of the story is that she made a distinction for me that I had never really thought about.

There is some very beautiful and brilliant powerful high art that we should not deny ourselves and there is some run of the mill entertainment that makes us feel good, that makes us laugh, that brings us joy that we should not deny ourselves. And she acknowledged that the Tyler Perry movie wasn't high art, it was entertainment, but should I deny myself an opportunity to be in a film where I can speak to a generation of young people and share a poem as a grandmother in this film that might help some of these young people even though it's coming through an entertainment vehicle, in a movie with Madea in it I should not do that?

But it became a serious conversation, that again, allowed me to see this critical distinction between what I viewed as art and what I viewed as entertainment. That conundrum, that dilemma came full circle for me after she passed away when I had to make a decision about whether or not to appear on Dancing with the Stars.

And I found myself in this same space, art versus entertainment. Ultimately I decided to do Dancing with the Stars and I could kind of here Maya in the back of my head saying okay you get it now. I feel sometimes for those in the broader hip-hop community who seem to bear the brunt of every critique and every criticism that people feel comfortable leveling at it.

Hip-hop music is like any other form of music or any other form of entertainment. There's some good and there's some bad. And when people paint hip-hop, whether it's Ben Carson or my friend Geraldo Rivera where they paint hip-hop with a broad brush they get themselves in trouble again. It's about respecting people's individuality. And if you want to talk about a particular person or a particular song then let's have that conversation. But you cannot lump everybody into one broad category and demonize the entire art form.

Columbus resident believes faith and God helped her land role in Tyler Perry’s new movie


Columbus resident Morgan Harrell (center) is a dancer in the movie “A Jazzman’s Blues” on Netflix. The film is written and directed by Tyler Perry (left) and choreographed by Debbie Allen (right).

Credit: Courtesy of Morgan Harrell

When the Tyler Perry movie A Jazzman’s Blues started streaming Sept. 23 on Netflix, Columbus resident Morgan Harrell planned to pop some popcorn, watch with her parents, Barbie and Dr. Kenneth Harrell, and celebrate what she considers “a sacred moment.”

That’s because Harrell not only appears as a juke-joint dancer in this movie written and directed by Perry and choreographed by Debbie Allen, but she believes faith and divine intervention helped her land this role three years after being so severely injured, it was unclear whether she would dance again.

In addition to support from her parents, “I want to thank God first and Tyler and Debbie and all my educators for putting confidence in me,” Harrell told the Ledger-Enquirer.


'I was devastated'

Harrell, 26, was born and raised in Columbus.  

She attended preschool at Pinehurst Christian, elementary school at Britt David and Clubview, middle school at Richards and graduated from Northside High School in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from Kennesaw State University in 2019.

That’s the same year she was in a car accident, hit from behind by another vehicle. The collision tore her left bicep and threatened her dancing career. On top of performing, she teaches dance classes and founded Faithesthetics, a faith-based choreography company.

“I was devastated,” she said. “… I was very close to quitting.”

Dr. John Waldrop repaired her arm, then months of rehab at the Hughston Clinic helped her recover from surgery. She credits them for “giving me a second chance.”


'God preparing me'

Then, on Dec. 4, 2020, Harrell said, “God told me to print a picture of Tyler Perry.”

It seemed mighty random, but Harrell put the image on her vision board and gazed at it for inspiration as she did rehab exercises at home. She also printed the logo of Perry’s studios in Atlanta and put that image in her Bible. And she listened to motivational speeches from Perry, including one about burying Bibles in the foundations of the sound stages built on his 330-acre property, the former Fort McPherson.

“I feel like that was God preparing me for this role,” Harrell said.

The chance came in April 2021, when her agent told her about an audition for a dancing role in a movie — lo and behold, written and directed by Perry.

“Oh, my God,” she thought. “… God told me about this.”

Netflix says the movie’s “tale of forbidden love and family drama unravels 40 years of secrets and lies against a soundtrack of juke-joint blues in the Deep South.”

According to IMDB the plot involves an investigation into an unsolved murder that unveils deceit and a secret.

The cast includes Joshua Boone (Downtown Girls, MacGyver” and Law & Order: SVU) and Solea Pfeiffer (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Scandal and The Good Fight) as leads, along with Amirah Vann, Ryan Eggold and Austin Scott.


'Wow. She got it'

Harrell had only two days to prepare for the audition. She doubted whether she had recovered enough from her injury and surgery.

But when she learned Allen would be the choreographer for the movie, Harrell recalled meeting her at a dance intensive training session in Atlanta while she was a student at Kennesaw. Although they didn’t talk to each other then, Harrell still received memorable communication from Allen.

“She kind of gave me that look like, ‘Wow. She got it,’” Harrell said.

Connecting the dots — from believing God told her to print a photo of Perry, to feeling affirmation by Allen’s glance — Harrell let her faith rise above her doubt and tried out.


'I was shocked'

Allen greeted Harrell at the audition and said, “It’s good to see you again,” Harrell recalled.

Harrell thought, “That meant God is actually real, and I was actually meant to do this.”

After a callback for another audition and two weeks of not hearing the result, Harrell was eating at a Chipotle in Columbus when an email from the casting associate offered her a role to be among approximately 30 dancers out of the 200+ who tried out.

Harrell cried tears of joy and gratitude.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I was numb. I couldn’t believe it.”

She had persevered through her accident, her surgery, her rehab, her doubt — and through not being chosen for any role in approximately 20 tryouts with other productions.

“When you’ve been through so much, a lot of rejection in your life, you get discouraged,” she said. “… I learned to go with your instincts. Go with your gut. When your gut moves, that’s God talking to you.”


'Like Annie staying with the Warbucks'

Filming went on for two weeks in May 2021. The cast and crew quarantined on Perry’s property amid the COVID pandemic. Despite the frequent coronavirus testing and constant mask-wearing in between takes, Harrell savored the experience.

“It was like Annie staying with the Warbucks,” she said. 

“… It felt like a dream. It felt so surreal because it’s history-making, a Columbus woman staying on Tyler Perry’s land. … Some days, I was crying and saying, ‘God, are you sure I deserve this?’ … It was so hot, but we were so grateful and so blessed. The crew treated us really nice.”

Perry is respectful and kind, Harrell said.

“Tyler deserves all his blessings,” she said. “He’s inspirational. When I was healing from my surgery, hearing his story about how he was hopeless — for years, people doubted him and people laughed at him, but he still kept going — God blessed him with an opportunity. It’s like I passed God’s test too.”

Allen is “just a legend,” Harrell said. 

“She was directing me about how my character should be, how to walk, how to have that presence in the room. … To be in the same room with Debbie Allen and taking the notes and learning and becoming a better dancer, it changed my life.”

Other than working with Perry and Allen, Harrell was attracted to this role because of the movie’s story and its era.

“I wanted to really envision what it would be like to live in the 1930s,” she said. “What did my ancestors go through during this period? … What was it about jazz and blues that really contributed to the history?”

Harrell noted the similarity of the movie’s theme and her own journey. The message from both, she said, is to “go where your heart is.”


'Hard work is finally paying off'

While the movie debuted Sept. 11 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Harrell won the Best Director award at the 2022 WIFTA (Women in Film and Television in Atlanta) Short Film Showcase. She described her film, S.A.B.L.E. (Stories About Blacks Leading Equality), as a “choreopoem that portrays a dialogue of apathy.”

The juxtaposition of those two moments, Harrell said, prompted her to think “my hard work is finally paying off. … I feel like it was all meant to be.”

This role boosted her resume and led to others. Harrell said she can’t be specific, but she is in the cast of three more productions and will teach a master dance class in Atlanta about her experience in this movie.

Tickets are available on her website, Faithesthetics.com.

Harrell enjoys dance because it’s spiritual to her.

“When you dance,” she said, “it takes your worries away.

Her ultimate career goal?

“Make an honest living using my gifts from God to inspire the world through dance,” she said. “… Dreams do come true, only if you put God first.”

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with the Ledger-Enquirer.

Tags: Tyler Perry  acting  Dance  film  Columbus  Georgia  Atlanta 

Tyler Perry said that he is the godfather of the daughter of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry - Lilibet Diana | Your Highness

Tyler Perry talks about his intimate relationship with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their children in Harry and Meghan, currently streaming on Netflix.

Tyler Perry reveals his very important title for the first time: he is Lilibet Diana's godfather.

The 53-year-old director recalled in the final episode of the Netflix docu-series Harry & Meghan that he was asked by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to accept the role in 2021, after the birth of Lily, their second child. nine0011 Perry said Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, "were very serious on the phone" when they called to ask, although their conversations are usually more flippant.
"I say, 'Okay, what's going on?' They said, "Well, we'd like you to be Lily's godfather." I say wow,” Perry continues on . "It took me a minute to realize this."

“And I thought, ‘I would be honored. It will be a great honor for me.” — he added.

After speaking with the couple on the phone and considering their request, Perry realized that his agreement was subject to some conditions.
"I called them back and said, 'Wait a second - does that mean we have to go to the UK and do all this in church with the royal family? Because I don't want to do that' ," he said. "Maybe we could have a little private ceremony here in the US?"

Tyler Perry director

Earlier in the episode, Perry said that first met Meghan after he sent her a pre-wedding letter saying he was praying for her amid "offensive" controversy surrounding her and her strained relationship with her father, Thomas Markle .
“I couldn’t even imagine that this woman found the man she loved, the man of her dreams, and he turned out to be a prince, and then she got involved in all this madness, needing the safety of her family, and then her father does terrible things,” nine0016 - said Perry.
"When my life changed and success came, the family members became different people, and I know how painful and terrible it is," , he said, adding that "immediately felt sympathy" for Megan.

Lilibet Diana

In this episode, Megan and Perry reminisce about their first telephone conversation many years ago, during which Megan cried about how she felt she was being treated by the media.
" Telling Megan that I think her feelings are justified hurts" , he said. “I didn't want to tell her this - I didn't want her to feel it. But I didn't want to lie to her. She was afraid that they would destroy her, or she would go crazy, or they would make her think she was crazy.”
The director of Jazzman's Blues said he recognized the "symptoms" of "abuse" because he witnessed his own mother being abused.

“This woman was abused. And so did he," ," Perry said of the Palace's treatment of Meghan and Harry. nine0013 "Use the Firm to try and do all the things a destroyer would do - eg , "Here's what we'll do: We're going to cut money, we're not going to leave you guards, we're going to do all these things to get you to comply and come back " ".
"And so that they both have the strength to say:" I don't care if this is a palace or not . I'm out of here. I applauded it,” added Perry.

Meghan and Harry had no plan for where they could stay to feel safe with their one-year-old son Archie Harrison when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.
Then Perry offered them asylum on his estate in Los Angeles, California. "You said, 'Stay as long as you like.' We said: "Maybe we'll stay forever" "- said Harry Perry.
"It was bliss because nobody knew we were there," continued the prince.

"It's a secret so at least during COVID-19 we can walk our dogs and have a little bit of a normal life" - Meghan says to the camera during a home video of the couple doing just that.

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