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If you're neither an ardent fan nor a knee-jerk Perry-hater, it's hard to know how to feel about the entertainer as a titan of African-American pop culture. Of course, it's a quirk of 21st century media saturation that anyone should be expected to have definitive, up-or-down feelings about a celebrity, no matter how famous he is. While Perry clearly intends to expand his reach as a mass entertainer, having already built one of America's biggest media empires, he's unlikely to meet you halfway.
Don't take it personally, but Tyler Perry doesn't need you.
You probably won't bump into him at Whole Foods or Lenox Square mall, like you might with other Atlanta celebrities (although you'll have better luck at Houston's Restaurant or the Apache Café, two of his favorite spots). For such an apparently private person, however, he can come across as surprisingly unguarded.
Interviews clearly aren't his favorite thing, but having granted one, he makes every effort to be cool about it. In the sanctum of his office, Perry's demeanor can alternate between a serious, even stern, manner and a casual joshing around. He likes to be called "Mr. Perry" on the movie set, but call him that in person and he says, "Come on, man," as if it's an unnecessary formality.
But don't expect him to sit around and chat forever. From over at his desk, the monitors are still on. His work is waiting.