The actor, 54, made the remarks about couples managing their finances while living together during a recent appearance on Crystal Renee Hayslett’s Keep it Positive, Sweetie podcast. He started off by claiming that as people enter the dating world, they’ll discover that women are making more money than men.
“A lot of women, especially Black women, and I might get in trouble for saying this, but I will,” he said. “In our society right now, Black women are making a lot more money, for the most part, than Black men.”
He added that while there are a lot of “Black men who are successful,” Black women are the ones “making the money, for the most part”. With that in mind, Perry encouraged women to pursue relationships with men based on their personality traits, and not based on how much money they make.
“If you can find love, if that man works at whatever job and is a good man and is good to you, and honours you, and honours the house, and honours his wife, and does what he can,” he explained. “Because his gift may not be your gift. That is OK.”
The Tyler Perry’s Sistas star also noted when women date men who make less money than them, it does not mean that these men are “beneath” them.
He then emphasised that as long as both partners are comfortable with it, a woman can be the one to cover the expensive finances, rather than her boyfriend.
“That’s somebody who came to love you at your worth, and as long as he’s secure in himself to know that, ‘Yep, she makes most of the money, all I can pay is the light bill,’” he said. “As long as she’s comfortable enough to say, ‘I’m gonna cover the mortgage and all the other stuff. You pay the light bill. Babe, you can take me to dinner every now and then.’ That’s fine.”
Perry went on to claim that his perspective is “hard for a lot of people to take in,” due to their expectations in the dating world, such as needing a partner who makes “five times” as much as them.
However, according to the filmmaker, couples can still find ways to support each other, even if one person makes more money than the other.
“But when you talk about just someone to love and support you, I know people whose men can’t touch what they make,” he said. “But when you see them together? That love, that support, that ‘I got you, babe,’ it’s a beautiful thing.”
Perry’s comments have since gone viral on social media, as a video of the podcast has been reshared on The Neighborhood Talk’s Instagram account. In the comments, many people went on to criticise the actor’s advice, with claims that he’s telling Black women to ultimately lower their standards when looking for a future partner.
“Ladies if you pay the full mortgage and there is a man in the house you might as well be single,” one person quipped.
“Black men love…telling black women to ‘take what they can get!’ They love saying it with a full chest,” another wrote.
A third sarcastically added: “How dare [black] women have standards, expectations, and boundaries as other races of women do.”
On X, formerly known as Twitter, people also claimed that Perry should have given advice to Black men about forming successful careers, rather than tips to black women about dating.
“Tyler Perry always encouraging Black women to date down & that’s the [mother f***ing] problem. Why aren’t we telling Black men to be more ambitious, career driven, invest in the right things, take care of the home first, etc,” one tweeted. “Why is it always Black women come down to meet them where they at?”
“Why doesn’t a rich black man like Tyler Perry share knowledge, insight, & tips to black men to position themselves to be better providers?” another wrote. “Always asking black women to adjust & accommodate to a patriarch system we didn’t create & is designed against us is insane to me.”
However, other people went on to defend Perry from the criticism, while describing the importance of dating a man with good “values and morals”.
“Listen, Tyler Perry is correct. The problem with a lot of women in our generation right now is that y’all focus so much on the money and how much a man makes when it comes to relationships these days,” one tweeted. “What happened to their character? A man’s values and morals? Come on man!”
“The fact that a MAJORITY of Black people didn’t really understand what Tyler Perry said but rather took it as an attack makes me KNOW FOR SURE that our society is in DEEP trouble!” another claimed.