Tyler Perry Says 'A Jazzman's Blues' Speaks to 'All of the Pains' Black People Have Endured (Exclusive)

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Tyler Perry has been working on his passion project for over 20 years, and now it debuts on Netflix. Set in the 1940s Deep South, the prolific filmmaker's new drama, A Jazzman's Blues, follows star-crossed lovers Bayou and Leanne, whose forbidden love is the backdrop for 40 years of secrets and lies. 

Written, directed and produced by Perry, the film features stars Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer as the troubled lovers alongside an ensemble cast that includes Amirah Vann, Austin Scott, Milauna Jemai Jackson, Brent Antonello, Brad Benedict, Kario Marcel, Lana Young and Ryan Eggold. 

"[It's been] a 27-year marathon to get it here," Perry told ET at the film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. "To see Jazzman finally see the light of day, and Netflix was so amazing and nurturing to get it done -- I’m just really blown away by it. I was often told Black movies with Black stars don't travel around the world when Netflix proved that wrong, time and time again, every time I've worked with them."

Perry penned the screenplay for A Jazzman's Blues in the '90s, which marks it as the first screenplay that Perry ever wrote. The project was originally bought in 2006 but never came to fruition until recently. The filmmaker explained that the process of building his brand was essential to eventually getting the film produced.

"I had an audience that wanted to see what I wanted to give and I was very particular and very specific about giving them what they needed," he shared about the following he gained with his Madea productions. "So, I was building my company, building my studio and building all of those things so that was the focus. And, you know, being Black in Hollywood -- if you have a flop you don’t get as many chances as someone else would. So I couldn’t take the chance to do a period piece, especially 10, 15 years ago. It would have been really difficult to get done so the timing was right, and here I am."

Perry said that he understands the doubts that delayed the project's production. "They read the script, loved the script and wanted to do it. [Then] they talked to their teams and they'd come back and go, 'Wait a minute, is Madea going to pop up around the corner, go hello?' As if I don’t understand what this is right," he shared. "So, I completely understand it, but everything that I’ve always done always ends up the way that’s it’s supposed to be."

"With everything going on in the country, now is the best time to tell this story," Perry added. "With... so many people talking about our history as Black people in the country, I felt this was the right time to tell the story. With there being an assault on the history of what has happened with Black people, to banning books, taking out our stories, wanting to homogenize slavery and make it seem like it was OK. I think this movie speaks to all of the pains that we endured and hopefully, if that sparks somebody to go and research and find the truth, then I’ve done what I wanted to."

A Jazzman's Blues is now streaming on Netflix.

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