SPOILER ALERT: Do not read unless you’ve watched “A Madea Homecoming,” now streaming on Netflix.
As Tyler Perry prepared to bring his famously “braless and lawless” character Madea to Netflix, the media mogul came up with an idea to spoof some pop culture moments and some of his famous friends as part of the movie’s marketing campaign.
“This is all me. I haven’t gone through Netflix or anything for all of that stuff. I just started in my office,” he tells Variety. “I was like, ‘Let’s just poke some fun,’ so when I saw the Adele interview and concert, I thought, ‘Man, I’ve got to spoof this.’”
Next up was a cover mimicking Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” documentary, with Madea posing in a crystal headpiece like the superstar songstress. Perry captioned the post, “HOMEGOING! Live from her backyard. I want to thank my incredible Moth-hive. MA-Chella. NETFLIX. COMING SOON.”
It should’ve been a clue of what was to come, if audiences were paying attention.
Netflix landing the behind-the-scenes look at Beyoncé’s historic headlining set at Coachella in 2018 was a major coup, especially since the documentary was directed by Queen Bey herself. Since Madea was making her own big Netflix debut, Perry decided to pay tribute to that moment.
“This movie is about college and HBCUs, and it’s Netflix, so I was like, ‘I can’t do this without paying homage to Bey,’” he explains.
Perry went all out for Madea’s salute to the queen, crafting a coda to “A Madea’s Homecoming” that spoofs both the Coachella performance and the behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals.
At the end of “A Madea’s Homecoming,” Madea pays full homage to Beyoncé’s Coachella show by launching into her own concert as Perry crafted a shot-for-shot remake of Queen Bey’s Netflix movie.
To help Madea channel her outer Beyoncé, Perry donned a replica costume (fringed boots, tights, bodysuit and short-shorts included) and flowing blonde wig.
Asked what the most challenging part of the performance was, Perry says, “The challenge was all of it. That damn bodysuit was too tight. The wig. Spitting out the synthetic hair in my face. The wind. The bending. It was ridiculous.”
In the segment, Madea performs Beyoncé’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and her hit “Drunk in Love,” including the interlude when she led a troupe of dancers in a bit of “Swag Surfin.’”
“Let me tell you something,” he adds with a hearty laugh. “I have never in my life been on stage, done any shows or anything having a drink or smoking a joint. Never. [But] that moment, I had to get high just to be able to pull that off.”
The movie also includes another tip of the hat to the singer with Madea and her family having dinner at Red Lobster, which Beyoncé name-dropped in “Formation.”
“On Sunday, we’d go to church and then Red Lobster — that was dinner. Red Lobster is just such a staple in our community,” he explains.
While Beyoncé didn’t get a co-producer credit on the film, she and the seafood restaurant chain did receive a special thank you at the end of the film.
And, rest assured, the gag — like all of Perry’s spoofs — was authorized by its real-life counterpart. In fact, he sends the jokes out for approval before they hit the internet.
“Every time I’ve sent a spoof to any of them, they all fell out laughing,” he affirms.
The comedy features another cameo from a legendary Black woman — in a flashback to the 1950s, Madea has a run-in with civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
In the bit, which Perry describes as “pure comedy,” Madea claims there’s more to the story when it comes to Parks’ heroic decision not to give up her Montgomery bus seat to a white man. You see, as Madea tells it, Rosa used to be her roommate before running off with her boyfriend. So, when she confronted Rosa about the indiscretion — while packing heat, naturally — the woman was too scared to move from her seat.
Perry first told this joke in the late ’90s in his play “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”
“[Rosa Parks] actually got a chance to hear it and she loved it,” he shares, recounting the first time he did the joke at a show in Detroit. “Initially I was nervous. I was like, ‘Oh Lord, what is she gonna say?'”
“Her caregiver was someone who worked with Cicely Tyson for many years, and they would call me up and tell me how much she enjoyed it, how much it made her laugh,” he continues. “To have all of these legends, like her and Cicely, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou love what I do, it’s really beyond anything I couldn’t have imagined.”