How Personal Will Tyler Perry’s New Documentary Really Be?, By Stephanie Holland, Posted September 11th 2023

Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story premieres Nov. 17 on Prime Video.

Tyler Perry is one of the most successful and well-known filmmakers in the world. He’s also one of the most private. Despite his boisterous personality and the over the top characters he plays, he’s very low key about his personal life. It appears that is about to change, as the Madea star has a documentary chronicling his behind the camera world set to premiere on Prime Video.

Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story—premiering Nov. 17—follows “the inner-world of a man, whose story has never fully been told, as he becomes a father and a media mogul with a mission to pave his own road to the top.”

Directors Gelila Bekele (who shares a child with Perry) and Armani Ortiz spent nearly 10 years with “unfettered access” to the A Jazzman’s Blues filmmaker as he built his studio and media empire. Going back a decade would take audiences to a time when the actor began to branch out and appear in movies he didn’t direct. He was also in the early stage of creating his many TV series.


Perry has been the subject of controversy surrounding the quality of his projects and his skills as a writer. It will be interesting to see if any of these topics are addressed or glossed over in a film helmed by a director with such a close relationship to the subject. These are issues that haven’t been discussed in an uncontrolled, authentic manner, so his real time reaction to the backlash could provide some insight into how he feels about the criticism.

These types of documentaries always say they’re going to show us something we’ve never seen before. It generally ends up with the project telling us a lot of things we already know. Considering how private Perry has kept his personal life, this might be the rare exception where we discover quite a few new revelations about the Six Triple Eight director.

The real question is how much control does Tyler Perry have over what makes the final cut of the film? Will we actually get a fascinating deep dive into his world and creative process, or will we get a puff piece heralding how brilliant and generous he is? At the very least, let’s hope we get something in the middle, because the latter choice won’t do anything to help audiences understand him as a filmmaker or a person.

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