Filmmaker Tyler Perry has written an open letter urging audiences to see Red Tails in theaters this weekend, declaring that "movies starring an all African-American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct."
The call to action comes in the wake of Star Wars producer George Lucas' tales of his two-decade struggle to get the true WWII story of the Tuskegee Airmen to take flight on the big screen. After being rejected by every major studio in Hollywood, Lucas decided to fund the film with his own money – and was still rejected for distribution due to the perceived lack of salability of an all-African-American cast. He decided to ultimately release the film himself, in theaters starting today.
Perry, who regularly cranks out films with all-African-American casts, writes in part, "I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us. I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too. The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story. … Please take your kids, you will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned."
He concludes it with, "George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this."