While there’s no denying actor, filmmaker, and playwright Tyler Perry has been through a lot in life, both personally as well as professionally, he has also always had a sound support system behind him. This much is actually even evidenced in Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story,’ which truly delves into his rise from a creative Louisiana kid to a billionaire studio head. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the woman to have essentially been his second mother from the get-go — his maternal aunt, Jerry Banks — we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Jerry Banks?
Reportedly born around 1950 in a big family in wondrous Amite, Louisiana, Jerry has invariably held family in high regard considering that’s what got her through following her mother’s early demise. It thus comes as no surprise she wound up living just a few doors down from one of her elder sisters, Willie Maxine Campbell Perry, in New Orleans once they grew up to have families of their own. Though the truth is this is arguably when she really came into herself as not only a proud family woman but also a fierce protector of those she cares about, including all of her sister’s children.
Therefore, according to the documentary, when a 7 or 8-year-old Tyler Perry ran to her house one evening after getting brutally whipped by his father with a hard vacuum cord, Jerry saw red. He hadn’t said a word, but he was sobbing, so his aunt gently lifted his shirt just to see “these huge welts across his back” — they were extremely swollen, and they almost broke his skin. That’s when she picked up a gun. She once said, “I’m not proud of the fact, but I did, and I went around the corner to their house. I met [Tyler’s father] on the sidewalk, and I pointed the gun at him.”
Jerry’s husband thankfully managed to step in to push the weapon away before any other harm could be done, driving her to tell her sister that she should never leave Tyler alone with his father again. So, although Maxine couldn’t leave her husband despite all the abuse — there were apparently more such incidents with different members — she did subsequently do her best to keep her son safe. Hence, of course, the women in Tyler’s life hold a special place in his heart, all of whom inadvertently served as an inspiration behind one of his most renowned characters, Madea.
Where is Jerry Banks Now?
As per one of Jerry’s sons, Lucky Johnson, “She didn’t play by us. You know, her nieces, her nephews, her kids. The mother lion, if you will. She protected us by all costs. If the big, bad bear was coming, she gon’ fight the bear.” She herself also stated in the original production that although picking up the firearm wasn’t the right thing to do on the fateful day, the whole ordeal was too hurtful for her not to do anything: “I just can’t tolerate it. Because I chastised my children too, but none of my boys could ever tell you that they got beat like that. I mean no, no, no, no. How can you [do that] when you love your children? How can you do that? How can your heart allow you to do it?”
Coming to Jerry’s current standing, from what we can tell, this 73-year-old resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at the moment, where she’s surrounded by loved ones at every step of the way. Moreover, she’s still a fierce supporter of her nephew Tyler Perry, too – in fact, she often attends some of the important events of his life and was even present at the premiere of ‘Maxine’s Baby.’ In other words, it genuinely appears as if she has taken on the role of his maternal figure since her sister’s passing and will continue to do everything in her power to ensure his happiness as well as prosperity — just as she does for her own kids.
Read More: Where is Tyler Perry’s Father Now?