Tika Sumpter defends Tyler Perry sitcom: ‘We don’t aim to be lowbrow’

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Tika Sumpter takes on the starring role of a devious southern belle in The Haves and the Have Nots, Oprah Winfrey Network’s first scripted series.

It has proven to be ratings gold for the once struggling cable channel.

Created by Tyler Perry, the show follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent mansion set in Savannah, Georgia.

In March, The Haves and the Have Nots Season 1 finale set a network record with 3.6 million viewers.

The steamy primetime soap opera returned to OWN for season 2 this week, and Sumpter’s role is bigger than ever.

In an interview with theGrio.com’s Chris Witherspoon, Sumpter responded to critics of The Haves and the Have Nots who have blasted Tyler Perry’s series for having “poor production value” and being “hurtful to the black community” by perpetuating negative stereotypes.

“I don’t read anything about what critics say,” Sumpter said. “I just do what I do and try to elevate the show as much as I can. Tyler’s trying to do the same. We’re just trying to make it work, and I think people are seeing changes now, even in just the way that we shoot it, and the production value has definitely gone up. I think that we’re just trying to make the best show that we can. We don’t aim to be lowbrow or anything like that. I think we’re just working the kinks out, as any show would do.”

Tune in for all new episodes of The Haves and the Have Nots Tuesdays at 9/8c on OWN.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC

Click below to watch Tika Sumpter talk about Maya Angelou’s impact on her career

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