Tyler Perry is a media juggernaut. And with the opening of his own studio lot in Atlanta, he has officially solidified his place as a GOAT in the entertainment industry.
But getting to this point has been a long, perilous journey for Perry.
With a past steeped in poverty and abuse, Perry learned from a young age to believe in and protect his dreams. His early 20s were a time marked with constant discouragement from others; however, Perry didn’t let their words affect him.
As he recalls in his spiritual book, Higher Is Waiting, “If your dream is bigger than anything they could imagine, they will try to tear it down. They do it because your dreams feel as far away to them as the moon and the stars. Your dreams make them feel small.”
Armed with such wisdom, Perry rose from homelessness to media mogul-status. And on Saturday, Oct. 5, with “22 movies, 20 plays, and eight TV shows” under his belt, he celebrated the opening of his history-making studio with a star-studded gala.
Countless of Black Hollywood’s biggest names showed their support by attending the grand opening event for his new film complex, which spans a groundbreaking 330 acres, once used as a Confederate Army base - the ultimate act of reclamation. Legends like Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, and Will Smith all walked the red carpet; the aforementioned celebrities even took photos in front of respective sound stages established in their name.
To the Los Angeles Times, Perry explained, “I am paying tribute to people who have inspired me, who all paved a brick for me to be here.” The complex includes 12 sound stages in all, honoring other legends like Sidney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Della Reese, and John Singleton.
Still, while Perry has accomplished so much in Hollywood, he believes Tinseltown ignores his innumerable successes. In an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, Perry expressed that “Hollywood doesn’t necessarily speak the language [of the African-American stories he tells]... So to them, it’s like, ‘What is this?’ But I know what I do is important. I know what I do touches millions of people around the world.”
And throughout the years, the people he’s impacted have spent millions to receive the messages he depicts on screen. The Madea franchise alone has grossed $614.82 million.
While ignored, Perry did receive his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame recently. But instead of spending his time attempting to appease Hollywood, Tyler Perry was, as he noted when being honored with the Ultimate Icon award at the 2019 BET Awards, “down in Atlanta building my [own seat at the table].”