Tyler Perry’s New Studio Makes Entertainment History
Tyler Perry Studios opened in Atlanta over the weekend and it was a star-studded event. The 330-acre studio was constructed atop a former Confederate army base and is the first of its kind to be owned by a Black celebrity. Many A-listers came out to show their support for this momentous milestone, including Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Michelle Williams, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Halle Berry, to name a few.
Perry, a successful filmmaker, director, producer, and actor, has forged his own path in the entertainment world and is hoping to motivate others to do the same. He is out to prove you don’t have to wait for anyone else’s approval to start living your dreams, and threw an extravagant grand opening not for himself, he said, but for those who feel unseen or unheard in the industry. He wanted to draw attention to the importance of maintaining diversity both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Perry explained that minorities are often underrepresented in entertainment and he felt mostly “ignored” in Hollywood. The star said, “I’ve been on sets and I’m the only Black face – as recently as 2019.”
Winfrey applauded his risk-taking, saying. “He didn’t wait for other people to validate or to say you should go this way or that way. He said, ‘I’m going to create my own way’ and, as we can see here, ‘become a force for himself.’”
Besides the significance of building the studio on a once-Confederate base, Perry revealed during his BET Awards acceptance speech earlier this year that “when I built my studio, [it was in the] poorest Black neighborhood in Atlanta so the kids can see that a Black man did that and they can too.”
On a mission to make minorities heard, he plans to employ people of color and LGBT workers and making sure they share the spotlight. A dozen sound stages for movie productions have already been dedicated to Black celebrities.
Goldberg said, “It just reminds everybody that Hollywood has always been made up of lots of different folks both behind the camera and in front of the camera, and he’s made it possible to remind people that they were here.”
Perry expressed his gratitude to all those who came out, posting on social media, “From the 30 people who showed up for my first play 20 years ago to the millions who stand with me faithfully today, ‘Thank you.’ This dream belongs to all of us.”