WRITTEN BY: CECILIE BREE WILKINS
Hollywood took a seat while Atlanta took center stage on Saturday, October 5, when Tyler Perry opened his own major film studio. Through becoming the first African American in the U.S. to own a major movie studio Perry hopes to pay forward his success through his upcoming projects.
In an interview for CBS with Gayle King, Tyler Perry Perry opened up about his history with homelessness and how his experiences have informed his business model. With a name associated with more than 48 movies, plays, and TV shows his impact has been massive. The studio reflects this as it is larger than those of Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox and Sony combined.
Perry explained how his experiences have inspired him, stating, “this entire journey of telling stories was born out of pain, born out of heartache, born out of being an abused kid who could go inside of his head and create a world and imagination,” Perry said. “That same abused kid watching his mother…getting beat and there’s nothing he can do, my desire and heart to make her laugh and feel better was so strong. And you know, if I could make a joke or if I could imitate her or my aunt and make her laugh, or some of the women she played cards with on Friday nights, all of that was so powerful and so important to me.”
He continued, “the first time I saw it, it was next to Sylvan Road—which I remember, when I moved to Atlanta, I moved off of Sylvan Road with my cousin and got put out a house—I had no money, that kinda thing…” he said. “Then to see my name next to that moment, I just—it took my breath away…it was really powerful.”
Perry’s Atlanta movie studio complex is built on a former confederate Army base and features a dozen sound stages, each named after Black Hollywood icons.
An event to celebrate the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios took place, with guests including Samuel L. Jackson, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Stacey Abrams, Halle Berry, Tiffany Haddish and a surprise appearance by Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Perry later revealed that his Atlanta studio will also include a shelter for “trafficked women, girls, homeless women, and LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced.”
He plans to use a portion of the 330-acre property to house disadvantaged women and children. Perry envisions the compound to be “a beautiful place, right here somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self sufficient.” He added: “They live in nice apartments, there’s daycare, there’s all of these wonderful things to re-enter society and pay it forward again. That’s what I hope to do soon!”
Photo Source: NBC News