Tyler Perry made history last Saturday when he opened Tyler Perry Studios, the first film studio owned by an African-American.
The event was star-studded, with the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Colin Kaepernick, Samuel L. Jackson, Viola Davis, Stacey Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Ealy, Monica and many other notables in entertainment and politics were in attendance. A full tour of the studio can be found on DuVernay’s Instagram Story highlights.
Goldberg, whose namesake graces one of the stages on Perry’s studio, said to The Hollywood Reporter, “Why did it take so long? Why was he the first to get it? Now he’s the man who makes the decisions, chooses the movies, and he doesn’t have to ask anybody for shit. There’s nothing better than that. He’s never on his knees. He gets what he needs because he provided it.”
Davis also told publication how the studio’s opening is game-changing. “Tonight is history,” she said. “Tonight is not just entertainment and flamboyancy, it’s not just an excuse to get dressed up. It’s an excuse to celebrate a historic moment, which is a Black artist taking control of their artistic life and the vision that God has for their life. What’s happened with us historically is we’re waiting for people to get us. We’re waiting for people to throw us a crumb. That’s not what Tyler Perry has done. I want to be able to look back on this and say ‘I was there.'”
Perry dedicated soundstages to Goldberg and Winfrey as well as Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Perry’s mother Willie Maxine Perry and the late Diahann Carroll.
“Her level of grace, class and inspiration was just beyond anything I could ever imagine,” he said of Carroll. “The very fact that we were able to have her on the planet at the same time as we are, we should all be very, very blessed.”
The studio is not only the first Black-owned studio, but it is also massive, as it is built on a former Confederate Army base.
“Fun fact: The studio lots of Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox and Sony could fit inside @TylerPerry’s studio lot at the same time–and there would still be 60 acres to spare,” wrote DuVernay on Twitter. “All on a former Confederate Army base. A stunning achievement that will echo through the generations.”
Fun Fact: The studio lots of Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox and Sony could fit inside @TylerPerry’s studio lot at the same time – and there would still be 60 acres to spare. All on a former Confederate Army base. A stunning achievement that will echo through the generations. https://t.co/XCeXE09y77
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 6, 2019
Perry has two upcoming shows, The Oval and Sistas, premiering soon on BET.
Photo: Getty Images
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