Tyler Perry recently made his tory: he held the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, a film complex that spans 330 acres with 12 sound stages.
CBS notes that the studio is “larger than the Burbank, California, lots owned by Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount combined. Perry is the first black American to own a major film studio outright.”
Soe of the stars who attended the weekend event included Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson and Beyoncé.
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King spoke with the actor-producer in Atlanta about this historic moment, and how The New York Times characterised Perry as “the most successful mogul Hollywood has ever ignored.”
Here’s how their conversation went:
King asked, “Do you think Hollywood gets you?”
“No,” Perry replied. “I clearly believe that I’m ignored in Hollywood, for sure. And that’s fine. I get it.”
“Is that fine?”
“It is. My audience and the stories that I tell are African-American stories specific to a certain audience, specific to a certain group of people that I know, that I grew up, and we speak a language. Hollywood doesn’t necessarily speak the language. A lot of critics don’t speak that language. 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. I know how important every word, every joke, every laugh [is]. I know what that does for the people where I come from and the people that I’m writing for. So, yeah, I get that.”
King said, “But you’ve also, though, been criticized, in some cases by your own people, by your fellow colleagues. Were you seeking, in this moment, validation, or that wasn’t something either that you paid any attention to?”
“You mean building all this to seek validation?” he laughed. “No. No. No. Not at all.”
“Or to show, ‘Listen, I know what I’m doing,’ is what I mean.”
“You know, if they get it, that’s great. If they don’t, I really feel it from the bottom of my heart, if they get it, great. If they don’t, then that’s fine, too.
“I know for a fact that when I drive in through these gates, onto this 330 acres and see these 12 sound stages, and see the highway sign that says ‘Tyler Perry Studios’ as you’re making to the exit in here, as I come in here and I see these hundreds of people working, these black and brown – I’ve been on sets where I’ve been the only black face on, only black face, as recently as 2019 going, ‘Where are the black people in this movie?’ Back behind the camera? So, when I come to work here and every black person that comes to work here they go, ‘Oh my God, it’s heaven. Here we are. We’re represented.’ Where everybody’s represented. LGBTQ’s represented. Black, white, gay, straight, whatever. We’re all represented, working hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm.
“So, what I know about what I’m doing is, any doubters, just come take a visit and walk these streets, see these people, see these underdogs and you tell me what I do don’t matter.”