October 5, 2008

Tyler Perry Makes History with His New Movie Studio..

[via People Magazine]
History was made Saturday night, when Tyler Perry became the first African-American ever to launch his own major TV and film studio.

But that wasn't the only reason Will Smith was tipping his hat to Perry at the gala Atlanta event in the old Delta Airlines headquarters that now serve as Perry's studio.  "I admire most that he can be that tall and wear a white suit," said Smith, 40, never to waste a punch line. "I usually have to avoid white. At this height, you don't tend to look sexy in white suits, but he pulled it off."

The same could be said when it came to Perry's impressive guest list, which brought out the top names from past and present Hollywood and other spheres of influence: Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett, Jr., Holly Robinson Peete, Tracey Edmonds, music mogul L.A. Reid, singer John Legend, America's Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford, not to mention baseball legends Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds – among others.

Oprah Cried
"I spent 56 years making movies and this is the reward that I have that means the most to me," said Poitier, 81, the first African-American to win a Best Actor Oscar, for 1963's Lilies of the Field.

A New Orleans native with a troubled childhood, Perry, 39, credited all of his guests with inspiring his life. Of Winfrey, who attended the celebration with longtime beau Stedman Graham and best friend Gayle King, Perry said, "She owns her life. I am learning that. I never would have shown this to people a few years ago. I was embarrassed by the success."

As a large cast of attendants passed around champagne and tissues for the teary-eyed (who were many), Perry shared his rags-to-riches story over a large video screen that eventually gave way to a live singer and band delivering "The Impossible Dream," followed by a fireworks display. Mary J. Blige, Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight also treated guests to separate performances.  At one point, Perry unveiled a special surprise for veteran trailblazers Poitier, Dee and Tyson: each now has a soundstage named after him and her.  "Is this my wall?" joked Poitier – as Winfrey dissolved into tears.

Tide of Change
All joking aside, it was Will Smith who best summed up Perry's accomplishment and the tide of change taking place in America today.  "This is an American first, and the first in the universe," said the I Am Legend star. "There is something happening in America and in the world that's powerful. He is not letting anyone get in his way.  "Those are the wonderfully na├»ve, arrogant, humble, powerfully American concepts that make things powerful in this country. It's big."

This country is seriously making history in 2008. First America votes Barack Obama as the first African American Democratic Presidential nominee in the United States, now Tyler Perry is the first ever African American to launch a major television and movie studio. There are truly wondrous and beautiful things happening in this country.


  1. I'm truly thrilled for Tyler Perry. He's an inspiration to all races. The man is so amazing. I love his work. Congrats to him. He's worked so hard for this. I wish him all the best.

  2. This is a good look for the guy
    Shame I hate everything he makes

    All will be forgiven if he constructs a predom. Black Soap though


  3. Sigh. It isn't very wondrous or beautiful if he continues to produce such tripe (not everyone regards financial success as the be-all end-all). If he manages to support a range of filmmakers whose work actually expands the image of blacks, then we can talk.

  4. @ anon-
    IMHO, it's wonderful in the sense that Tyler Perry is the first. Whether or not people like his films and tv shows does not take away from the fact that he is the first African American to launch a major movie studio which in and of itself is a historic, inspiring and ground-breaking event.