“Your beginning never dictates your destination.” – Tyler Perry
Within the last 21 years, Emmitt Perry Jr. made a name for himself as he rose from a seemingly hopeless beginning to creating something extraordinary.
In 2009 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Perry revealed the story about his father, Emmitt Perry Sr., who physically and mentally abused him and his three other siblings on a regular basis. He was also sexually abused by four different people, one being a friend of his mother.
When Perry was 16 years old, he changed his name from Emmitt to Tyler in order to distance himself from his father. He dropped out of school, later earning his GED and from then on, he found himself performing odd jobs and struggling to make ends meet.
Perry was a big fan of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the late 80’s and drew inspiration from Oprah’s words and lively spirit. One day while watching Oprah, he became inspired by something she said and began to write a script that would eventually catapult his career into what it is today.
After the success of his very first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which was based on two brothers who survived abuse as children, Perry was eventually able to produce his second play titled, “I Can Do Bad All by Myself,” which birthed what was soon to be his most famous and craziest creation yet: Madea.
Madea is a character played by Perry himself, and is based on various types of headstrong women in Perry’s family whom he shares a close connection with. She made an appearance in Perry’s first feature film entitled “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in 2001. From then on, Madea would appear in many more of Perry’s films and plays including “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “Madea’s Class Reunion.”
More and more people began to see a market for African American entertainment other than just Black Entertainment Television.
He sparked a change and an initiative for people to start being more diverse about who they choose to represent their work in the entertainment industry. After years of hard work and dedication, Perry has worked his way up to owning maybe one of his most crowning achievements yet, Tyler Perry Studios.
Tyler Perry Studios made a grand opening Oct. 5, in Atlanta, expanding up to 330 acres and costing approximately $250 million. Invitations were sent out to major celebrities and supporters of Perry throughout the years.
“He didn’t wait for other people to validate or to say you should go this way, or that way,” Winfrey said in an interview with the Associated Press. “He said, ‘I’m going to create my own way,’ and as we can see here, become a force for himself.”
“I think it’s pivotal in everything that we’ve done, everything that we’re doing still, that we continue to try to motivate and inspire people,” Perry said at the opening of his studio. “It doesn’t matter if a million people tell you what you can’t do, or if 10 million tell you no. If you get one yes from God, then that’s all you need.”
His faith in Christ drives him and has made Perry a very strong and dedicated man. He paved the way for many African Americans in the industry as well as millions of others across the globe with his talent alone.
It is clear that Tyler Perry will continue to create and inspire millions of people as he continues on his path to greatness.