There is no doubt that 2020 is Tyler Perry’s time. Earlier this year Perry made history by becoming the first African American to own one of Atlanta’s largest film studios, Tyler Perry Studios, and a few days ago he was breaking records by joining the list of the world’s richest celebrities, according to Forbes magazine. Along with figures such as Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lebron James.
Today we will learn a little more about this man who has forged a successful path in the entertainment industry and has become an inspiration to the black community.
Tyler Perry (originally named Emmitt Perry) was born on September 13, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Unfortunately, he had a difficult childhood as a victim of sexual abuse by his father and four other, more different adults. At 16, trying to escape that terrible situation, he tried to commit suicide and later changed his name to Tyler’s to break like the past.
Perry dropped out of high school, but eventually earned his degree. Trying to find his way professionally, he had a number of unsatisfactory jobs before discovering his true passion.
Upon watching an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, Perry was inspired by a comment from the show on how writing about difficult experiences could lead to personal advances. He began writing a series of letters for himself, which became the basis of the musical “I Know I’ve Been Changed”. While the show addressed such difficult issues as child abuse, it also touched on forgiveness, a theme that has remained central to many of his works and reflects his deep connection with his Christian faith. However, the premiere of the work he directed, produced and starred did not have the success he expected.
Disappointed but determined, Perry continued to do occasional work while reproducing his eagerly awaited show. Being in bankruptcy, Perry was living in his car for a while.
In 1998 he tried, once again, to conquer the audience of the theater. He rented House of Blues in Atlanta for another new production of “I Know I’ve Been Changed” and this time it was better received and after so many years of hard work, he finally won the critical recognition and obtained the desired commercial success.
Perry continued to create new theatrical productions, traveling with them on the so-called “Chitlin Circuit” (now also known as the “street theater circuit”) and gaining a large following among African-American audiences. In 2005, Forbes reported that it had sold “more than $ 100 million in tickets, $ 30 million in videos of its shows, and an estimated $ 20 million in merchandising,” and that “the 300 live shows it produces each year are attended an average of 35,000 people a week. “
Perry raised a budget of $ 5.5 million from ticket sales for his theater productions to finance his first film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which went on to gross $ 50.6 million nationally. , and that it obtained an approval rating of 16%. on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review website. He also made his directorial debut in his next film, an adaptation of “Madea Family Reunion” where he plays his most famous character, Madea, a grandmother with guns and a sharp tongue who has managed to captivate her entire audience and directed all of her his later films, reaching $ 65 million.
Since then, Perry has continued to write, direct, produce and star in films such as “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Meet the Browns,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” “Star Trek,” “Precious,” “The Single Moms Club “,” Gone Girl “,” Vice “or” A Fall from Grace “, among many others, and has worked with actors and actresses such as Gabrielle Union, Angela Basset, Jeniffer Hudson, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton , Taraji P. Henson, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Whoopie Goldberg, Tiffany Haddish or Angelina Jolie.
Perry’s success lies in:
1) have perfected a product that many saw as unprofitable and
2) control everything with your own financing.
It is true that many of his films, especially those of “Madea”, may sin to make a simplistic caricature of black culture and raw comedy with stereotypical and sometimes rude characters and jesters, but at the same time he also has others in which he shows a representation of the strong and independent black woman focused on her female identity , who are applauded by their most target audience, women. By making a comparison, his work is more beneficial than detrimental to the identity or racial experience of viewers.
Perry has always advocated for the self-sustainability of black entrepreneurship and has fought hard against the plight faced by the many black entrepreneurs who are excluded from the industry due to a lack of investor funding, providing an important platform for those black actors and actresses, creators and audiences, which he has achieved with the opening of Tyler Perry Studios, which he has stated on several occasions is a turning point for black entrepreneurs and influential media leaders to work together.
The 50-year-old artist owns all rights to his creative output, including more than 1,200 television episodes, 22 feature films, and at least two dozen plays, as well as a 330-acre studio on the edge of the southern limits of Atlanta. He used that control to sign an exclusive partnership with Oprah Winfrey Network to work on a series of television projects and another deal with ViacomCBS that pays him $ 150 million a year for new content and gives him an equity stake in BET +, the service. broadcast that debuted last September.
Forbes estimates that Perry has earned more than $1.4 billion in tax-free income since 2005, which he used to buy different properties in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as two aircraft. Today, its net worth is estimated at $1billon, with a clear path to future membership in The Forbes 400.
In addition, showing his entrepreneurial spirit, Tyler Perry seeks to achieve the same success as Disney and Universal and plans to build restaurants, shops, an entertainment complex with a theater and a theme park-like experience. In addition, their social commitment to planning housing for trafficked women and young LGBTQ and an academy to teach children the benefits of financial education are also added.
Writer, director, producer and actor of films, series and theater, Tyler Perry has joined the list of black entrepreneurs who have changed and are changing the way business is done.
It is not easy to succeed and achieve, not only visibility but to compete to the highest level with what has always been the target stablishment in the audiovisual industry. Tyler Terry has not only achieved this but is far above traditional entrepreneurs and figures in the industry. His commitment, effort and the fact that he had to overcome difficulties and very harsh personal conditions make him an example for all generations.