Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry Grace the June Issue of ESSENCE
Kwaku Alston

We all need somebody to lean on — even Oprah Winfrey.
In the June 2013 issue of ESSENCE magazine, cover stars Winfrey and Tyler Perry describe the ways they’ve helped and inspired each other through the years — a friendship and partnership that has culminated in a TV deal giving Winfrey exclusive rights to broadcast all the original shows written, directed and produced by Perry this year and ever after.

“We both know how rare this is,” says Oprah. “Where else in the history of our African-American culture have two really, really successful people who can do whatever they want said, ‘Let’s come together and be even more powerful—let’s take it to the tenth power?'”

On mixing their friendship with business, Perry adds, “…The most important thing about coming together was making sure we would not lose our friendship because of the business. We had to establish ground rules. The main one: Both of us have to continue to live in our truth. If she doesn’t like something, say it. If I don’t like something, I’ll say it. And we’ll figure it out and keep moving on…”
For Perry, working with Oprah on new OWN shows like the drama The Haves and the Have Nots (premiering May 28) and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor (May 29) “challenged me to push myself in terms of my writing and level of thinking,” he says. “I’m hoping that the energy of our coming together will go out to other people.”
For more from our exclusive conversation between Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry — including the story of how they met, their ground rules for working together, and why they no longer think in terms of racial experiences — pick up the June 2013 issue of ESSENCE magazine, on stands May 10.


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