When Tyler Perry accepted the Icon Award at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday night, he gave a whole word—fit for any pulpit on Sunday morning.
The acclaimed director also spoke on the truth about where he built his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta; and the inspirational reason why he chose the property.
“When I built my studio,” Perry explained, “[it was in the] poorest Black neighborhood in Atlanta so the kids can see that a Black man did that and they can too.”
“The studio was once a confederate army base,” he said of the land, known as Fort McPherson, which was previously used as a Confederate Army base during Civil War, when the south fought to keep Black people enslaved.
According to his website, Perry purchased 330 acres of the land in June 2015, which now holds 12 sound stages for movie productions.
Onstage, Perry added that although the land started off as a place where soldiers were “plotting and planning…to keep negroes enslaved, now that land is owned by one negro.”
“I don’t want to be an icon,” the director continued, “I want to be an inspiration.”
Perry concluded his inspirational acceptance speech, by giving advice to “every dreamer in this room.”
“Own your stuff,” he advised. “Own your business.”
And that’s a word.