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Tyler Perry is named WSJ. Magazine’s Entertainment Innovator of the Year: ‘I’ve had to have hope’


Tyler Perry has had a booming month, winning the People’s Choice Award for People’s Champion over the weekend, and now being named WSJ. Magazine’s Entertainment Innovator of the Year. 

Gracing the cover of the magazine’s November Innovator’s Issue, the 51-year-old Hollywood powerhouse – writer, director, producer and studio head – continues to solidify his empire while opening up about the past year’s hardships. 

‘Even after everything that’s going on in the world—the pandemic and the racial inequality and police brutality—I have to remain hopeful. It lives in me.’  

Innovator of the Year: Hollywood powerhouse Tyler Perry, 51, has been crowned WSJ. Magazine’s Innovator of the Year, boasting a Billion dollar net worth and a list of accolades that one could only dream of 

With a net worth of $1 Billion dollars and an undeniable reputation as a prolific business man and all around good natured human being, Perry is the true embodiment of the American dream.

Speaking to WSJ. Magazine about his endless resume of accomplishments that includes 14 tv series, 22 movies and $2B in revenue through Tyler Perry Studios, the magnitude of both his success and hardships as a Black man is not lost on him. 

Touching on the fraught nature of the country and his unwavering spirit he continues, ‘You have to understand where I come from and what I’ve gone through. I’ve had to have hope,’ he says.

Speaking about what he deems some of 2020’s low points – the current racial upheaval, the pandemic, and grappling with the deaths of Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman – Perry did not shy away from opening up and how this year has changed him. 

Hopeful: Despite the soul-crushing nature of 2020, between racial upheaval and the pandemic, Perry has tried his best to remain optimistic by nature of necessity: ‘You have to understand where I come from and what I’ve gone through. I’ve had to have hope’

‘How could it not?’ There’ve been plenty of low points,’ continuing, ‘And then George Floyd for sure. Watching that play out—eight minutes, 46 seconds. Add to that a pandemic, where you’re on lockdown and you could not turn away from cable news. It was definitely beginning to erode my spirit,’ he shared.  

Pushing forward by means of necessity, Perry aims to inspire by urging ‘hope’ while speaking candidly about the plight of Black people. 

‘Here’s what you have to understand, I work with a lot of Black and brown people. So when you say ‘weighing heavily,’ this is our daily lives.’

He continues, ‘But we have to find a way to keep going and find the strength to fight another day. Hope grows inside of people like me, and it’s very, very hard to kill, because from childhood we were always hoping just for something great.’

Studio head: With a sprawling 330-acre Atlanta estate housing Tyler Perry Studios, his television and movie productions have grossed $2B in revenue and was the largest production company to launch its own coronavirus bubble in June

Tyler Perry Studios – which sits atop a sprawling 330-acre estate in Atlanta – came to a screeching halt in March amid the pandemic, threatening the livelihood of 800 employees and his hard earned empire. 

Refusing to fall victim to the unprecedented circumstances of this year, Tyler Perry Studios became the biggest production company in the industry to launch its own coronavirus bubble in June. 

Talking about the incentive to act swiftly he said: 

‘I had several hundred employees…Some of them are former prisoners who were in prison for 10 and 20 years, and they’re just great people who are so grateful to have this second- chance opportunity.’   

Swift action: With the livelihoods of 800 people on his back – some of who were formerly incarcerated and have turned their life around through Perry’s employment – Tyler knew he could not let his employees down amid the pandemic

 He continued, ‘They’ve bought houses and cars, and their lives have changed. So I found myself in a position of, OK, what are you going to do?’

Fellow friend and powerhouse Oprah spoke to the transformative nature of Perry’s character during this time and how the year has shaped him. 

‘I’ve seen a fundamental change in him since that time. It literally changed how he emanates as a human being. His whole vibe changed,’ Winfrey said.  

While making extraordinary professional gains for those in need, his success has also afforded him the lap of luxury.  

Legacy: With a level of success that has afforded him the lap of luxury, Perry now owns two private islands and is building a 35,000 square foot mansion in Atlanta: ‘All of this is about legacy’

Owning two private islands in the Bahamas and a 1200-acre Atlanta lot where he is building a 35,000 sq foot mega mansion, Perry says, ‘All of this is about legacy.’

‘There’s no Black people that have left a monument and a home that ended up being a historic place in this country, to this degree,’ he said. 

‘I just want to be a North Star for any kid, Black or brown—or white—who comes from nothing to realize you can do anything,’ he concluded.   

In addition to all of his good fortune, Perry also received the Television Academy’s 2020 Governors Award at the September Emmys for his ‘his unprecedented achievements in television’ and ‘commitment to offering opportunities to marginalized communities.’

Governors Award: With a lengthy list of accolades and high achievements, Perry recently won the People’s Champion Award at the People’s Choice Awards and the Governor’s Award at the 2020 Emmys; pictured on September 20th

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