Tyler Perry is changing the game.
The director, screenwriter, producer and playwright has marked his chapter in history books, as he has become the only Black man to own a major movie studio in the U.S. According to Essence, celebrities came out in droves on Saturday (Oct. 5) to celebrate the grand opening of his studio in Atlanta.
Big names such as Oprah Winfrey, Cecily Tyson, Taraji P. Henson, Jill Scott and Whoopi Goldberg made appearances at the star-studded gala, which was held at Perry’s new 330-acre lot. Other Hollywood heavyweights such as Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Beyoncé, JAY-Z and Halle Berry were in attendance as well.
Back in June, Perry revealed during his BET Awards acceptance speech that he planned to build a studio in one of the poorest Black neighborhoods in Atlanta. “When I built my studio, [it was in the] poorest Black neighborhood in Atlanta so the kids can see that a Black man did that and they can too,” Perry said at the time.
The studio once served as a Confederate army base and has sound stages named after Black actors, such as Will Smith.
Oprah Winfrey gushed about her friend’s latest accomplishment while on the red carpet. “He didn’t wait for other people to validate or to say you should go this way or that way. He said I’m going to create my own way and as we can see here, become a force for himself,” she told The Associated Press. “I remember when he was thinking about buying this place and I said ‘You’d be crazy not to take it,’” Winfrey added.
Cicely Tyson also graced the red carpet of the grand opening. “I would come straight down from Heaven to experience this moment,” Tyson told Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News. “Believe me, I wouldn’t miss it.”
Check out a clip of Tyler Perry at the grand opening of his Atlanta studio below.