S1 E5 | Tyler Perry (Part 2)
What separates the success stories from the failures? For award-winning producer, director, writer, and actor Tyler Perry, it’s sheer perseverance and divine timing. During the second part of a special two-part episode of “Love & Respect with Killer Mike,” the multi-media tycoon discusses his journey to the top, his tremendous work ethic, and what’s next.
Though success seems to come both easily for the studio owner, he’s quick to share with host Killer Mike that that was not always the case. He says, “After seven years of the shows failing, I went to the 14th street playhouse here in Atlanta. It was March 1998, and the show sold out. Then the Fox theater? Sold out. All 4,500 seats.” The “show” in question was “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” the play that launched his now multi-million dollar entertainment empire. For many years, the former playwright paid for the production of each play by himself, and took on the lion’s share of the work — writing, directing, promoting, and eventually starring as Madea. That work took a toll on him both mentally and financially. He’s not ashamed to share that at one point he was flat broke, surviving off of packaged grocery store cookies for weeks at a time.
The media mogul acknowledges that his humble beginnings are what spurs his spirit of giving — whether that’s through his foundation or on his own. After years spent living without, it’s easy to empathize with others. “When we talk about being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? I’ve been there,” he tells Killer Mike. “There” includes his origins in New Orleans. A Big Easy native, Perry is quick to point out that for people from the city like himself, it wasn’t all Mardi Gras and Laissez les bons temps rouler. He adds, “Coming from New Orleans, you had to hustle to survive. I think that mentality truly comes from the very culture of the city.” He also credits his father with his work ethic. The creative says, “One thing my father gave me, the man had the most stupid work ethic.” Whether it was rain, sleet, or snow, his father worked. And despite the fact that the pair no longer speak, he continues to provide for his dad, considering it payback. Perry says, “Financially we were never hungry, and the lights were never off, so I give him that. I feel good about that.”
There is so much more for the Atlanta transplant to feel good about. Perry’s film studio, one of the largest in the country, isn’t just historic, it provides for the Atlanta economy, and the city has Former Mayor Kasim Reed to thank for that. “I called Kasim, I was going to leave the city…I wanted land, I wanted more space,” he continues. It was Reed who introduced the filmmaker to Fort McPherson. At 487 acres, the decommissioned US Army base was perfect for a functioning film studio. And in 2006, Tyler Perry Studios opened, providing jobs to residents in the East Atlanta area and beyond. All of that came from ownership. Even while working for others to help finance his plays, Perry says he made sure to own his work. He says, “If you’re starting a business, or even working for someone else, ownership is where it all begins.” He likens ownership to a tree trunk, and all of the branches (plays, movies, shows, etc.) spring from it.
So what is the next branch on the Tyler Perry tree? His legacy. “Everything is about my son, whatever he wants to do. I just want him to be an incredible man,” he says. The father-of-one also keeps his eye out for fresh talent to invest in. Perry adds, “It’s very much about who is next? I am looking for those kids, who are special, and different and unique.” Feeling a special connection with these future mavericks-in-the-making, the producer says he is specifically looking for kids who have been “ostracized, and criticized and [have] gone through hell” because he has gone through it, and he knows what it takes to get to the other side. Perry has failed, and he’s grateful for it. “All of those moments leading up to it [the March 1998 show]…I thought I was failing. Every moment was preparing me to be the person I am now,” he says. That person is a “dream confirmed,” an owner, a hustler, a philanthropist, a visionary, and an extraordinary talent. A success.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.
On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.
“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.
The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.
Check out our gift guide that highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds in time for Black Friday.
After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.
Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University
On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).
In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.
Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'
Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.
On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!
Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'
On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!
Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'
On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.
For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!
This is the inspiring story of Karen Washington, a pioneering urban farmer who has been revolutionizing urban spaces by transforming them into vibrant community gardens and educational hubs. Sponsored by State Farm.
Lauren London sparks conversation on how Black parents unintentionally give kids negative outlook on money
At the live taping of “Assets Over Liabilities” at REVOLT WORLD, Lauren London opened up about how witnessing the financial decisions adults made during her childhood fueled her outlook on money.
“Every time I’m in trouble, it’s been Black men that have come to my aid,” Madam DA Fani Willis said at REVOLT WORLD while speaking on the stereotype that they are not dependable or worth dating.
Black media leaders stress the space's importance because we're always antagonists in mainstream's storytelling
“I definitely feel those ‘heavier is the crown’ moments. But I also believe that Black entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to be successful in the future,” Detavio Samuels said at AfroTech.