Tyler Perry is in no rush to have difficult race-related conversations with his son. The studio owner opened up about his reason for avoiding the challenging discussions in the latest edition of The AARP Magazine.
“I haven’t had the conversation with Aman because he’s only 7, and I want to hold out as long as I can,” he told the publication. Perry and his former girlfriend Gelila Bekele welcomed their first child together in November 2014. Perry said that part of his logic behind delaying conversations about race is because he wants his son to hold on to his childhood naivety.
“I don’t want to tell him that there are people who will judge him because of the color of his skin, because right now he’s in a school with every race and all these kids are in their purest form,” said the Alex Cross actor. He added, “When he describes his friends, he never defines them by race. So, the moment he loses that innocence is going to be a very, very sad day for me.”
Though he may be putting off unveiling the harsh realities of a society grappling with racism, Perry said that he knows the day he has that difficult conversation is approaching. “He’s already asking some really tough questions. What I want him to be, more than anything, is somebody who sees injustice, speaks out against it, and effects change,” said Perry.
Perry resides on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. A city that has deep ties to racism, segregation and the civil rights movement. In 2020, the New Orleans native opened his eponymous film studio on a 330-acre lot that was once used as a Confederate Army base during the Civil War.
“When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young black kids can see that a black man did that and they can do it too,” said Perry while accepting the Icon Award at the 2019 BET Awards.