One could almost hear Tyler Perry’s Madea bellowing her signature greeting, “Hellur!” as a brigade of media passed through the gates of the former Army Confederate base that has been transformed into a spectacular, sprawling film complex called Tyler Perry Studios.
At a 330-acre compound out just south of downtown Atlanta, Tyler Perry Studios is being hailed as both the largest movie studio in America and the first to ever be own outright by an African American.
Every one of the A-list celebrities, who are used to being marveled over, were awestruck by Tyler Perry’s monumental and historic creation. In fact, the sight of Perry’s masterful studios along with the majesty of the star-studded grand opening reduced both Oprah Winfrey and Beyonce to tears.
“He has become a force for himself. I’m very proud of him,” Winfrey exclaimed. “The significance of what this means, that he did it his own way and created this incredible place. Just incredible!”
Samuel L. Jackson, donning his signature Kango and matching Navy blue suit, said, “This is about (Perry) the entrepreneur and a guy who understands that ownership means that you can do whatever you want.”
One venerated actress wondered aloud why it took until 2019 for this magical place to come to fruition.
“Why did it take so long?” Whoopi Goldberg told the Hollywood Reporter. “Why was he the first to get it? Now he’s the man who makes the decisions, chooses the movies, and he doesn’t have to ask anybody for shit.
“There’s nothing better than that,” she added. “He’s never on his knees. He gets what he needs because he provided it.”
The Oscar-winning Goldberg (1990’s “Ghost”) was one of the living and late legends that Perry dedicated his 12 massive sound stage studios. He also named his other studios after the likes of Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, the late Diahann Carol, and even Spike Lee, the iconic but cantankerous director of “Do the Right Thing” who famously beefed with Perry over the last decade.
Perry has also been carrying on a silent beef with Tinseltown, saying that he has been ignored by the traditional Hollywood power structure despite his box office blockbuster movies and a blizzard of hit TV shows.
But with a jaw-dropping guest list that included Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Denzel Washington, Ava DuVernay, Patti LaBelle, Jeezy, Jeannie Mai, Jill Scott, Monica, Michael Ealy and scores of other stars, it seems Perry will be ignored no longer.
Tyler Perry Studios is the manifestation of a powerful dream that began to take root when Perry sojourned to Atlanta in the early 1990s, broken and penniless, living out of his car and armed only with an unassailable hope.
“Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land,” Perry said. “So when I got here, this whole state and city have been amazing to me and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
And Perry’s not going to trade Atlanta in for another city, despite Georgia’s controversial anti-abortion law that has the entertainment business in an uproar.
“Also, I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio. So when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can’t just up and leave,” Perry said.