Tyler Perry has big plans for his new studio complex in Atlanta—and we’re not just talking about film projects.
In conjunction with the studio’s grand opening last week, Perry sat down with CBS This Morning to discuss how he intends to use the property to assist displaced LGBTQ youth and homeless women.
“I tell you what I’m most excited about next is that pulling this next phase off is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced,” said Perry, who has become the first African-American to outright own a major studio. “And having a compound that is a beautiful place…where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient, they live in nice apartments, there’s daycare, there’s all these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society and then pay it forward again. So, that’s what I hope to do soon.”
Perry also pointed out that the studio was also built on a former Confederate army base—a fact that he says further underscores the historic and cultural significance of the complex.
“Think about the poetic justice in that,” he said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”
Elsewhere in the CBS interview, Perry opened up about feeling “ignored” in Hollywood and being dismissed by critics.
“I get it. My audience and the stories that I tell are African-American stories specific to a certain audience, specific to a certain group of people who I know, that I grew up, and we speak a language,” he said. “Hollywood doesn’t necessarily speak the language. A lot of critics don’t speak that language. So, to them, it’s like, ‘What is this?”
He continued: “… But I know what I do is important. I know what I do touches millions of people around the world. I know how important every word, every joke, every laugh [does]. I know what that does for the people where I come from and the people who I’m writing for. So, yeah, I get that.”
The Tyler Perry Studios complex spans 330 acres and houses 12 sound stages, with lots named after black Hollywood icons, including Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, and his former foe Spike Lee.
During a recent interview with TMZ, Perry spoke about his relationship with Lee and their decision to finally squash the tension between them.
“I don’t care if you have beef with somebody, it is what it is, but the truth cannot deny what he has done in the film industry and how he’s been on the forefront of me and everybody else get to the place where we are,” Perry told the outlet. “Spike called me years ago, he came to my house, we sat down and had a great conversation, and the beauty is that’s what I hope people understand. When Oprah and I worked together, it was a huge moment; this moment with me and Spike is a huge moment. So I’m hoping that we as people start to come together and understand that hey, everything’s alright.”