Actor / scriptwriter / director / producer Tyler Perry added another job title to his already long and impressive resume: studio owner. Tyler Perry Studio opened in Atlanta, GA, on Saturday, October 5, 2019. The new facility is 330-acres (134-hectare) with twelve sound stages, on land once used as a Confederate army base during the Civil War.
The family and friends who came to celebrate the opening of the studio included a virtual constellation of some of Hollywood’s best and brightest stars. Oprah Winfrey (Mrs.Which in A Wrinkle in Time , Spike Lee (director of Malcolm X), Cicely Tyson (Miss Jane in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury in the MCU), Halle Berry (Storm in the X-Men franchise, Catwoman in John Rogers‘ Catwoman, China Anne McClain (Lightning in Black Lightning, Uma in The Descendants 2 and 3), and a host of others, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z .
Each of the twelve sound stages are named after groundbreaking African-American actors and actresses, including Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte, Denzel Washington, and Perry’s late mother, Willie Maxine Perry.
Tyler Perry Studios is the first ever fully Black-owned film studio lot. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, the studio has no proprietary partners or corporate backing. Samuel L. Jackson said “This is more about Tyler the entrepreneur. The visionary. A guy who understands that ownership means that you can do what you want.”
Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan in Star Trek: the Next Generation) said in an interview with 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. He’s never on his knees. He gets what he needs because he provided it.”
The studio is expected to become a major benefit for the Georgia economy. The movies Black Panther and Hidden Figures proved that audiences of all colors will watch primarily Black movies if the script is good.
Tyler Perry paid his respects to the late Diahann Carroll at the studio grand opening. Speaking before an audience of 800 invitees, he spoke of the impact he’d like to make at the studios’ grand opening. “If I can get you to leave this weekend feeling like I did that day, we’re going to change some major things in this world. Sometimes your dreams are on life support. You don’t know if you’ll make it, but being exposed to something bigger can give your dreams the life it needs,” he added.
“If I can build studios on this land that was once a confederate army base….” The crowd burst into applause, as Perry added, “We all get to stand here equally — black, white, whatever — this is the American dream.”
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.