Tyler Perry has long been a proponent of non-conformity and in Hollywood, the seemingly prolific one-man band says because of this, the industry has overlooked the magnitude of his impact.
“I clearly believe that I’m ignored in Hollywood, for sure, and that’s fine. I get it,” Perry told Gayle King in an interview for “CBS This Morning” ahead of the opening of his new film studio Tyler Perry Studios, which he owns outright.
“My audience and the stories that I tell are African-American stories specific to a certain audience, specific to a certain group of people that I know, that I grew up, and we speak a language,” he added. “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?’”
Perry, 50, said he knew the reach of the work he’s done and understood the industry’s hesitation over his projects, adding that it’s been his mission to speak to the people with whom he identified since he broke into the fold as the beloved Madea, one of a litany of characters he created early on.
“I know what I do is important. I know what I do touches millions of people around the world,” he added. “I know how important every word, every joke, every laugh [is]. I know what that does for the people where I come from and the people that I’m writing for. So, yeah, I get that.”
Perry welcomed a who’s who of celebrity talent to usher in the new headquarters for his TV and film studio in Atlanta – including Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, a Destiny’s Child reunion.
Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg and Viola Davis also were on hand to ring in the affair with the “Alex Cross” star who became the first African-American filmmaker to own his own major film studio.
Last month, Perry opened up about Georgia’s controversial “heartbeat” abortion law that has angered many in Hollywood and sparked calls to boycott filming in the state. Perry said he disagrees with the sentiment.
“Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land,” Perry told The Associated Press last month. “So, when I got here, this whole state and city has been amazing to me and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. 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.”
The law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy before many women realize they’re expecting. The law is set to become enforceable Jan. 1, although a judge temporarily blocked it last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.