Tyler Perry Talks Building Studio On Former Confederate Base, His Storytelling Being Born Out Of Pain & More

Tyler Perry is a creative force to be reckoned with, and he says that he feels as though he is just getting started.

Perry sat down with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King at his 330-acre movie studio complex in Atlanta, where they spoke about the “poetic justice” of building the studio on a former confederate Army base, his storytelling being born out of pain, his son being his healer & the studio’s next phase, which will include a compound for displaced LGBTQ Youth and trafficked women.

“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.”

The 50-year-old writer, director, and actor went on to share that his journey of telling stories “was born out of pain.” He said it was, “Born out of heartache, born out of being an abused kid who could go inside of his head and create a world and imagination.” 

Perry continued by saying that the “Same abused kid watching his mother… getting beat and there’s nothing he can do, my desire and heart to make her laugh and feel better was so strong. And you know, if I could make a joke or if I could imitate her or my aunt and make her laugh, or some of the women she played cards with on Friday nights, all of that was so powerful and so important to me.”

Perry also spoke about raising his 4-year old son, Amon, and said that his son is his “healer.” He recalled a time where he had to discipline him because he was giving the nanny trouble, so he got down eye-to-eye and started talking to him.

He said, “I’m talking to him, I’m telling him how I much I love mom, and I love him and how disrespectful this is, and how disappointed I am that he’s behaving this way. ‘You’re such a smart kid. Why are you doing this? You can’t behave this way ’cause other kids do that…”

Tyler Perry Talks Opening Studio
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)

Perry continued, “So I’m trying to finish, and he’s just crying…'” Perry said. “He said, ‘Papa, I’m so sorry’ … I run out of the room without him noticing it, because it broke me. I realized that nobody had ever talked to me like a person as a child … Nobody had ever talked to me like a human being. Right? So that’s what I mean when I say, my healer.”

When asked what he wished would be the legacy for his body of work, he replied that he’s actually most excited about the next phase in the project. Perry said he is working on building a compound onsite for, “Trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced and having a compound that is a beautiful place right here somewhere on this 330 acres, where they are trained in the business, and they become self-sufficient and they live in nice apartments, there’s daycare, there’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to re-enter society, and then pay it forward again.”

Perry’s compound currently features a dozen soundstages named after black icons in Hollywood, in addition to having the first full-scale replica of the White House.

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