US actor Tyler Perry attracted an A-List of American celebrities to the christening of his massive new film studios in Atlanta, Georgia at the weekend.
The film studio, Atlanta’s first is on 330-acres (134-hectares) that once served as a Confederate army base. The site was called Fort McPherson army base. Now it is Tyler Perry Studios.
Among the celebrities at the event were Oprah Winfrey, who Perry said inspired the studios, Spike Lee, Cicely Tyson, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Beyonce and others.
The attendees warmly greeted Perry, a man who had once been homeless and yet now helmed his own studio, one of the nation’s largest, ABC News reported.
“I think it’s pivotal in everything that we’ve done, everything that we’re doing still, that we continue to try to motivate and inspire people,” Perry told The Associated Press as he shook hands with well-wishers.
Winfrey praised Perry and told the AP the new studio head is a force to be reckoned with.
“He didn’t wait for other people to validate or to say you should go this way or that way. He said I’m going to create my own way and as we can see here, become a force for himself,” Winfrey said.
“I remember when he was thinking about buying this place and I said ‘You’d be crazy not to take it.'” she added.
Samuel L. Jackson pointed to Perry’s vision as the key to his ascent.
“This is more about Tyler the entrepreneur. The visionary. A guy who understands that ownership means that you can do what you want,” Jackson said as he paused along the red carpet.
Tyler Perry Studios has 12 soundstages, each named after seminal black actors and actresses.
The legends honoured by Perry are Cicely Tyson, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belefonte, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Diahann Carroll.