Actor and movie producer Tyler Perry accepted the BET Awards’ Ultimate Icon Award on Sunday with a passionate speech that left many inspired and emotional.
Tyler Perry opened up about the dark history behind his Atlanta studio and how he became friends with a man who needed help crossing a busy school intersection.
Here are four quotes from his speech:
‘I’ll help you cross’
“Six-lane intersection [nearby], there was a man standing there saying, ‘Will someone help me cross? Will someone help me cross?’ And there were all these people that kept passing by and passing by. And I said, ‘I’ll help you cross.’
“It reminded me of my mother, bringing out of her pain with laughter, helping her cross.”
“The studio was once a Confederate Army base, I want you to hear this, which meant that there was Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million negroes enslaved. Now that land is owned by one negro.”
A seat at the table
“While everybody else is fighting for a seat at the table, talking about ‘#OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoWhite,’ I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that. While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.’ Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.”
“Rather than being an icon, I want to be an inspiration… I want you to hear this: Every dreamer in this room, there are people whose lives are tied to your dream. Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.