Director Tyler Perry was awarded the Ultimate Icon Award at the BET Awards Sunday (June 23) and he gave an acceptance speech to remember.
Introduced by Taraji P. Henson, the writer and filmmaker applauded his mother and all Black women, saying his first ten movies were meant to tell them “you’re worthy, you’re special, you’re powerful.” Perry went on to draw connections between that power and creative ownership. “When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest Black neighborhoods in Atlanta, so that young Black kids could see that a Black man did that, and they can do it too. I was trying to help somebody cross,” Perry said to a standing ovation. “The studio was once a Confederate army base, 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.”
Watch the video of the full speech above.