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Tyler Perry Says Hollywood Is Focused on Money, Not Race

Tyler Perry counts Bill Cosby as one of his inspirations. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Tyler Perry doesn’t believe Hollywood is focused on race but on cash.

“Listen, let me tell you something about what I know about Hollywood,” he told The Holywood Reporter when asked about Tinseltown’s respect for Black filmmakers. “I don’t think it’s Black and white, I think it’s green. It’s just about, ‘Where’s the money? How do we make the money? How do we make the business grow?’ It’s all about the money. So, whatever’s making the money is where the respect is going to be.”

Hollywood has long had a problem with inclusion, as shown by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which exposed the lack of Black representation during the 2015 and 2016 awards season. The 2017 Oscars saw several history-making moments for Black cinema and director F. Gary Gray has become the highest-earning Black movie director.

That kind of representation is valuable and for Perry, the impact of seeing another Black person on screen was more inspiring than the work of fellow director Steven Spielberg.

“Hands down, Cosby and Oprah,” he told THR of his role models. “Because we had the same color skin. It let me know that it was possible. I could look at Steven Spielberg, whom I admire, and I’m blown away by what he does. But, at that time, I didn’t think I could be Steven Spielberg. That wasn’t an example that was set for me. But seeing someone with my same color skin make it, be successful, own their product, own their show and have their own path made me go, ‘OK, there’s something here, and you can do it, too.’ ”

Although Perry lauded Barack Obama’s 2008 election as a moment he was judged on the “content of his character, period,” he realizes race is still an issue.

“There is anger in the country that is just finding a voice and finding a way to sprout and grow,” he said. “And it’s dangerous. And you have to be very, very careful when you start walking that path.”

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