On Saturday Tyler Perry will officially open his Tyler Perry Studios, a $250 million facility in Atlanta, which used to be Fort McPherson Army base.
And in doing so, the 50-year-old will make history, because he’ll be the first African-American to own his own studio without the backing of an outside entity.
Despite the studio officially launching on Saturday, it’s been used for the past two years before it was completed.
In June, Perry was honored with the Ultimate Icon award at the BET Awards, and he spoke about the irony of buying property that used to be a Confederate Army base, plus, the powerful feeling of ownership.
“[It] meant that there were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved, and now that land is owned by one Negro,” he said during the speech. “So while you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.”
Perry is reportedly expecting about 800 guests at Saturday’s opening, with a who’s-who list of Black Hollywood invited. People like Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Oprah Winfrey are all supposed to be in attendance.
Plus, 12 soundstages are named after black actors and filmmakers, such as Will Smith, John Singleton, Della Reese and Sidney Poitier. Washington, Goldberg and Winfrey have soundstages in their names as well.
“I am paying tribute to people who have inspired me, who all paved a brick for me to be here,” Perry told the Los Angeles Times.
“Denzel is the greatest actor of all time. Will Smith is the biggest movie star in the world. Of course, there is Oprah, and all that she has meant to me,” he added. “They’re all tremendously important to me. And John Singleton, I wish he could be here. But his mother will be here. … I want this to be a self-sustaining place where companies can come here and they don’t have to leave.”