When most people (well including me) hear the name Tyler Perry the first thing that comes into our heads is that black film director or actor who writes inspirational and comical African-American plays, films and many others or maybe the first thing we think of is ‘Madea’. But there’s more to Tyler Perry than we see everywhere today. I’m going to take you deep into the life of a man who has truly inspired me.
This is his story…
Tyler Perry was born in September 1969 in New Orleans to Emmitt Perry Sr. and Willie Maxine Perry. His name was formerly Emmitt Perry Jr. before he changed it. Tyler did not have the best childhood experience as he grew up in poverty and he was abused as a child.
He was physically abused by his father more often than not. He once described his father as “a man whose answer to everything was to beat it out of you.” He was sexually abused by almost anyone of any gender that could lay their hands on him since he was 5. The only person he had was his mother who would take him to church every Sunday. She is the inspiration behind the character Madea.
In order to be detached and aloof from his father he changed his name to Tyler. The abuse led to a broken relationship and unforgiveness as he grew up. Tyler was broke and full of despair;he never felt safe in and out of his house. He once tried to commit suicide to save himself from brutality and all the hurt.
One day, while watching Oprah Winfrey interview a guest, the speaker said “Writing can help overcome depression and it provides strength”
This touched his heart and he was moved to write his first script: ‘I Know I’ve Been Changed’. He rented out theatre in Atlanta but, unfortunately for him, it didn’t attract an audience. Bummer. Despite all this, he did not give up and he rewrote and reproduced the musical repeatedly.
To earn a living he had to take odd jobs and he even started living in his car. In 1998, six years later, Tyler was offered a second chance to perform his drama before people and this time it was a huge success! Tyler’s stories are of prayer, faith, forgiveness, strength, weaknesses, achievements, failures and problems of the African-Americans. His unashamed embrace of the redeeming power of God and family took him from brokeness and poverty to fame and success.
Tyler Perry is now 46 years old and is famous as an actor, screenwriter, playwright, director, producer, author and songwriter. His net worth is $400 million. Imagine what came out of a man with an awful past. Imagine if he actually committed suicide…
A few things I learnt from Tyler Perry
- Forgiveness is not easy but it frees you. “When you haven’t forgiven those who hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking towards it”- Tyler Perry.
- Your beginning never dictates your destination. It doesn’t matter if you have gone though hell-like situations or if you are down too deep in a hole of failure and suffering, something good will always come out of it if you stop trying to do it all by yourself when God can help you all alone.
- Perseverance is very key. Don’t give up because it’s hard, you’re stronger than that.
- Your experiences make you who you are whether they are bad or good. Everything you went through was for a reason. Don’t be ashamed of where you come from.
- People talk, but it isn’t what they call you but what you answer to -Madea
- Never forget God. Simple yet important.
- LAUGH! (Learn to laugh and smile more)
Some of his works: