Tyler Perry opened his history-making Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta this past weekend, which makes Perry the first black man to own his own studio outright without any backing from partners or big businesses. Perry celebrated the opening of his studio with a star-studded gala that not only looked like the red carpet at the Oscars but included a Destiny’s Child reunion.
DC3 members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland posed together on the red carpet and were later joined inside the party by Beyoncé, who skipped the red carpet with husband Jay-Z, but posted a long and heartfelt message to Perry on Instagram celebrating his incredible achievements. “Generations of blood, sweat and tears, success, excellence and brilliance,” writes Beyoncé. “It makes me so proud, so full, I could not stop crying. Thank you my Virgo brother for so much love and passion put into every detail. My prayer today is that you will take it all in. You inspire me to dream even bigger.”
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Happy Sunday. Congratulations to Tyler Perry on the opening of his studios. I could feel our ancestors’ presence. Surrounded by my heroes, I watched Denzel, Queen Oprah, Spike, Whoopi, Sir Poitier, Will, Halle , Dame Cicely and our angels John Singleton and Diahann Carroll honored. The Armand de Brignac crashed against each soundstage as fireworks lit up the sky. Generations of blood, sweat and tears, success, excellence and brilliance. It makes me so proud, so full, I could not stop crying. Thank you my Virgo brother for so much love and passion put into every detail. My prayer today is that you will take it all in. You inspire me to dream even bigger.
Beyoncé’s mother Tina Lawson also attended Saturday’s gala, snapping a picture with Pauletta Washington, whose husband Denzel Washington had a soundstage named after him. Lawson also shared a picture of herself along with daughter Beyoncé and Rowland, as well as comedian Tiffany Haddish, who we have no doubt made multiple jokes about being the newest member of Destiny’s Child. We could see that.
The evening’s event featured a guest list that essentially brought all of Hollywood to Perry’s hometown of Atlanta, including Whoopi Goldberg, Ava DuVernay, Gayle King, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Diddy, Spike Lee, Usher, Hillary and Bill Clinton and more all in attendance. In addition to Denzel Washington, Will Smith also received his own soundstage, which was dedicated to the multi-talented actor and musician during Saturday’s gala.
Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith posted about the night and the incredible honour of the soundstage’s dedication on social media, sharing videos and pictures from the event. Praising her husband, Pinkett-Smith wrote “You are building such a beautiful legacy around a deeply impactful career in so many ways. I’m very proud of you. Continue to shine light on joy.”
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Me and @jadapinkettsmith clean up NICE! We flew down to ATL to be with @tylerperry as he opened the FIRST and largest Black-Owned studio. This moment is monumental in so many ways! And a sound stage in my name… 😳 I’m inspired and honored to be part of something of this magnitude. @tylerperrystudios 📹: @westbrook @jas
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 800 guests in attendance at Perry’s gala were given a tour of the new 330-acre studios, which includes 12 soundstages named for iconic black entertainers, including Cicely Tyson, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Diahann Carroll, who passed away last week. Perry paid tribute to Carroll in a lengthy and moving Instagram post and spoke to the crowd about the importance of his mentor Oprah Winfrey and a 2005 dinner at Winfrey’s house that inspired Perry to dream bigger.
“In 2005, Oprah invited me to her Legends Ball,” Perry told the crowd. “I saw Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Tom Cruise and Sidney Poitier, and I said, ‘What am I doing here?’ I didn’t know I said it out loud, but Yolanda Adams was sitting next to me and she said, ‘You belong here.’ By the end of the party I said, ‘I’m going to dream bigger.’ It was something about being in Oprah’s house, being in her presence, seeing what a black person had accomplished — it really, really spoke to me.”