Tyler Perry has won our hearts with his many movies and TV shows, both the comic ones and the action films. But Madea was the blow that broke the camels back. He got us all hooked to this character for year, we almost could not distinguish between Tyler Perry as a person and Madea. The story of Mr Perry was that of a very humble beginnings and on today’s throwback Thursday, we look at the life of Tyler Perry.
Emmitt Perry Jr. now goes by the name of Tyler Perry was born on September 13, 1969, in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of four children. Tyler Perry had a difficult childhood, suffering years of abuse at the hands of his carpenter father. He once described his father as a man “whose answer to everything was to beat it out of you”.Tyler Perry has forged a highly successful path in the entertainment industry. Perry also had problems outside the home, as he later admitted he was sexually abused by four different adults.
Perry was inspired from watching an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, particularly by a comment on the program about how writing about difficult experiences could lead to personal breakthroughs. He started a series of letters to himself, which became the basis for the musical I Know I’ve Been Changed. While the show tackled such tough subjects as child abuse, it also touched on forgiveness, a theme which has remained central in many of his works and reflects his deep connection to his Christian faith.
After saving up $12,000, Perry debuted the show which he directed, produced, and starred in at an Atlanta theater in 1992. The musical’s run lasted only one weekend and drew just 30 audience.
But Perry didn’t stop there, he continued to work odd jobs while reworking the show. He staged the show in several other cities, but didn’t get the success he expected. Perry was living out of his car for a time. He told Essence magazin:
“Can you imagine a six-foot-five man sleeping in a Geo Metro?”
In 1998, Perry tried one more time to win over theater audiences. He rented out the House of Blues in Atlanta for another production of I Know I’ve Been Changed. Soon Perry was performing to sellout crowds and the musical was moved to a larger theater. After so many years of hard work, he had finally earned critical acclaim as well as commercial success.
The Birth of Madea
For his next project, Perry worked on an adaptation of evangelist T. D. Jakes’s book Woman, Thou Art Loosed, which proved to be quite popular. His next effort, however, brought to life his most famous character, Madea.
In addition to his numerous plays and movies, Perry wrote the 2006 best-selling book, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life. The book went on to win two Quill Awards—Book of the Year and Best in Humor.
We all know how the story continues, from one success to another, and in 2019 he announced the opening of the $250 million Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.