Georgia became home to what is touted to be the nation’s first significant studio owned by a black man on October 5.
Dozens of well known African American celebrities joined actor Tyler Perry in celebrating the official opening of Tyler Perry Studios at Fort McPherson, 5 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.
The grand opening attracted hundreds of A-list personalities to the site formerly occupied by a Confederate Army base, which was extensively used during the American Civil War between the years 1861 and 1865.
Essence revealed some of the big names included singers Jay Z, Beyoncé, Patti LaBelle, and Jill Scott as well as actresses Whoopi Goldberg, Cecily Tyson, Taraji Henson, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Halle Berry.
Film directors Spike Lee and Ava DuVernay were joined by Rep. John Lewis (D–Ga.), former Rep. Stacey Abrams (D–Ga.), and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. Bernice King
Perry explained the reason he chose the site was because it was the “poorest black neighbourhood in Atlanta” when he was growing up, and he wanted his 12 sound stages for movie productions to inspire black children to reach for the stars.
“The kids can see that a Black man did that, and they can too,” he said, according to Essence.
One of the sound stages at the studio is being dedicated to late actress Diahann Carroll whose determination inspired Perry to persevere.
“Thank you, Ms. Carroll, for how you showed the world that black people are special, strong, beautiful, and powerful,” Perry said on Facebook.
“I know you will live on in our hearts, but I’m so glad to know that your name will live on at stage five at Tyler Perry Studios. Thank you for letting me honour you and thank you for lending your legend to my studio to inspire generations to come.”