Tyler Perry Receives Humanitarian Award
One of the highest honors given out by the Academy Awards was presented to Georgia resident and successful filmmaker Tyler Perry for his personal contributions to various social causes and his selfless assistance to those in need. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is an honor given out periodically to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.
Perry is well known in Metro Atlanta and around the country for his acts of kindness including paying for groceries for seniors and providing financial assistance to black families whose loved one have been killed by police. Most notable is Perry’s creation of Camp Quarantine at his production studio, which allowed creatives and artists to continue working during the pandemic quarantine.
As he accepted his honor, Perry pointed to his mother as his inspiration and willingly recalled for the audience his own homeless past which he says serves as motivation for him to help others. During his rousing speech, which seemed like an endeavor on his part to unite an often-divided country, Perry shared how his mother taught him to refuse hate and “blanket judgment.” Perry urged everyone to “refuse hate” as he shared a story about helping a woman in need obtain a pair of shoes, and how it served as a lesson to him in withholding judgement.
Said Perry, “I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle,” he concluded,”… because that’s where healing happens, that’s where conversation happens, that’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So, anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one’s for you, too.”
In closing, Perry said, “Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are Black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate…That’s where conversations happen,” he said. “That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle.”
In a later interview, Perry pointed to what he sees as a polarized America as motivation for his speech saying, “Everybody has grabbed a corner and a color, nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation.”