In Search of Inspiration: Tyler Perry

In Search of Inspiration: Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry

By Spence Finlayson

NASSAU, Bahamas – I have always admired Tyler Perry and last year I bought his book “Higher is Waiting” and I literally could not put this book down. I like his writing style and the book is easy to read.

I then tuned into Joel Osteen church and there he was preaching and doing an excellent job. While watching him preach, I said to Tyler Perry myself “wow, this man is loaded with gifts and talents.”

In the introduction of his book, Tyler Perry writes “Ever since I was a little boy I’ve known that there was something greater than myself, something bigger, something stronger, and something higher. This Holy Force was protecting me, loving me and keeping me close. It was helping me live through physical pain and emotional heartache and guiding me to envision and believe in extraordinary possibilities despite all the challenges I faced in my life. It was revealing insights into the connection of all souls. It was pointing to the generosity and beauty of nature’s gifts. It was offering unyielding hope. It gave me faith so strong that nothing, not human being nor horrendous event, could destroy it. This inner knowledge and strength was so real to me when I was a child as my own breath. Today I know, without a doubt , that what I was experiencing then and what I continue to experience now, is the essence , power, and Grace of God . There is no other explanation for the ways in which my life has unfolded and the way it continues to grow.”

The mastermind behind 17 feature films, 20 stage plays, seven television shows, a New York Times bestselling book, Tyler has built an empire that has attracted audiences and built communities, from the Tyler Perry Studios home base in Atlanta, Georgia, throughout the world.

Celebrated “among the pantheon of today’s greatest cinematic innovators,” his unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor continues to shape his inspiring life story, connecting always leaving space to dream.

Tyler’s legacy is the modern epitome of the American dream.

Born and raised in New Orleans, his childhood was marked by poverty and a household scarred by abuse.

From a young age, Tyler learned to write down his daily thoughts and experiences in a series of soul-searching letters to himself – advice he gleaned from Oprah Winfrey that ultimately set his career in motion.

Characterized by strength, faith, and determination during a turbulent adolescence, these letters provided Tyler with the inspiration to delve into writing his first play, I Know I’ve Been Changed in 1992.

Saving every last dollar, Tyler staged the play for what he hoped would be a packed audience, but the seats remained empty. Never would he have imagined that six years later, that same play would sell out a local run, forcing the production to move to the acclaimed Fox Theatre in Atlanta, or that in 2015, his original play, Madea on the Run, would be sold out in theaters nationwide.

“My biggest success is getting over the things that have tried to destroy and take me out of this life. Those are my biggest successes. It has nothing to do with work.”

Newly established in the world of theater, Tyler wrote thirteen plays over the next thirteen years, including Woman Thou Art Loosed! and I Can Do Bad All By Myself, the first appearance of renowned character Madea.

With the popularization of the God-fearing, gun-toting grandma, Tyler made the leap to film in 2005 with Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which debuted at number one in the United States.

Then, of course, came Madea’s Family Reunion, Daddy’s Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, Meet the Browns, The Family That Preys, and countless other celebrated hits. In 2006, the world saw the publication of Tyler’s first book, Don’t Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings:

Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries On Life And Love, a New York Times bestseller for eight straight weeks. It went on to claim Quill Book Awards for both Humor and Book of the Year and spread Tyler Perry’s unique brand of inspirational entertainment to a devoted new audience.

“I want to own a network. I want to own a network where you can turn it on with your family all day long and get positive reinforcement.”

In 2007, Tyler expanded his reach to television with the TBS series House of Payne, the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time, which went into syndication after only a year.

His follow up effort, Meet the Browns, was the second highest debut ever on cable – after House of Payne.

In late 2012, Tyler teamed up with Oprah to bring scripted programming to her cable network, OWN, and launched with the half-hour sitcom, Love Thy Neighbor, and the hour-long drama, The Haves and The Have Nots, which made its debut in 2013 and has continued to break ratings on the network.

In the fall of 2016, Tyler debuted a brand new series and political drama, Too Close to Home, on TLC.

In recent years, Tyler has stepped out from behind the camera, starring in several films including the Rob Cohen-directed Alex Cross, David Fincher’s critically acclaimed Gone Girl, and Paramount’s 2016 blockbuster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Not one to rest on his successes, in 2015 Tyler Perry Studios announced plans to expand operations in Atlanta with the acquisition of Fort McPherson. The studio, which was already home to the production of over 15 films and almost 800 episodes of Tyler’s five television series, has now made a home on over 330 acres.

With that, Tyler Perry Studios welcomes more than 400 job opportunities to the Atlanta community across Tyler’s productions, as well as major feature films and television shows.


Spence Finlayson
Spence Finlayson


Spence M. Finlayson is the founder & CEO of The Phoenix Institute For Positive Development & Empowerment, a Human Resources Development firm based in Nassau with a global reach. He can be contacted at his email at [email protected] or via his website The Phoenix Empowerment

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