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Black History Month

History-makers of Southeast Louisiana

Tyler Perry

Photo from 2011 Academy Awards, via Wikimedia Commons.

New Orleans native Tyler Perry has built an entertainment empire of successful films, plays, and best-selling books. In the early 1990s, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” He spent all his money to stage the play in Atlanta, but the production flopped. He took on a series of odd jobs and, even lived in his car for a while, but he kept writing. Over the next 13 years, he wrote thirteen plays. In 1998, he got a second chance to stage his play and, this time, he had a better marketing plan. The play sold-out and drew attention from excited investors.  

By 2005, he turned one of his plays into a film called “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which was a huge hit. That was followed by more hits, including “Madea’s Family Reunion,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Why Did I Get Married?,” “Meet the Browns,” “The Family that Preys,” and many other hits. In 2006, Perry published his first book, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Life and Love. It was a New York Times bestseller for eight consecutive weeks.

In 2015, Perry became the first African-American to own a major film studio outright, when he purchased the vacant Fort McPherson Army Base as the home for Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre campus in southwest Atlanta.

The items listed below are available for you at Sims Memorial Library.