Tyler Perry’s Studio Opening Gala Was A Historic Moment For Black Hollywood

Tyler Perry’s Studio Opening Gala Was A Historic Moment For Black Hollywood

Here’s everything we know — and everyone we saw — at the breathtaking event.

Published 2 weeks ago

Written by Paul Meara

The opening of a movie studio might not seem like a big deal, but when Tyler Perry does it, it is a historic event. The entertainment mogul opened the doors to his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta on October 5, and it seems like every bold-faced name in Black Hollywood flew down South for the celebration. And there was a lot to celebrate: Perry’s studio is not only a tribute to Black excellence, its location bears special meaning: it’s sprawled over 330 acres of what was once a Confederate army base.

“The studio was once a Confederate Army base,” he said. “And, I want you to hear this, which meant that there was Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million negroes enslaved. Now that land is owned by one negro.”

“While everybody was fighting for a seat at the table talking about #OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoWhite, I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that,’” he said. “But while you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own. Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.”

The landmark space features 12 soundstages named after Black Hollywood icons, including the late Diahann Carroll, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Sydney Poitier, Della Reese, Spike Lee, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg and Will Smith

A testament to Perry’s influence and good will in Hollywood, the gala opening drew huge celebrity names like Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, and even Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Bey even posted a rare caption to Instagram alongside her pics, saying she “could not stop crying” over the significance of the event. “I could feel our ancestors’ presence,” she wrote. “Generations of blood, sweat and tears, success, excellence and brilliance. It makes me so proud, so full, I could not stop crying. Thank you my Virgo brother for so much love and passion put into every detail. My prayer today is that you will take it all in. You inspire me to dream even bigger.”

Guests entered the studio by walking on a purple carpet, which was just one of the beautifully resonant touches. Everybody who’s anybody was at the event. If your invitation got lost in the mail, Ava Duvernay’s Instagram stories are a good place to get a look at the breathtaking facility:

  1. Perry even had an incredible replica of The White House built on the lot:

    Twitter was downright emotional over the opening, with many aspiring filmmakers and fans recognizing Perry’s awe-inspiring achievement on behalf of those who were shut out of Hollywood for far too long:

  2. See photos of those who attended below.

  3. Samuel L. Jackson
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Samuel L. Jackson attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  4. Spike Lee
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Spike Lee attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  5. Oprah Winfrey
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  6. Beyoncé and Jay-z
  7. Viola Davis and Julius Tennon
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Viola Davis attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  8. Whoopi Goldberg and daughter Alex Martin
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Whoopi Goldberg and Alex Martin attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  9. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  10. Colin Kaepernick and Nessa
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Colin Kaepernick and Nessa attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  11. Patti LaBelle
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Patti LaBelle attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  12. Halle Berry
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Halle Berry attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  13. Taraji P. Henson and fiancé Kelvin Hayden
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Taraji P. Henson and Kelvin Hayden attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  14. Ava DuVernay
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  15. Tyrese
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  16. Tiffany Haddish
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Tiffany Haddish attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images
  17. Jeannie Mai and Jeezy
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Jeannie Mai and Jeezy attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  18. Chris Tucker
    Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios
  19. Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad
  20. Will And Jada Pinkett Smith
  21. Cicely Tyson
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Cicley Tyson attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
  22. Gladys Knight
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Gladys Knight attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
  23. Michael Ealy
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Michael Ealy attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  24. Tika Sumpter
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Tika Sumpter attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  25. Jill Scott
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Jill Scott attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  26. Tamera Mowry Housley and Adam Housley
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Tamera Mowry-Housley and Adam Housley attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  27. Kyla Pratt
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Kyla Pratt attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
  28. Gabourey Sidibe
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Gabourey Sidibe attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
  29. Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Tina Knowles and Richard Lawson attend Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  30. Gayle King
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Gayle King attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
    (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)
  31. Loretta Devine
    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 05: Loretta Devine attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images)

Photos: Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images and Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios

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