Tyler Perry enjoys how people sometimes explain his success.
“I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings,’ ” he recently told Forbes. “[It] means you were poor as hell.”
Things have certainly changed.
Raised in poverty in New Orleans, Perry dropped out of high school and went through a period of homelessness as he struggled as a playwright.
Those plays turned him into a star and launched a career that would eventually lead him to become a media mogul and first African American to independently own a studio.
Perry’s work in the film industry has plotted him the opportunity to prioritize Black actors by putting them at the forefront of his films. Actors along the lines of Lance Gross, China Anne McClain and Teyana Taylor (to name a few) have all started their work in the industry with Perry films.
“Ownership changes everything,” he told Forbes.
Forbes has added Perry to its list of billionaires and estimates that he has earned “more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005.”
According to Forbes, Perry $30 million for the studio property in Atlanta in 2015 and spent $250 million building the studio operation there.
He relishes being a Black man with a studio on the grounds of Fort McPherson, which had been a Confederate military stronghold.
That studio is also helping to increase his wealth.
“I own the lights. I own the sets,” he told Forbes. “So that’s where the difference is. Because I own everything, my returns are higher.”
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