Lessons to learn from Tyler Perry.

Everyone has a unique story that defines who they become as a person depending on how they let it influence them. As individuals, we are bound to go through the good times, the bad times and even the worst times as part of our journey to eventual success. What we do with our experiences is very important because it can make or mar us as individuals. Some people have been able to take their experiences and make it a motivator to always push them for success. Tyler Perry is one of those people who has been able to take his bad past and make it into a multi-million dollar media empire. The media mogul not only used his past to pave way for a better future but he also forged his own path in the entertainment industry after continued disappointments. He is truly an individual to learn from.

ADVERSITY. noun /ədˈvəːsɪti/

A state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

The word adversity best describes the early life of Tyler Perry. Suffering from constant abuse from his father who beat him till the point of blackout and a series of severe sexual abuse from four different adults at the tender age of 6 to 10, he was really pushed to the point of suicide that he actually attempted suicide by slitting his wrists but was unsuccessful. Originally known as Emmit Perry Jr, he changed his name to Tyler at 16 years of age and dropped out of high school just to get away from his father. Despite what he had been through, he decided to write letters to himself about his past difficult experiences as a means to get a personal breakthrough because he was inspired by a comment he had heard from a writer on the Oprah Winfrey show. Tyler relocated to Atlanta where he worked odd jobs and lived from his car just to make ends meet. With all the letters he had written to himself, he was able to get the basis of his first play titled “I Know I’ve Been Changed” and at 22,  he had saved up $12,000 from all his work to finance the production of the play. In 1992, he directed, produced and starred in his play at the Atlanta theatre which ended up being a total failure.

PERSISTENCE. noun /pəˈsɪst(ə)ns/

The fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Even as his play was a total flop, he was disappointed at the outcome but he remained determined that he spent 6 years reworking what might have been wrong with the play in the first place. He decided to show a new version of his play in 1998 which did not pick up at first but as time went on people began relating with his message and he began to sell out shows. He went on to move the show to a bigger venue because the number of people who came to see the show increased as well and after years of hard work, Tyler finally started reaping the fruit of his labour.

With huge success from his plays, he decided to move from stage to film to be able to reach more people. He produced and starred in his first movie called “Diary of a mad black woman” which Lionsgate financed for $5.5 million. The critiques were not a fan of this work but the audience loved the message and it grossed up to $50 million at the box office. After this, he has gone on to produce 20 plays, 8 TV shows and 16 movies with a theme that makes his work easily recognizable and exceptionally unique.

TRIUMPH. noun /ˈtrʌɪʌmf/

The state of being victorious or successful.

Despite Tyler Perry’s past, he has been able to turn the table around for himself to become what we now describe as a success story. In 2006, he established his own movie and acting studio in Atlanta. In the same year, he also wrote his bestselling book titled “Don’t make a black woman take off her earrings: Madea’s uninhibited commentaries on love and life”. This book won 2 Quill awards for the book of the year and best in humour. His plays have been confirmed to gross over $100 million in ticket sales and his movies grossing over $800 million. In 2010 and 2011, Forbes named him the second highest earning man in Hollywood with estimated earnings of over $100 million every year from his multimedia empire and he is currently worth $600 million. Through the years, he has not stopped producing movies with his central theme of family, morals and overcoming adversity and these movies have made an impressive mark on the Hollywood scene putting African American values at the forefront. In 2018, he produced the highly controversial yet insightful movie titled “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” grossing 46.4 million at the box office. This movie has sparked a lot of conversation and has brought Tyler Perry to the limelight again for incredible storytelling.

Flowing from Tyler Perry’s story, there are many lessons to be learnt. He did not let his early life define his future in a negative way but he made it the basis for his success story. He suffered a setback on the way but he made sure to keep on pushing and persist through every obstacle to become the victor he is today. He went on to create his own studio to produce and direct his unorthodox movies devoid of external opinion and not deflecting from his values and morals. Tyler Perry is truly an inspiration to many as he teaches people to never give up when pushed back, to believe in their dreams no matter what may happen and to forge their own path if they are ever obstructed from this dream. He is truly a phenomenal man.


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