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From Traumatic Childhood to Media Mogul: The Tyler Perry Impact

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much;  it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt


No occurrence in life ever just happens to us, rather they happen so we can appreciate the journey of life and fully understand what it means to have faith, to persevere, overcome and stay strong, no matter the situation or circumstances. The happenings of life, rough or smooth, are meant to shape our character and help us understand what we are made of – our capabilities and strengths. However, when the dark clouds pass over and our days are filled with colours and sunshine, we should endeavour to brighten the gloomy skies of others through the care we show to them.

For Tyler Perry, an American media mogul, actor, comedian, film-maker, writer and songwriter specializing in the gospel genre, whose early life was far from the reality he ever thought he would live in but despite having to deal with poverty, homelessness and abuse, has chosen to brighten up the gloomy skies of others. Tyler, who had a childhood that was filled with abuse from his father who had the mentality of getting answers by beating it out of your kids, once attempted suicide as an escape from the brutality of his father. He also asserts to being molested by three men and a friend of his mother.

However, despite the trauma of abuse and without completing high school, Tyler Perry became best known for the creation and performance of the no-nonsense elderly black woman character, Madea, and progressed from having his first ever musical becoming a financial failure to becoming Forbes 2011 highest paid man in entertainment, earning US$130 million that year alone. At 22, he financed his first musical with all his life savings of $12,000 which yielded him nothing, but he persisted and has now progressed to having an estimated net worth of $600 million as at 2017.

His writing career came to life after watching an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show where he learnt about the therapeutic effect of writing and now has struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The partnership aims at bringing scripted television to OWN. He has created numerous movies, with some produced as live recordings of stage plays, as well as several television shows – his most successful being Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

He is not just a success in his field but he’s also a charitable giver, giving to different range of issues in education and youth, human service and economic empowerment and religion. He founded the Tyler Perry’s Foundation in 2006 with the aim of transforming “tragedy into triumph by empowering economically disadvantaged youth, seniors, and families to overcome adversity by achieving a better quality of life.”

Some of his donations include:

– Paying for 65 Inner-city youths from Pennsylvania to visit Disney World due to the rejection of their membership from a private summer swim club.

– Donating $1 million dollars for Haitian Relief after the earthquake.

– Providing funding to help build 20 homes for Katrina survivors in a new neighbourhood designated as the ‘Perry Place’.

– Donating to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in celebration of its 100th anniversary as a civil rights organization.

His recent donation of $1 million to various organizations helping victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana was announced on his facebook page. One of the recipients of the donation of $250,000 is the pastor of Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen.

His story of resilience reminds us that tough times, no matter how they appear, never last. His philanthropy is a challenge to quit watching and doing nothing about a world that lacks compassion for humanity but to do something when you can. Regardless of how much negativity life has dealt you, you should never lose the opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

Khemmie Ray
A passionate writer whose world revolves around arts and aesthetics.

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