I actually had a moment when I thought, wait a minute, his first film was released in 2005, so either his math is faulty, or I'm missing something. Then I realized, oh yeah, he's been on the black theater circuit for a long time now – since 1992, when he was just a young 22 years old who'd bought into the so-called Horatio Alger myth, hustling like a beast in Atlanta, trying to make something of himself, and climb society's socioeconomic ladder.
20 years later, after countless stage shows, and just about as many feature films in 7 years as Stanley Kubrick made in his entire multi-decade career, look where he is now – a multi-millionaire, and one of the few black people in Hollywood whose name can get a project greenlit.
And for his next trick…???
A snippette of his message to his fans, posted ealier today on his website:
Today I celebrate my 20th anniversary in show business. It’s been an amazing journey, one that I will detail in my autobiography one day. You would be surprised, inspired, angry and blown away with what I’ve endured to be here, but until then I’d like to share a little inspiration with you. So many times we think that because one thing didn’t go as planned we should give up on it. So many people leave their dreams dying on the floor, gasping for air because it didn’t work out the first time. Be it marriage, business, children, faith, whatever your dream is, you can't give up because it didn’t go as planned. If I had walked away because it didn’t work you wouldn’t be reading this. I had to keep moving. Yes, there were setbacks. Yes, it was difficult, but I got to see my dreams come to pass because I never stopped moving forward, I never stopped praying and most of all I never stopped believing. DON’T STOP BELIEVING!!!! PLEASE DON’T STOP BELIEVING!!! Say this to yourself out loud right now: “DON’T STOP BELIEVING”, and repeat it to yourself whenever you doubt that you can make it.
Cue rock band Journey's 1981 smash single… I'm singing it as I type this right now, I swear; it's maybe no coincidence that the last name of the lead singer of Journey at the time the track was initially recorded is also Perry – as in Steve Perry; no relation though.
There's more where that came from; Tyler's letters to his fans usually aren't just a few sentences; the man is, if anything, enthusiastic and loquacious. An unwavering optimist when addressing his fans, I'd say he'd make a fine preacher actually.
For the rest of his celebratory message today – a much shorter one than usual I should add – click HERE.
Otherwise, a big round of applause to Tyler Perry on this milestone.
Mr Perry, we'll see you in another 20 years; and hopefully, by then, Madea will be in your distant past, you'll probably be one of the few black faces on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in the world, you and Spike Lee will be BFFs, you would've mastered the art and craft of filmmaking, and maybe there'd be one or two Kubrick-like classics on your resume.
Take it away Steve Perry: