No, he wasn't left on the roof after Katrina. But Tyler Perry was left to survive a dark childhood and later a financial devastation that gripped his young adult life. Now, at 38, he has redefined how Hollywood manufactures, manages and markets entertainment for urban consumers. When I met him, I realized he was not unlike many who came to this country with their belongings in a bag and became successful. Tyler's no immigrant in the traditional sense, but his meager beginnings have led to his migration to a household name.
Today he continues to brand himself and his unmistakable story lines, mixing felt needs and faith-filled hope. He has left his critics pulling their hair out trying to dissuade the audience that adores him and his Madea character. Recently he visited my church on a Sunday, and the mention of his name brought out shrieks of delight and applause rivaling that for a rock star. This reaction isn't merely in response to what he does onscreen but reflects what he does in the heart of viewers. His process is as unorthodox as Grandma's recipes; he stirs up new menus of theatrical delights for those who enjoy home-cooked cuisine rather than culinary classics!
Personally, he inspires me because I know that there are many more Tyler Perrys somewherein Watts, in Queens or in Harlemwho are awaiting their break. Truly nothing is impossible to those who believe.
Jakes is an author, an entrepreneur and a pastor of the Potter's House church in Texas
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