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Tyler Perry Becomes The Newest Billionaire In Hollywood

Tyler Perry Becomes The Newest Billionaire In Hollywood

The billion-dollar man!

Tyler Perry has become Hollywood's newest billionaire according to Forbes.  Perry joins the ranks of prominent billionaire filmmakers Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas. His net worth is estimated to be $1 billion with him earning more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005.

This is a long way from his childhood where he and his family struggled to overcome an impoverished upbringing.

“I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings,’ ” he told Forbes. “[It] means you were poor as hell ownership changes everything.” 

He credits Winfrey as a catalyst for him being able to build his wealth after she offered him advice following his appearance on her self titled show in 2001. After they discussed his burgeoning success with his plays she told him the importance of “writing your own check and being in full control.” As she owned her show and Harpo, which produced it. 

The entertainer behind the famous Madea plays and films owns all of his creative work including: 1,200 television episodes, 22 feature films, and at least two dozen stage plays, as well as his 330-acre studio, one of the countries largest film studios. He’s used his power and platform to leverage a deal with ViacomCBS that pays him $150 million a year for new content along with an equity stake in BET+, the streaming service that debuted last year. 

Perry who was once homeless said he learned the value of ownership at a young age.

"My father was a subcontractor, and he would get paid on Fridays and be so happy that he had made $800," he recalled to Forbes. "But I would watch the man that owned the house sell it and make $80,000. So I always knew that there was more power in the man that owned the house rather than the man that actually was working on it and building it. So I always wanted to be the guy that owned the house.”

His billionaire status comes at a time when the median Black household wealth is $13,024 versus $149,703 for the median white household, an even larger gap in percentage terms.

He plans to use his power, platform, and studio to create a space for help others including trafficked women and LGBTQ youth, as well as an academy to teach kids financial literacy — a skill he was never taught. Perry will also develop the lot to build restaurants, shops, and an entertainment complex with a theatre and theme park. He said he’s happy to step out of his comfort zone taking risks that are in a way honoring those who came before him.

“I can go outside and take this dirt and put it on my hands and know that there were Confederate soldiers here walking this land, plotting and planning everything they could to keep us Negroes in place,” Perry says. “The very fact that I am here on this land, the very fact that hundreds of people—Black and brown people—come here to make a living, that is effecting change.”

Congratulations, Tyler!

Photo/Chart Credit: Forbes