Tyler Perry poses for a photo on the red carpet at the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios at Tyler Perry Studios on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Atlanta.

Tyler Perry poses for a photo on the red carpet at the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios at Tyler Perry Studios on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. / Invision/AP

Film producer and Atlanta resident Tyler Perry recently celebrated the opening of his new studios with a black-tie event Saturday evening. The new facility is located on the grounds of the historic former Fort McPherson Army base.

The studio backlot was filled with celebrity guests, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta resident and acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee, and legendary talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who, while in Atlanta, also pledged a $13 million donation to Morehouse College.

The event was not only celebratory but also historical. With the opening of the new property, Perry became the first African American to own a major movie studio.

Obtained by Perry in 2015, the 330-acre lot holds 12 soundstages and 200 acres of greenspace. Prior to its official opening, the studios held a variety of television and film productions over the past three years.

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Perry-based productions filmed at the studios range from the 2016 motion picture Boo, A Madea Halloween to the upcoming BET original series The Oval and Sistas. Other popular television and film projects that have benefited from the state-of-the-art studio include the AMC hit series The Walking Dead and the HBO television film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Perry, who is currently signed to a multiyear deal with Viacom, is a pioneer in bringing television and film production to the state of Georgia. With more than 20 television and film productions filmed in the state of Georgia, Perry has contributed to generating nearly $10 billion to Georgia’s economy in 2017, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  

In addition, the growth of Atlanta’s newest film studio offers more than 400 job opportunities within the metropolitan community. Perry recently partnered with the Georgia Film Academy, a production internship program, to provide entry level positions and nurture the skill sets for Georgia residents interested in working in media production.

Perry has long acknowledged the importance of the representation of the African American community with film and television, using his influence to uplfit and inspire an African American audience both on and offscreen. 

"Tyler Perry has been a beacon of hope and dreams for so many of us who felt marginalized by our industry," said Kalena M. Boller, host and producer of Georgia Public Broadcasting's The Credits podcast. "With his historic studios opening in the neighborhood where I grew up, many more generations of kids can have a real-world example of what hard work and perseverance looks like."

In a speech given by the mogul at the 2019 BET Awards, Perry emphasized the significance of his studio being located at the historic Fort McPherson, now in the heart of a majority African American neighborhood.

“The studio was once a Confederate army base,” Perry said, "which meant that there were Confederate soldiers on that base, plotting and planning on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved. Now, that land is owned by one Negro."