The 93rd annual Academy Awards were full of historical wins, moving speeches, and monumental moments.
One of the most moving speeches of the night was given by writer, producer, and director Tyler Perry, who received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
During his acceptance speech, the mogul urged the audience and viewers to “refuse hate”.
From experiencing periods of homelessness and living in his car to now having a thriving production studio in Atlanta, Perry spoke of lessons learned from his mother who grew up during the historic civil rights era in Mississippi and experienced events such as the 1955 murder of Emmett Till and bombings in Alabama during the fight for integration in the 1960s.
With emotion in his voice Perry said, “She taught me to refuse hate and blanket judgement,” speaking of his mother.
“In this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms that want us to think a certain way. The 24-hour news cycle. It’s my hope that we teach our kids, refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.”
“I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white. Or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer or because their Asian. I would hope we would refuse hit hate. And I want to take this humanitarian award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle. Because that’s where healing, where conversation, where change happens. It happens in the middle. Anyone who wants to meet me in the middle to refuse hate and blanket judgement, this one is for you, too,” he said.
During his acceptance speech, which was given from Atlanta, Perry recalled a time in his life where he experienced grace 17 years ago.
As Perry was beginning to bloom in his creative endeavors, he encountered a homeless woman outside a building where he was producing a project. He was shocked when the woman simply asked him for a pair of shoes instead of taking any money.
“I’m about to give her money. She says, ‘Sir, do you have any shoes?’ It stopped me cold. I remember being homeless, and I had one pair of shoes, they were bent over at the heels,” Perry said. “WE go to wardrobe, and there were all these boxes, fabrics, racks of clothes. We had to stand in the middle of the floor. As we were standing there, we found some shoes, she’s looking down. She finally looks up; she has tears in her eyes. She said, ‘Thank you, Jesus. My feet are off the ground.’”
Congratulations Tyler Perry on receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Featured Photo Credit: A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images