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‘When the Black Dollar Shows Up, It Shows Up In an Enormous Way’: Why Tyler Perry Credits the Black Community for Building His Wealth

Tyler Perry credits the Black community for his billionaire status. According to Perry, the power of the Black dollar has helped make him a very wealthy man.

“I learned early on the power of us. I was on tour performing 300-something performances a year, making 75-80 million from us,” Perry explained during Invest Fest 2022, an interview that has resurfaced online recently.

Tyler Perry at the world premiere of Marvel Studios Black Panther: Wakanda Forever held at the Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

The interview has popped up again, most likely due to the promoters of the upcoming Invest Fest 2023 using a separate speech at last year’s event as an advertisement. The Earn Your Leisure event starts on Friday, Aug. 25, and ends Sunday, Aug. 27.

Recirculating the Black Dollar

“This thing that a lot of elitist Black people wanna look down on is called ‘The Chitlin Circuit,’… but what they’re missing is the power of the Black dollar, and when the Black dollar shows up, it shows up in an enormous way,” Perry continued. “So when I got to Hollywood, I didn’t need to ask anybody for money. I didn’t need to ask them to give me a green light on a film. ‘Cause I had us, and I still have us.”

Due to his projects being supported by the Black community, Perry said he was able to self-fund his studio and was able to forgo relying on private equity investment.

The Self-Funded Studio

Perry’s 330-acre studio in Atlanta is estimated to be worth $280 million and is twice the size of the storied Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, Calif.

Tyler Perry broke ground on the studio, located on the former Fort McPherson Army base, in 2015, and it officially opened in 2019.

It was reported that the billionaire actor paid $30 million for the property, which includes 12 sound stages, a backlot, and a water tank.

It has also been used to film several major Hollywood movies, including “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Coming 2 America.”

A Breakdown of Perry’s Profits

At Invest Fest 2022, Perry told the audience that he was performing his self-produced shows all year, banking between $70 and $80 million.

It is not only his plays that generated millions; the filmmaker’s debut in Hollywood, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” made $50.6 million off a $5.5 million budget, according to E! Online.

Tyler Perry has made the most money off of his Madea franchise, for which he has produced 14 films within an 11-year span. The Madea movies have grossed more than $670 million at the box office, and Tyler Perry has earned an estimated $290 million in fees and profits from the films, Forbes reported.

The highest-grossing Madea movie is “Madea Goes to Jail,” which brought in $90 million in total box-office earnings in 2009.

“That’s why ‘Sistas,’ ‘The Oval,’ ‘Ruthless,’ and ‘Zatima’ — soon to come — All these shows on BET are doing so well, because I had us,” Perry said during Invest Fest. “So, I haven’t been in a position where I’ve had to use private equity or money like that. But anybody who does that, I think that’s great as long as you hold onto the ownership and the majority of what’s happening.”

His immense popularity has given him negotiating leverage, such as with Paramount Global, formerly known as ViacomCBS, which pays him $150 million per year for new programs and gives him a stake in streaming service BET+, Newsweek reported.

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