As he accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the entertainment mogul said: "It’s my hope that we teach our kids, refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody."
On a night where some of the biggest talents gathered together to celebrate great cinema, Tyler Perry took a moment to urge every single person watching to "refuse hate" and teach our next generations to do the same.
At the unique and maskless Oscars ceremony that took place on Sunday, April 25, the filmmaker walked on stage to accept the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for the great work he did to help and keep people fed during the pandemic. And as Perry stood centerstage, he delivered a rousing speech about what he learned from his mother as she raised him in difficult circumstances in Mississippi.
"She taught me to refuse hate and blanket judgment. 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," the entertainment mogul said, as quoted by NBC News.
With emotion in his voice, Perry declared: "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 they’re 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."
Before becoming the billionaire filmmaker that he is today, Perry was once homeless and went through times where he lived out of his car. Even after ascending to become a well-acclaimed actor, director, and producer, Perry still acknowledges how his past pushes him to help others today, according to USA TODAY.
During his speech, Perry recalled offering help to a homeless woman and said, "...This one time I remember I was, maybe it was about 17 years ago. I rented this building and we were using it for production and I was walking to my car one day and I see this woman coming up out of the corner of my eye and I say, she’s homeless, let me give her some money... I reach in my pocket and I’m about to give her the money. She says, 'Excuse me sir. Do you have any shoes?' It stopped me cold because I remember being homeless and having one pair of shoes and they were bent over at the heels."
"So I was like, 'yeah.' So I took her into the studio," he went on to say. "She was hesitant to go in, but we went in. We go to wardrobe... We find some shoes, we help her put them on. I stand up, I’m waiting for her to look up and all this time she’s looking down. She finally looks up. She’s got tears in her eyes. She said 'Thank you, Jesus, my feet are off the ground.'"
With the Oscar award in his hand, Perry concluded by saying: "Anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you too. God bless you and thank you Academy. I appreciate it. Thank you."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photos by (L) Todd Wawrychuk/A.M.P.A.S. and (R) A.M.P.A.S.