Tyler Perry said as he accepted the Oscars’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Sunday that he refuses to hate anyone — for being a different race, LGBTQ, or a cop.
He said that in an era that encourages polarization, real progress happens when people meet in the middle.
“My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment,” Perry said. “And in this time and with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids — and I want to remember — just refuse hate.
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“Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.”
“I would hope that we would refuse hate. And I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle — no matter what’s around the wall — stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens, that’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So 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.”
Perry was homeless himself before becoming a billionaire thanks to his plays, films, TV shows and Atlanta-based production facility, Tyler Perry Studios, which helped bring back TV and film production through careful pandemic protocols after COVID-19 halted countless projects.
He recently set up a vaccination site for his production crews and their family and friends, and is well known for his efforts to help the homeless and people in need, by, among other things, paying for holiday gifts, providing food, and covering rent and tuition.
The award is named for Danish-American actor Jean Hersholt, who served as president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund for 18 years. The award was instituted in 1956, the year he died.
Main image: Tyler Perry speaks at the Oscars while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.