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Tyler Perry Plans to House Homeless LGBTQ Youth at Atlanta Studio

Tyler Perry

There's a certain "poetic justice" to Tyler Perry owning a 330-acre movie studio complex on the site of a former Confederate Army base, the filmmaker told CBS This Morning.

"The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me," Perry said.

The Atlanta complex won't just be used for film production. In an interview published Tuesday with Gayle King, who toured the site, Perry revealed plans to one day house and provide resources to LGBTQ youth, victims of human trafficking, and homeless women and girls. 

"You know, the studio's gonna be what it is," Perry told King. "I'll tell you what I'm most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced … somewhere on these 330 acres, where they're trained in the business and they become self-sufficient."

"They live in nice apartments. There's day care. There's all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again," Perry continued. "So that's what I hope to do soon." 

The Diary of a Mad Black Woman filmmaker, 50, was once homeless as a young man when he first moved to Atlanta to launch his career as a playwright. He is also a survivor of child abuse — experiences that informed his motivations to become a storyteller.

"This entire journey of telling stories was born out of pain, born out of heartache, born out of being an abused kid who could go inside of his head and create a world and imagination," said Perry, who helped create 22 movies, 20 plays, and eight TV shows. 

In the meantime, Tyler Perry Studios, which boasts 12 soundstages named after Black icons from the entertainment industry's history, has also made diversity of employment a top priority.

“I've been on sets where I've been the only Black face on, only Black face, as recently as 2019 going, 'Where are the Black people in this movie?' Back behind the camera?" Perry said. "So when I come to work here and every Black person that comes to work here they go, 'Oh, my God, it's heaven. Here we are. We're represented.' Where everybody's represented. LGBTQ's represented. Black, white, gay, straight, whatever. We're all represented, working hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm."

Watch the interview below.

Tags: Youth, film

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