WMC: Tyler Perry: ‘Memphis has been better to me than it’s been to Elvis’
He does it all. From being an actor, writer, director, to producer, Tyler Perry is known and loved.
He is perhaps best known for giving us “Madea,” and Friday, Perry returned to the Bluff City, where he said it all started for him. Perry was in town to speak at the Southern Heritage Classic Coaches luncheon.
Not only did he say Memphis helped give him his start, but he said the Bluff City holds a treasure trove of material you just might be able to see on the big screen.
“Memphis has been better to me than it’s been to Elvis,” Perry said.
Memphian Fred Jones has been promoting Perry plays for almost two decades. It was Jones who brought Tyler Perry to Memphis.
“In the beginning, when nobody knew who I was or even believed in what I was doing, he was right there saying, ‘Come to Memphis. We can help you out over here,'” Perry said.
Just like with his movies, Perry had Southern Heritage Classic luncheon attendees laughing and clapping.
He recalled quitting three jobs to write plays that had never filled auditoriums. Still, Perry never gave up.
“No matter how many doors are closed, those are only directional signs to send you in another direction to get it done,” Perry said.
He said there is no shortage of material in the Bluff City.
“Memphis is a city where people are just real. They’re going to just tell you how they feel,” Perry said. “They’re southern, warm, kind, caring, loving, and they have a streak of Madea in some of them too that’ll get you out of the way if you get too far out of line.”