Tyler Perry: how I became a hustler with common touch

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry


Actor, director, screenwriter, producer, playwright and author Tyler Perry revealed during his Cannes Lions panel The Art Of The Hustle, that, as a child, he had been offered a devastating view of his career prospects by a teacher: “I told him that I wanted to be a millionaire, and he told me that would never be one because I came from a poor family and I was black. I just could not accept that at all,” he said.

Around the same time his mother took him to church for the first time in case life made him need to turn to something spiritual: “She believes in the power of prayer, and I ended up doing so as well in my own way because as a kid I believed that the people on TV actually were small versions of humans who lived in the TV set, and I wanted so much to have them in my home as my friends, so I prayed for that to happen.”

Asked by MediaLink chairman and CEO Michael Kassan about the reasons for his phenomenal success, Perry pointed to his common touch: “I speak to an audience who speak my language,” he said. “But equally I super-serve them. And when I’m working in the studio, it’s the same thing. By that I mean that I’ve filled every role there is in the process of producing content so I know everyone’s job. That said, I don’t meddle with the people I work with, I’ve learned to delegate, because really you have to.”


Harriet Palmer