September 26, 2019 Atlanta - Portrait of Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry Studios on Thursday, September 26, 2019. On Oct. 5, Tyler Perry will hold the ceremonial grand opening for his movie studio at Fort McPherson. He bought the land in 2015 and the complex has been up and running for a couple years. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Tyler Perry comforted George Floyd’s family, seeking unity, not division

Tyler Perry spoke with the immediate family of George Floyd, who died last week under police custody and sparking nationwide protests and unrest.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Perry wrote he “tried to speak comfort in this moment. I have to tell you ⁠— they are adamant in their call for peaceful protest.”

He also noted that while some people are protesting on the streets, others can “pick up the phone and go straight to the people who have the power with the stroke of a pen to effect change. AND IT TAKES ALL OF US AS BLACK PEOPLE TO DO OUR PART!!” 

He noted that since blacks only represent 12 to 14 percent of the U.S. population, they also need allies who “don’t look like us.” 

Perry said he has spent the past few days talking to people of all stripes about the situation including “people who don’t look like me, people who may not believe what I believe, people who don’t know what it’s like to be black in America but were willing to listen.” 

And he said “there were a lot of white people that are famous that I was talking to who wanted to know how they can help. One actually said, ‘teach us what we need to know.’”

Perry said “it’s a gift to pick up the phone” and talk to powerful people, including those who don’t agree with him. “That’s where change lives!” he wrote. “Change lives in the galvanization of all races, not in the division of us.”

He then lauded a “Good Morning America” story  he attached to his post that focused on compassion and peaceful protests, including an image of black men locking arms to protect a police officer that had been separated from his unit. 

The story showed a video of an Atlanta police officer verbally supporting the protesters. A white sheriff in Michigan took off his riot gear and marched with protesters. Cops in Florida, New York and California took knees in solidarity with the marchers. 

And Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones Tweeted about a elderly white woman who came up to him and said, “I’m from Minneapolis, and I just want you to know you matter to me.” They then hugged, and she cried. 

“You have moved my soul today,” Perry said, addressing “GMA.” “Let’s hope this moves America.”

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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