Originally posted Sunday, October 6, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Red carpets are generally not my thing. But given the A-list nature of the Tyler Perry Studios grand opening red carpet Saturday evening, I had to go. And the star wattage was near blinding in the best of ways.
Among the A listers who faced the cameras and bleachers full of fans included Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Andrew Young, Spike Lee, Cicely Tyson, Tiffany Haddish, Taraji P. Henson, Usher, Ludacris and Chris Tucker.
Perry’s ability to draw the elite of Black Hollywood as well as Atlanta civil rights nobility says everything about the power and influence has has amassed over the past 15 years.
In a quick interview on the red carpet, Perry said this event isn’t just about him. Rather, he hopes what he has done will inspire others in the same way Oprah’s Legends Ball did for him in 2005.
The Tyler Perry PR folks did a grand job, giving reporters a decent amount of space and ensuring a steady flow of talent coming by in flowing dresses and tuxes.
Of course, my videographer Ryon Horne and I couldn’t catch everybody. We missed Maxine Waters, Loni Love, Jermaine Dupri, Evander Holyfield, Kym Whitley, Vanessa Williams and Loretta Devine because we were talking to others. Ryon tried to get the attention of Phylicia Rashad, Taraji P. Henson, LaLa Anthony, Cicely Tyson, Jeezy Maxwell, Kelly Rowland and Ludacris for interviews but only nabbed photos of most of them. Others who passed us by included Terrence Howard, Jackee Harry, Hank Aaron, Viola Davis, C.T. Vivian, Bernice King and Anita Baker. I said a quick hello to actor Brian J. White, who I just interviewed a couple of weeks ago.
Among those I didn’t even see (or perhaps didn’t recognize, I’ll readily admit) included Monica, Blair Underwood, Tyrese Gibson, Gayle King, Debbie Allen, Tamron Hall, BeBe Winans, John Schneider, Tamera Mowry, Boris Kodjoe, Patti LaBelle, Ava DuVernay, Tika Sumpter, Gabourey Sidibe, Tevin Campbell, Storm Reid, Roma Downey, Mark Burnett and Johnny Gill.
A few local journalists and personalities got into the gala as well including CBS46’s Karyn Greer, Jovita Moore of Channel 2 Action News, Maria Saporta of SaportaReport and Majic 107.5/97.5’s Ryan Cameron. (My colleague Scott Trubey, who interviewed Perry himself recently for a story, also attended the gala portion.)
A few famous folks skipped the red carpet and went straight to the gala. Among those who were seen at the gala included Anthony Anderson, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Diddy, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Will Smith.
Here is a list of the more than 35 people Ryon and I actually spoke to, however briefly, over a span of two hours:
Tyler Perry, Halle Berry, John Lewis, Samuel L. Jackson, Stacey Abrams, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Chris Tucker, Michael Ealy, Michael Eric Dyson, Keshia Knight-Pulliam, Jill Scott, Lou Gossett Jr., Geoffrey Owens, David and Tamela Mann, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, T.D. Jakes, Jennifer Lewis, Byron Allen (Weather Channel owner), Kirk Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Michelle Williams, Michael Jai White, Millie Jackson, Will Packer, Kenny Leon, Roger Bobb, Iyana VanZant, Demetria McKinney, Tina Knowles and Richard Larson, Tanya Sam, Don Lemon, Lance Gross.
Here are some photos taken from Getty Images, Ryon and me.
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