Tyler Perry delivers impassioned speech at Oscars: ‘Just refuse hate’

Tyler Perry wins the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Oscars aired April 25, 2021. (ABC)
Tyler Perry wins the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Oscars aired April 25, 2021. (ABC)

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

The Atlanta mogul won a special humanitarian award

Seven months after the Emmys bestowed Atlanta mogul Tyler Perry with a Governors Award, the Oscars bestowed him with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Sunday night.

In an impassioned three-minute speech, Perry said to teach kids to “just refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody. I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.”

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Perry, long before he became a billionaire, was a struggling stage producer who lived out of his car.

He opened his speech with a story from 17 years ago about meeting a woman outside a building he was renting for production who requested shoes. He brought her inside and gave her a pair of shoes. “She’s got tears in her eyes,” he said. “She said, ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ My feet are off the ground!’ In that moment, I just recall her saying to me, ‘I thought you would hate me for asking.’ ‘Like how could I hate you when I used to be you!’ "

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“How could I hate you,” he continued, “when I had a mother who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in Louisiana, a rural Louisiana right across the border from Mississippi who at 9 or 10 years old was grieving the death of Emmett Till.”

He said his mother taught him to “refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment.”

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Perry said he wants people to stand in the middle “where conversations happen. Where change happens.”

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