On Saturday, October 5th, a grand opening was held in Atlanta, Georgia for first looks into Tyler Perry’s new creative studio called Tyler Perry Studios. While the night was to celebrate the opening of the historic studio, the evening was dedicated to the Black icons who inspired and supported the creation of such a space.

Captured by Freddy O

Tyler Perry spoke about the studio at the 2019 BET Awards, hinting at its opening and speaking on the true meaning behind its formation. Tyler Perry stated how he wished to show the kids of the “poorest Black neighborhood” in Atlanta in which the studio was built that they could be as successful as the dedicated legends of the space.

It is a lot to take in regarding this moment in history, so we’ve gathered 5 facts that you should know about the studio:

  1. Black History was made.

Tyler Perry Studios will go down in history as one of the largest production facilities in the country at over 330 acres! Ava stated in a tweet last evening that the facility is big enough to fit Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox, and Sony inside with acres still left to pair. In addition, this placed Tyler Perry as the first Black man to own a major movie studio in the country as well.

2. It was dedicated to Black entertainment icons.

Described as a place “where one hundred years of Hollywood design meets 21st-century technology“, Tyler Perry Studios is home to 12 soundstages which assist with production needs and each comes complete with “wooden perms, catwalks and silent HVAC systems”. Each soundstage was named after influential Black entertainers including Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Della Reese, Halle Berry, Harry Belafonte, Sydney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith and the late Diahann Caroll who received the most applause and recognition of the evening.

3. It’s a former Confederate Army base.

The studio was built at Fort McPherson which served as a former Confederate Army base during the Civil War, supporting the cause to keep Black people enslaved in United States. The base was active from 1885 to 2011 and served as “one of the largest command centers in the U.S. military”.

4. It’s more than just a studio, it’s a community.

Tyler Perry created Tyler Perry Studios with this lingering dream in mind: “I want to own a network where you can turn it on with your family all day long and get positive reinforcement.” In other words, he wanted to a build a community of like-minded creatives with resources for creativity and much more. Besides the soundstages, the acres of land also includes a 220-acre greenspace which fosters room for amenities like a motel, coffee shop, oval office, a historic district, and more.

Captured by Freddy O

5. Tyler Perry was backed by the industry’s biggest hitters!

Though Tyler Perry shouted out his influences and inspirations, they were already in support of the filmmakers advancements in addition to several other celebrities. Other supporters included Ava Duvernay, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Spike Lee, Colin Kaepernick, Angela Rye, and yes, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Beyoncè even shared a letter summing up the historic evening and congratulating Tyler Perry on his achievements, ending it with “you inspire me to dream even bigger“.

Black excellence was alive and well on Saturday and it will continue as long as this space exists. So, thank you, Tyler Perry.