Technically, Atlanta director Tyler Perry had the evening off Saturday night as he introduced thousands of formally attired guests to the new 30-acre Tyler Perry Studios facility in southwest Atlanta.
But from the grand opening fireworks to the strains of “Amazing Grace,” the director’s trademark flourishes were everywhere as Hollywood legends Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr. gathered with Oprah Winfrey, Hank and Billye Aaron, Andrew and Carolyn Young, Will Smith, Barry Bonds and others to celebrate the first major television and movie studio owned and run by an African-American film producer.
“I never dreamed I would witness this in my lifetime,” Tyson, an Oscar nominee for “Sounder”, reflected on the red carpet. “What I’ve been able to achieve in my career is minuscule in comparison to this.”
Posing for pictures on the red carpet with the studio’s owner, Oscar-winner Poitier told the crowd: “I’ve spent 56 years in this business, and tonight is the reward. To see the people who have followed me and to see the success of the extent of this man is a real gift.”
Inside, Perry had a surprise waiting for Poitier, Tyson and Dee. On the movie lot’s Main Street, just past East 34th Street and the Luminesce Light and Lamp Shop, banners unfurled down the fake brownstones to reveal the Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Stage Three, the Cicely Tyson Stage Two and the Sidney Poitier Stage One. continue reading