According to Forbes, one of the Black community’s favorite filmmakers, Tyler Perry, has officially reached the status of a billionaire. The magazine, which keeps record of the net worth of various influential figures, is referred to as a valid source on the economic status and success of its constituents. Outside of the Forbes list, Perry can best be seen playing the character “Madea,” from which he has made hundreds of millions of dollars. His road to success spans from poverty to maintaining full ownership of his works, which has been his main mission since an early age.

Born Emmit Perry Jr., the New Orleans native never graduated from high school, and struggled with homelessness, self-harm and child abuse before his career took off. “I love when people say you come from humble beginnings. It means you were poor as hell,” the filmmaker told Forbes. Additionally, Tyler Perry never received education on how to be a businessman. “I didn’t go to business school. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned in progress.”

As of now, Perry’s filmography includes 22 featured films, at least 24 plays and over 1,200 television episodes. Now based in Atlanta, he owns a 330-acre studio in the city, making it the largest film production studio in the United States. The land was once used as a Confederate army base, and therefore was built by slaves. In their honor, Perry went on to name a dozen sound stages after modern Black icons in Hollywood. On one of the sets, there’s a featured replica of the White House where he films his new show, “The Oval.”

Tyler’s billion dollar fortune comes from $300 million in cash, investments, and a $60 million dollar stake in BET+. Forbes magazine values Perry’s many homes and other assets at $40 million. $320 million of his fortune is credited to his collection of work and his new $280 million studio, on which he plans on building restaurants, shops, and an entertainment complex. The news outlet says he’s earned more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005.

Mr. Perry has been working nonstop and is still creating content in this coronavirus-ridden era. “I work very hard. This entire journey of telling stories was born out of pain, heartache, and being an abused kid who could go inside his head and create this world.” Although he seems to be shut out of entertainment’s mainstream success, this brand new billionaire has written, produced, and starred in his own success story. “Ownership for me was easy because I was underestimated,” Perry said. Now he can see his name on the highway of Atlanta, and be reminded of how far he’s come.

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