Tyler Perry promotes vaccine, gripes with churches: ‘What good are you?’

EXCLUSIVE: Perry encourages Black Americans to get vaccinated to save lives

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Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday for her second dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine. She and the Second Gentleman, Dough Emhoff, were administered the second dose of the Moderna Vaccination.   

Weeks ago, then Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris was given her first dosage at a hospital in South East D.C. in a predominately Black community to encourage Black Americans for vaccine participation. 

Read More: Kamala Harris receives COVID-19 vaccine, urges trust in minority communities

Registered Nurse Patricia Cummings administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at the United Medical Center on December 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Vaccine availability is increasing as the White House expects enough vaccines this summer for states to administer a 2-dose regimen for 300 million Americans.

However, even with the uptick in vaccines, Black America is still contracting and dying from the virus at a disproportionate rate, higher than White America. Blacks are dying at 3 times the rate of white Americans and stats show Black Americans are getting vaccinated at significantly lower rates. Statistics show 11 million Americans being vaccinated. 

An example of this is from a recent report by Kaiser Health News. It found of 16 states that released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated in many cases at two to three times higher the rates of Blacks and Latinos.

Read More: Black activists split over COVID-19 vaccine due to history of racism in medicine

Senior Biden advisor and former congressman Cedric Richmond had a mild case of the virus before Christmas and received the Pfizer vaccine when he returned to Congress weeks later. Richmond tells theGrio, “there is real skepticism in the African American community of a government vaccine. And so we are working every day to combat that.”   

Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond speaks during a House Committee on Homeland Security meeting in July that featured testimony on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

He specifically cited the Tuskegee experiment and the fact that the vaccine was created during the Trump administration, which lacked trust from the public as then-President Donald Trump on many occasions lied and exaggerated the facts about the pandemic and the fight to recovery.

The Biden administration is calling for 100 million vaccinations in its first 100 days in office. The hope is 1.5 million vaccinations a day.

Humanitarian, actor and filmmaker, Tyler Perry, wants Black America armed with information as Black people are dying at higher rates than their white counterparts. In an interview with theGrio, Perry even went into his famous retired Madea character saying in her iconic voice: “I am going to get that Vaseline.”

Madea was speaking of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Read More: Tyler Perry to be honored with humanitarian award at 2021 Oscars

Tyler Perry's "A Fall From Grace" New York Premiere
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Grady and Emory Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia asked Perry to take the vaccine to spur more Black vaccine participation. His informational conversation, COVID-19 vaccine and the Black community, A Tyler Perry Special, airs on BET Thursday night at 9 p.m. eastern. 

“Let me just tell you what I have learned and I have found,” said Perry.

The cable special includes a Perry conversation with a group of doctors about the disease and medical personnel administering the Pfizer vaccination to the actor and media mogul.  

Read More: Tyler Perry flew to Georgia to vote in person after not receiving absentee ballot

“Here is the alternative, you can take your chances with COVID-19 and unfortunately you don’t know how it is going to affect you,” he said. “There are some people who are asymptomatic and are fine and there are other people who get it and die.”

In the early stages of the pandemic, Perry lost someone in his filmmaking studio community. He says he wants everyone to do their part but he is calling out others in the Black community who can do more. 

“I have been so extremely disappointed with the church. It is almost heartbreaking … it is heartbreaking on so many levels,” said Perry, “looking at the church and what it means to be a church to be there for the people. It means having the doors open. It means feeding the people. It means getting COVID testing. It means getting the vaccine done at the church.  

Tyler Perry
Actor Tyler Perry discuss his new book “Higher Is Waiting” during a SiriusXM ‘Town Hall’ event hosted by Joel & Victoria Osteen on November 13, 2017 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

“Being the church means all of those things. And if a church is not stepping up to meeting those needs, then what good are you?” Perry added. “To stand in the pulpit and just preach about God and Jesus and he is going to make a way when you have the opportunity and you have the ability to help somebody and you don’t. What good are you?”

Perry did, however, acknowledge there are many churches who are doing “the right thing,” including giving back and feeding the community.

“I am not talking about them,” said Perry. 

“I have been really really disappointed in them not stepping up and meet the need. ‘Cause that is what the heart and backbone of [what] the church is.”

Meanwhile, as Perry is feeding thousands of the hungry at his Atlanta studio and informing the public on the COVID-19 vaccine, Congressman Richmond says the Biden White House is also working with “influencers, entertainers, and pastors … civic groups and Black Greek fraternities and sororities” to give them access to the new U.S. surgeon general to spread the word for people to get vaccinated.   

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