Tyler Perry wows with Oscars humanitarian award speech

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Tyler Perry accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, presented by Viola Davis, at the 2021 Oscars on Sunday.

Receiving the award for his tremendous humanitarian work, Perry had a standout moment at the 93rd Academy Awards. When presenting the award to the media mogul, Davis shared, “My great friend, filmmaker and philanthropist Tyler Perry personifies empathy. Tyler knows what it is to be hungry, to be without a home, to feel unsafe and uncertain…so when he buys groceries for 1,000 of his neighbors, supports a women’s shelter or quietly pays tuition for a hard working student, Tyler comes from a shared experience.”

After Davis’ introduction, the ceremony proceeded to air a segment with Perry and EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg.

93rd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Tyler Perry attends the 93rd Annual Academy Awards at Union Station on April 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

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In the video, Perry honors his mother, saying, “The most generous person that I knew growing up was clearly my mother. She taught me to never look for somebody else to be a hero and to never sit around waiting for chariots…she said, ‘Junior you find a way.’ Well, in that finding a way, she’d always encourage me to help somebody else.”

Speaking to Perry’s upbringing and generous heart, Goldberg explains in the video, “It is how he was raised…he fed all these people during the pandemic. He made sure people had what they needed to get through it.”

Perry used the segment to speak to The Perry Foundation and the work he continues to do. He explained, “The Perry Foundation has been about transferring tragedy into triumph. I don’t want to have a foundation that is targeted in one specific thing because the need is so great all over many things…whatever we can do, wherever we can show up for help.”

The segment rounds out with an inspiring message from Goldberg, who explains Perry created “a living legacy that keeps on giving.” She continued, “This man exemplifies the best you can ask from any human and that is to care about your fellow human beings.”

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After the segment, Perry took the stage to officially accept the award. He used his speech to speak to “meeting in the middle” and urged listeners to refuse hate.

The multi-talented artist explained, “When I set out to help someone it is my intention to do just that, I’m not trying to do anything other than meet someone at their humanity.” He continued, once again referencing his mother, saying, “My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgement. And in this time with all of the internet, and social media…it is my hope that all of us will teach our kids to refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.”

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