Tyler Perry’s path to becoming a film and TV mogul was not conventional. A New Orleans native born to humble beginnings, Perry found a way through trust in God, creativity, and strength of his mother, Maxine.
In the new documentary “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” provides an eye-opening look at Perry’s rise to fame and business ownership. On Nov. 8, Perry was present for the premiere of the documentary which took place at The Rialto Theater in Atlanta.
Directed by Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz, film crews followed Perry for 10 years to capture prominent and intimate moments that helped to define his career.
“Thankfully, we had 10 years because at the end of the day, I had to gain that type of trust and confidence and gain that vulnerability between me and him,” Ortiz said. “So thankfully, with time I was able to really get to know him as a person as an individual. And more importantly, also just as a father figure for myself personally. It was a little bit intimidating especially in the beginning you still intimidating. I got a little bit better every year. So it was awesome.”
Bekele, who has a child with Perry, echoed those statements.
“We were fortunate enough to have a front row seat to see how he lives out his dream,” she said. “If you’re a filmmaker, you pick up a camera to document. There’s a huge gap in how history is taught and the major contributions from the African American story is missing. And this is a huge major contribution, not only to the African American community, but it’s an American story. There’s something really magical in how he dreams for himself, but how it moves and affects other people.”
Perry also spoke about how Bekele’s work and how she was able to capture important moments.
“There was no one that I would trust to do this. I knew that she would do an incredible job because of her her passion and passion for life. She’s just a beautiful, wonderful soul. They had complete creative control. [Personally] it’s hard to watch most of it because it’s actually walking through my life.”
Perry also shared how Atlanta played a role in his success.
“Atlanta, thank you for showing me that this is the Black Mecca,” he said
He ended by saying the film should give others hope to accomplish the unthinkable.
“These are the words of my testimony,” he said. “This is my mother’s story. I hope that when you see it, it makes you to know that you need to go beyond what you ever imagined.”