from our partnerFaithwire
written byTré Goins-Phillips
Hollywood producer, director, writer and actor Tyler Perry opened his new, 330-acre headquarters in Atlanta with a star-studded worship service over the weekend.
The one-man entertainment mogul unveiled 12 sound stages, each of which is named after a prominent black icon. Additionally, the studio was built in Fort McPherson on land that served as a Confederate Army base during the American Civil War, according to a report from CNN.
Perry’s impressive event was attended by major names in Hollywood entertainment, such as Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Cecily Tyson, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry and Gladys Knight, among others.
The weekend was capped with a powerful worship service Sunday.
“Couldn’t close the weekend without Jesus meeting us on the lawn at the studio!!” Perry wrote on Instagram. “Having a full heart and a thankful soul to all that have prayed me all the way here.”
Texas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes was also at the grand opening, where he delivered a message during the weekend-long event’s Sunday closing.
“I can’t explain how many icons were there to see history turn a page!” Jakes wrote in a post on Instagram. “It felt like all the ancestors were rejoicing at what God has done. I didn’t see anyone that didn’t have gratitude on their face!”
Perry, 50, purchased a portion of Fort McPherson back in 2015. The brand-new Tyler Perry Studios is now one of the largest in the entire country. He told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he plans to fill out the massive complex even more, adding restaurants and retail shops as times goes on, hoping to turn the sprawling space into a destination for tourists and locals.
He also has his heart set on service. He has reportedly discussed using a portion of the complex to develop a crisis center to help victims of human trafficking. The entire project, Perry said, could be completed within 36 months.
In August, Perry penned a Facebook post in which he celebrated a new sign on the highway in Atlanta directing travelers toward his new studio. The placement is significant to Perry, as it is right next to a sign leading toward Sylvan Road, where the entertainer first lived when he moved to Georgia.
“I came here with nothing, lived off Sylvan Road, ended up homeless and starving, but I was always praying and believing,” he wrote. “I was always keeping the faith, knowing that if I worked hard, did my absolute best, kept my integrity, honored every blessing and remained grateful through it all, that everything would work out.”
And during a speech at the BET Awards in June, Perry credited God for his many successes, saying the Lord has “blessed” him with the ability to provide jobs for up-and-coming actors struggling to find a place in Hollywood.
“When I build my studio,” he said at the time, “I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young black kids could see that a black man did that, and they can do it, too.”