Tyler Perry has shared his thoughts on racism, police brutality and racial injustice in America, in a heartfelt first-person essay written for People magazine.
“I initially said no,” Perry explains in a video recorded for the outlet. “And that was strange for me because I’m a man of faith and I believe greatly in hope.”
However, the filmmaker ultimately felt compelled to publish his essay in the magazine’s upcoming issue because he said he was “exhausted” by recent events across the country. He touched on several issues that African Americans deal with and even shared deeply personal aspects of his own life, including being stopped and frisked by police officers in New Orleans and Atlanta.
Perry said he is devastated about the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other African Americans.
“I’m exhausted from seeing these kinds of senseless murders play out over and over again, with nothing changing in our society,” Perry said.
He further explained that he was simply exhausted “from all the hate and the division” that he sees online.
Later in the piece, Perry revealed that he was contemplating how to explain racism to his son Aman, and when that tough conversation does eventually happen, he wants to inform him that “progress is made in small steps.”
“I know that as his father and a Black man in America, it is my duty to prepare him for the harsh reality that awaits him outside of the watchful eyes of his loving parents,” he wrote in the essay. “It will be a hard, heartbreaking conversation, but one that I must have and will have soon.”
In the recorded version of the essay, where Perry read what he wrote aloud, he spoke for exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds — which was the same amount of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on George Floyd‘s neck, resulting in his death.