Tyler Perry is bringing changes to his studios in Atlanta, by creating more opportunities for up-and-coming writers and filmmakers.
Variety recently spoke with Michelle Sneed, Tyler Perry Studios president of production and development, who has worked with Perry since 2009. Sneed said the prolific filmmaker is eager to pass the writing and development torch on to fresh faces.
“We’re super excited about the young, up-and-coming filmmakers and new writers that we’re working with,” she explained. “Tyler has solidified his place in the industry; his brand is amazing, and we’ll continue to grow that. Then on the other side, we’re working on promoting, providing a platform and advocating for this new talent, both in front of and behind the camera.”
The news comes after Perry was criticized by industry insiders and other celebrities earlier this year, after saying he does not employ a “writers room” on his projects, unlike other television shows which hire writing staffs.
“So, I don’t know if you know this, but all shows on television have a writers room,” Perry said in a video he uploaded to Instagram in January. “And, most of the time, there are 10 people or 12 or whatever that write on these television shows. Well, I have no writers room. Nobody writes any of my work. I write it all. Why am I telling you this? I wrote all of these scripts by myself in 2019. Work ethic!”
Many Hollywood insiders were quick to call him out on social media, including comedian Sampson, who said on Twitter that Perry is neglecting an opportunity to hire young Black writers.
“Your work ethic is GREAT. But there are definitely a lot of fantastic Black writers who could use the opportunity and paycheck to work in a writers room with and for you,” Sampson tweeted.
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Actor and stand-up comedian Lil Rel Howery also publicly addressed the situation.
“It’s all talk, but if you’re really on that, then give people jobs, bro,” Howery said. “Find more writers! That’s just real.”