Tyler Perry Calls For Unity, Healing In Powerful Oscars Speech: “I Would Hope That We Would Refuse Hate”

Upon receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday night, Tyler Perry denounced hate and called for unity amid social division.

“I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican, Black or White, or because they are a police officer, I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian,” the entertainment mogul said upon accepting the honor from Viola Davis. “I would hope that we would refuse hate.”

Perry, who received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic work, touched on the social issues affecting currently affecting Americans – from the violent attacks on the Asian American community to the multiple acts of police brutality against the Black community. He kicked off his speech with an anecdote about meeting “somebody at their humanity,” wherein he provided a homeless woman with shoes and took her into his Tyler Perry Studios. 

He also recalled his mother, whose own humanitarian efforts inspired the multi-hyphenate to give back to his community and those in need, noting that “my mother taught me to refuse hate.”

Previous winners fo the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award include Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and  Angelina Jolie. During his acceptance speech Perry also talked about “the middle” – a place without judgement and hatred – and dedicated his win to those who is willing to think and live what he sees as a hate-free zone. 

“That’s where healing happens, that’s where conversation happens, that’s where change happens – it happens in the middle,” Perry said. “Anyone who wants to meet me to meet me in the middle to refuse hate and blanket judgement and lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you too.”

The 93rd annual Academy Awards, which saw Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland take top prizes, aired Sunday on ABC. Watch Perry’s full acceptance speech above.

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