in a Q&A Gayle King Feather Tribeca FestivalHe took issue with media reports that he had comforted Smith—who reached out to The Rock and belted him out for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
“There’s a difference between relaxing and de-escalating,” Perry told King in response to his incendiary over the slap in the midst of a wider conversation about his life and career.
“My only problem is this. If I talk about it, it overwhelms everything we’ve talked about. It would be the title,” Perry told King, who asked several times. Will Smith name his soundstage at Tyler Perry Studios. Perry named each of the 12 stages after someone he admires.
“We can make another title,” joked King. “I’m pregnant with Tyler’s baby. That’s the headline.”
Once launched, Perry continued: “There I was, close. I left early to go and check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms and I made sure I said so to Will. He added that Smith, who was banned from Oscar ceremonies for ten years, “was devastated. He couldn’t believe he did it. And I was like, ‘Look at this. What are you doing? ? It’s your night… It was one of the most important moments of his career which he loved a lot.”
Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor King Richard,
“I think he’s in a lot of reflection, trying to figure out what happened,” Perry said, alluding to a portion of Smith’s recent memoir ‘Will’ that was “at the age of eight.” I talk about not being able to protect my mother. I know how that would feel. And if that trauma isn’t dealt with immediately, it will show up at the most inappropriate and terrifying times.”
With both Rock and Smith being friends, the situation was “very difficult.”
“Chris was a pure champion the way he handled it. [But with Will] Something happened that was very painful for him too. It’s not an excuse, but he was very different from what he is.”
“I feel very uncomfortable. I don’t think I have a story to tell,” he said.
Perry, Maddie’s producer, prolific film and television writer, director, actor, and studio head of his 330-acre Atlanta campus, talks a bit about the trauma in his own family growing up in New Orleans and how he started it as he began his career. How to transcend this with a play called ‘I Know I’ve Been Changed’ about adults who have survived abuse. He worked a lot of odd jobs and slept in his car for days at a time before becoming the owner of the first black studio and one of the most influential African American creative and business people in the country.
He said that his campaign and his success come from an unwavering commitment to his core black audience. “What do you mean by crossover, what are you going to do to make white people like you? What are you going to do to become more mainstream? I always dismissed that,” he said, “you can see it here.” Come to see what we’re doing.”
Perry notes that her annual payroll this year and last is about $154 million “that’s going to 99% of black people.”
He likes to work fast and clean and takes issue with directors who haven’t thought through their shots ahead—who arrive on set when everyone is ready to leave and say, “Hmm, I think I want to try to move the light like this, and have you come here.’ I’m like, ‘Whatever work you have in your house, do all that work.
“I’ll do a take, but have three cameras going at once, and I’m editing in my head when I’m shooting,” he said.
“With the garbage we spend in Hollywood, we can run a small country,” he said.