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2018 TCM Classic Film Festival - Hand and Footprint Ceremony: Cicely Tyson

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Tyler Perry has once again proved that he continues to put on for Black Hollywood.

However, none of that would be possible without the generations before him who had to put up with tough working environments and getting poor wages while staring in classic films and shows. So Perry took it upon himself to make sure one legendary actress, in particular, would never have to worry about another paycheck again; Cicely Tyson.

Perry recently spoke about his relationship with Tyson in a new interview with AARP The Magazine and how he did everything he could for her.

“I’ve never said this publicly, but I took care of Ms. Tyson for the last 15 years of her life,” the 52-year-old says. “She was a proud woman, and the only reason I mention this is because she wrote it in her book. This woman had done so many amazing things, but she wasn’t well compensated for it. She made $6,000 for Sounder, you know? I wanted to make sure she knew that there were people who valued her.”

Tyson passed away in 2021 but her spirit lives on through productions like Sounder, The Help, Roots, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman while nabbing her three Emmys along the way. She’d collaborate with Perry in the early aughts for Why Did I Get Married?

“So, she did one day of work on my 2007 film Why Did I Get Married? I paid her a million dollars,” the director continued. “I loved working with her. And it makes me feel great that I was in a position to give this incredible woman some security in her latter years.”

Perry also spoke on how much her death at 96 years old hit him, writing at the time of her death, “She was the grandmother I never had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup. My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next.”

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