Tyler Perry understands you have to finish what you start. However, unfortunately, this was a lesson learned after an unpleasant incident in the workplace.

The filmmaker exemplified this with one of his more recent films, “A Jazzman’s Blues,” originally written in 1995.

The project was the very first screenplay he had ever written, and in true Perry fashion, the multi-talent also produced and directed the movie.

It wasn’t until more recently that Perry felt as if it was necessary to bring light to his nearly three-decade-long love story. It’s centered on two lovers living in segregated Georgia set in the 1930s.


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“To have this movie coming out around the time when there’s all this political divide and a move to try to water down and rewrite the history of Black people in this country, the timing feels miraculous to me,” Perry told The Wall Street Journal.

Perry’s project joins a portfolio of work across television, stage plays, and film. There is no doubt that Perry is one of the most hard-working people in Hollywood. Yet, there was a time when he had given the impression that he wasn’t ambitious.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he shared a story of him being overlooked in the workplace between his late teens and early stages of his career while interviewing for a position in Metairie, LA.

While there, Perry says he never made it into the interview room, but he noticed white men did. The explanation given by a salesman at the time was he had given the impression that he didn’t see things to their end.

“When it’s done. I’ll tell you this quick story: I was interviewing for a job in Metairie, La., back when I was 19, 20 years old. David Duke [former leader of the Ku Klux Klan] had been elected [to the Louisiana House of Representatives]. I went to do a job interview and there were four or five white men who all interviewed before me. The manager interviews all of them, never interviews me. I see him give my application to a salesman. The salesman takes me into the office. I knew that I didn’t get the job but he’s asking me all these questions. He looks at my application, like, “You didn’t finish college, you didn’t finish this application. You never finish anything.” As offended as I was by that as I left, I never forgot that. Finishing is so important to me,” Perry said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Perry is not wrong.

Over his decades-spanning career, he has completed:

  • 25 feature films
  • 20 stage plays
  • two best-selling books
  • 14 series
  • 1,300 episodes of television

And, of course, he did so as a writer, actor, play writer, and producer.

It’s no secret that Perry has amassed much success as he reached billionaire status in 2020, AfroTech reported. 

“I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings.’ [It] means you were poor as hell,” Perry said, according to Forbes. “Ownership,” he adds, “changes everything.”