I guess this is long overdue, but I know it’s right on time. I believe now is the time to share my story of how Tyler Perry helped me cross.
So, about six years ago I had this dream about two men, one was Bishop T. D. Jakes and the other was Tyler Perry. For those who know me, know my dreams often mean something- they’re not ordinary. I woke up startled because I knew about Bishop Jakes, but nothing about Tyler Perry other than Madea and he produced movies. I had seen a few of his movies, but I had never watched any of his plays (being honest). I remember people trying to get me to watch the plays back in the early 2000’s and I just couldn’t. First of all, they were bootleg and I have NEVER supported bootleg anything. People put too much work into their craft for someone to copy it and make money off of it. Yes, it IS my pet peeve. Anyhoo, the other was, and I know this sounds crazy but, I could not get over the mics placed in the middle of the forehead. That junk drove me crazy! So, I only watched Madea on film. And believe me, seeing a live Madea play made up for all of the videoed plays I couldn’t watch. Lol.
Now, back to my dream (y’all know I get sidetracked). Well, I was prompted to follow both men. For Bishop Jakes that meant reading his books, following him on social media and eventually becoming an e-church member. Before the dream, I had refused to go to church. I was in a really bad place spiritually. I felt guilty about the decisions I had made over the years and didn’t want to address them. I was in a relationship I knew I wasn’t supposed to be in. I mean, I knew it before I said “I do.” Yet, I did. My ex always wanted to go to church, but I would talk him out of it or make such a fuss he wouldn’t want to go. Yeah, the things you don’t see behind closed doors. We were both miserable. So, following Bishop Jakes was my way back to God. Once I knew God had forgiven me for not listening to Him, things began to change. I knew I had to make things right, and that was to let my ex go. I had to set him free. I didn’t love him, and he knew it. We were both making decisions based on past relationships and it was just making us more miserable. This was when I felt the need to find “Me.” I needed to be whole again.
Now the Tyler Perry story. It’s good, too, just like his movies. Lol. So, I did some research on him. I needed to know how he could possibly help me. I needed to know what he was about. That’s when I found out about his philanthropy. He really does give back. Most of what he does isn’t publicized. Then I noticed all of the actors he brought back to start in his shows and movies. Some of which I hadn’t seen since I was a child. Again, he was giving back. Then I noticed how much people adored him despite all of the shade other artists threw his way. He always stood by his faith and continued to encourage others to never give up on their dreams. So why not follow him. I believe I started following him on Facebook about a year before I started following him on Twitter. His messages were so inspiring. If he could make it, so could I.
Some time in between following him on Facebook and Twitter, I began moderating focus group sessions in the Delta. After hearing some of the stories, I believed the people deserved a documentary (and still do). However, I didn’t know where to begin. So, like everyone else, I wrote Mr. Perry. Before writing him, I ran the idea by my ex and my mom. They both thought it was a good idea. I made one post. Then my daughter advised me to be persistent and do it daily. I didn’t necessarily want him to do it, even though I really thought he should, I just needed someone to help me with the idea. Meanwhile, while I was waiting for a response, I was watching documentaries like crazy. I found several YouTube documentaries done in the Delta, but they were nothing like I had envisioned. My goal was for the world to see the Delta’s disparities, which meant the documentary had to be done professionally.
Well, after watching different documentaries, I noticed a lot of background work was needed and knew I wasn’t prepared. So I stopped trying to contact him, but decided to continue following him. Shortly afterwards I came across a documentary that was just released, Spent: Looking for Change. It’s a documentary narrated by Tyler Perry. Once I watched it, I knew why I was prompted to follow him. At that time (this is real talk), I was so deep in debt. I was living in a two income household bringing in more money than I am now, and we were broke. At my lowest, which I believe was around this time, I had three payday loans locally, two online and had two long-term loans I was paying off. My ex had no idea. I always made sure all bills in his name were always paid, but mine.. I’m pretty sure my credit score was in the 400s. Again, I was miserable! Anyway, after watching the documentary, I knew I had to make a change. It was the awakening I needed. Y’all, after watching the documentary, I honestly wanted to do better. I wanted to be better. Before then, I was just going with the flow. I didn’t have any ambitions. Nothing.
I must admit, that documentary only encouraged me to follow him more. I’m not going to lie, I felt like a rescued animal, I was going to be loyal to whatever he did. That’s when I started sharing his posts and tweets. I know people think I’m crazy or a fanatic, but that was, and still is, my way of saying “Thank You!” Y’all just don’t know how grateful I am.
Today I can report that I have zero payday loans and zero financed loans! Thank you, Lord! And I’m living off of one income. Yes, it was a struggle, but I did it and I did it after my ex and I separated. The struggle was real. But God!! Whew!
Since then, I have met Kennedy and Jessica Odede, the authors of Find Me Unafraid. Which was after I read their book based on Tyler’s recommendation. That book sparked another drive. The goal of the documentary was to bring hope to the Delta. Their book was all about hope. Kennedy’s story mirrored so many stories of those in the Delta. He was able to create hope within his community. Now his vision of hope is global, Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Check them out. By the way, I’m providing hyperlinks for everything I’ve referenced. Please take the time to look at them. You will be blessed.
I guess this is a good place to stop. So when you see me sharing Tyler Perry’s anything, know that I’m showing my gratitude. Over the past four years, his movies and shows have kept me laughing when I’ve wanted to cry. They’ve given me something to tweet about when I’ve needed a break from reality. His words of encouragement have lead to many new endeavors, to include blogging. Ownership is my next goal!
I am so grateful I listened to God and followed my dream. Both men have helped me in ways I never imagined. I’m finally living. I’m finally dreaming again.
I just had to be extra! Lol