Beyoncé Says She “Could Not Stop Crying” at Tyler Perry’s Historic Studio Opening

On Saturday night, Tyler Perryhosted the most glamorous event in Atlanta, Georgia, the long-awaited grand opening gala for his 330-acre namesake studio. The event was attended by a slew of stars, including groundbreaking black artists who were given a special tribute by Perry that night, including Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington,Spike Lee, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, Cicely Tyson, and Harry Belafonte, according to Variety. Perry also unveiled the names of each soundstage, named after legends like the late Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Della Reese, John Singleton, and Diahann Carroll, who died Friday, one day before the ceremony. The soundstages were christened by a representative breaking a bottle of Champagne against the wall, per the [Hollywood Reporter.

The event was attended by a roster of A-listers, including Winfrey, Washington, and Berry, as well as Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ava DuVernay, and political heavyweights like Rep. John Lewis, Stacey Abrams, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were also in attendance, with the Lemonade singer sharing a heartfelt message to Perry on Instagram on Sunday, noting that she “could not stop crying” at the celebratory event.

Happy Sunday. Congratulations to Tyler Perry on the opening of his studios,” she wrote. “I could feel our ancestors’ presence. Surrounded by my heroes, I watched Denzel, Queen Oprah, Spike, Whoopi, Sir Poitier, Will, Halle, Dame Cicely and our angels John Singleton and Diahann Carroll honored. The Armand de Brignac crashed against each soundstage as fireworks lit up the sky. Generations of blood, sweat and tears, success, excellence and brilliance. It makes me so proud, so full, I could not stop crying. Thank you my Virgo brother for so much love and passion put into every detail. My prayer today is that you will take it all in. You inspire me to dream even bigger.

In a moving speech at the BET Awards in June, Perry revealed the historic significance of his studio’s lot, noting it was once a Confederate Army base.

We all get to stand here equally—black, white, whatever—this is the American dream,” Perry said in a speech, THR noted.

Perry has been a longtime advocate of the Atlanta film and TV scene, moving to the city in the early 1990s and basing several of his productions out of the Georgia city. He purchased the former 330-acre Fort McPherson military base in 2015 for $30 million, according to the New York Times, and is now the first black person to own a film and TV studio of this magnitude, per IndieWire. Beyond Perry’s own films and TV shows, other films like Marvel’s Black Panther and AMC’s The Walking Dead have been partially filmed on the lot while it was was still being renovated.

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