Over the weekend, stars including Beyoncé, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, Ava Duvernay, and Anita Baker, descended upon Atlanta to view filmmaker Tyler Perry’s new 330-acre film studios during its grand opening.
Tyler Perry Studios, which used to serve as a Confederate army base during the American Civil War, is one of the biggest in the United States, as CNN reports. There are twelve soundstages, each is named after influential black actors.
Perry, 50, told Essence magazine he was determined to build a legacy while creating a path for generations of the future with his newly built film studio.
“It feels like encouragement, it feels like gratitude,” he said at the studio’s launch. “More than anything, what I’m hoping it becomes is for everybody else who is ever dreaming and hoping—they can do it too. So that’s what I want it to become, fully.”
Beyoncé said that she “could not stop crying” at the opening. The megastar shared a handful of photographs on Instagram of herself wearing a custom-made Yousef Al Jasmi yellow beaded gown alongside her husband, Jay-Z at the event, and said that she had been moved to tears on Saturday (Oct. 5).
“Congratulations to Tyler Perry on the opening of his studios. I could feel our ancestors’ presence. Surrounded by my heroes, I watched Denzel [Washington], Queen Oprah, Spike [Lee], Whoopi [Goldberg], Sir [Sydney] Poitier, Will [Smith], Halle [Berry], Dame Cicely [Tyson] and our angels John Singleton and Diahann Carroll honored,” she wrote as her caption.
“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.”
Jada Pinkett Smith took to Instagram to congratulate her husband, Will Smith, on having a sound stage at Tyler Perry Studios dedicated to him. “Congrats to you @willsmith on your sound stage dedication at @tylerperrystudios. You are building such a beautiful legacy around a deeply impactful career in so many ways. I’m very proud of you. Continue to shine light on … joy,” she wrote.
Tyler Perry has produced 2009’s Oscar-winning drama Precious, and directed Why Did I Get Married?, For Colored Girls, and The Single Moms Club, among others.
Below take a look at the stars who came out to support and celebrate Tyler Perry and the new Tyler Perry Studios.