“Writing can help overcome depression and provides strengths.”
Tyler Perry, the writer, producer, actor and director is a countless inspiration to me. Tyler’s inspirational journey from the tough streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood’s A-list, is the stuff of American legends. He was born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse. He faced physical abuse from his father and he even tried to commit suicide once. He was born Emmit Perry Jr. to Emmit Perry Sr. He reformed his name to Tyler to let go of the history of his father. It was a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Tyler’s career in motion, “Writing can help overcome depression and provides strengths”.
Encouraged to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself. His writing inspired the musical ‘I Know I’ve Been Changed’ and in 1992 Tyler gathered his life’s savings, in hopes of staging it for sold out crowds. He spent all that money but people never came, and Tyler once again came face to face with the poverty that afflicted his youth. He spent months living out of his car, but his faith kept him strong. Tyler fought from a young age to find the strengths, faith and perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays, films, books and shows.
I look up to Tyler because I suffered from inner conflict and faced many levels of emotional abuse myself. One of his stage plays ‘Madea’s class reunion’ set my writing abilities in motion. One of his lines in the play was, “When you say you got what you deserved that’s all you going to have”. These words jumped right into my heart. I started to write plays of South-African life in townships.
As a child, growing up in a broken home in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, acting became the crutch I used to help me work through the hardships in life. The drama surrounding every day-life make life difficult. Violence and substance abuse are a part of daily life in our community, and it has also greatly affected my life.
Being faced with the various challenges in our community every day has helped me to understand the value of a good education. Neither of my parents were able to attend college and they faced many struggles. My father died when I was 12-years-old. My mother has been a domestic worker for 19 years and has sacrificed her life to give all three of her children a good life. My grandma has also been a tremendous help to us. The story of this incredible man has motivated me to persevere through any difficulty, especially since money has always been scarce. I would like to pursue a career in acting so I can live my dream and do what I love.
I have dreams just like everyone else. I’ve always dreamt of becoming an actor, having the ability to captivate my audience with my gift. I am ambitious, a go getter and a dreamer. I want to have my degree in acting. I believe that it will be an important tool that will help me to achieve my goal, which is to develop my gift, explore my potential and become someone who can portray any character in its true reflection.
I want to write plays that will display South-African life in such a way that it shows the world what a wonderful place this is. I come from a nation that is so rich in culture from all spheres of life and the stories of the people could make for some intellectually stimulating, yet heart-warming and real entertainment. I believe these stories deserve to have a place on the world stage and I want to be the man that will bring them to it.