After moving to Atlanta in 1992 and pouring his life savings into his dream play, Tyler went bust when the audience failed to show up. For months, he slept in cheap hotels and his car, and for the next six years, he tried and continually failed to get his play off the ground. Finally in 1998, Tyler's play caught on with audiences and he has never looked back.
After staging 13 plays in 13 years and introducing audiences to the unforgettable Madea, Tyler made the move to the big screen in 2005 with his first feature film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which debuted at No. 1 nationwide. Since then, he has built an empire, directing 12 films, including the critically acclaimed "For Colored Girls," successfully expanding to television with three high-rated series and employing more than 300 people at his Atlanta studio.
Despite his success, though, Perry claimed he was racially profiled last month when police stopped him for making an illegal turn after leaving his studio. When he told police he made the wrong turn because he was worried he was being followed, he said they continued to harass him until a third officer, who was black, arrived.
"He took one look at me and had that 'Oh No' look on his face," Perry wrote on his Facebook page. "He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic."
He concluded his post on Facebook with, "RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!"
Atlanta police are investigating the incident.