In a rousing speech to accept the Ultimate Icon Award, the actor, filmmaker and mogul urged Hollywood “dreamers” to take matters into their own hands ― to help themselves and others. “Own your stuff, own your business, own your way,” he said to fierce applause in the clip below.
Perry explained how he built his Atlanta production studio in a poor neighborhood so that “young black kids could see that a black man did that, and they can do it too.” He noted the site was once a Confederate army base housing soldiers committed to keeping “3.9 million Negroes enslaved.”
“Now the land is owned by one Negro,” he said.
“It’s all about trying to help somebody cross,” he continued. “While everybody else is fighting for a seat at the table, talking about ‘Oscars So White, Oscars So White,’ I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that. While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.’ Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.”
In his parting words, Perry extolled the power of entrepreneurship.
“I want you to hear this,” he said. “Every dreamer in this room, there are people whose lives are tied to your dream. Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”
Here’s the full speech.