It’s not every day the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends somebody a check for $9 million, but that day actually became a reality for writer/director/producer Tyler Perry.
According to Black Enterprise, at the 2022 Earn Your Leisure Conference, Perry shared that as a result of a three-year audit done by a team of accountants, he wound up learning that he had overpaid the government $9 million. And though he was incredulous that the accountants had missed this giant occurrence, he reassured that crowd that it’s OK to make mistakes in business just so long as you learn from them, so as to not repeat them ever again.
“Listen to me: In business, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to learn,” he explained. “You have to learn, but don’t let it keep happening over and over again. That’s one thing about me. I’ll let you make a million mistakes, but you can’t do the same thing over and over again. That’s how I run my business. Here’s the mistake. Let’s fix it; let’s move forward.”
Perhaps it’s that spirit of moving forward and learning despite challenges in addition to his impactful filmography and TV shows that made Perry the perfect case study for a new course at Emory University this fall. As previously reported by The Root, Tameka Cage Conley—who serves as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing—spearheaded and teaches the class, In the Language of Folk and Kin: The Legacy of Folklore, the Griot and Community in the Artistic Praxis of Tyler Perry to about 14 freshmen at the private college.
The impetus for the first-of-it’s-kind course for Conley was a longstanding appreciation for Perry’s work and the passing of her family matriarch back in 2021, which spawned thoughts towards “the importance of strong female figures in Black families” and how Perry’s Madea character played a role in that.