Tyler Perry was honored with the Governor’s Award at the 2020 Emmy Awards and gave a speech during the virtual event on September 2, 2020.
While accepting the recognition, the 51-year-old actor and filmmaker shared a story about his grandmother giving him a quilt that had a major significance in his life.
“When I was about 19 years old, I left home and my grandmother, she gave me a quilt that she had made. And this quilt was something I didn’t really care for. It had all these different colors and these different patches in it. And I was quite embarrassed by it. I had no value in it at all.”
Years later at an antique store, he came across a similar quilt and the salesperson told him a story about it which came from a freed slave woman.
“I became so embarrassed. Here I was, a person who prides myself on celebrating our heritage, our culture, and I didn’t even recognize the value in my grandmother’s quilt. I dismissed her work and her story because it didn’t look like what I thought it should. Now, whether we know it or not, we are all sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behaviors, our experiences, and our memories.”
I stand here tonight to say thank you to all of the people who are celebrating and know the value of every patch, and every story, and every color that makes up this quilt that is our business, this quilt that is our lives, this quilt that is America.
Because in my grandmother’s quilt, there are no patches that represented Black people on television. But in my quilt, her grandson is being celebrated by the Television Academy. I thank you for this. God bless you.”
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