minister_and_kittyMedia mogul hosts reception for island that was hospitable during his movie filming.

Having felt so welcome and well-received by the people of the Bahamas and its tourism officials when filming his movie “Why Did I Get Married, Too,” it is no wonder that Tyler Perry returned the hospitality when he opened up his own studio for a reception in Atlanta. And when Tyler Perry has an event, you can believe that everyone on the invitation list will be there, come hell or high water. His recent VIP reception for the Bahamas in Atlanta was no exception. At least 500 guests including international dignitaries, local officials, business leaders, top- notch professionals, some A-list celebrities and of course, the media were on hand to experience the “All Things Bahamas” gala event.

Nicole A. Avant, Bahamas’ Ambassador to the United States was the keynote speaker for the evening.  About an hour into the event, Ambassador Avant began her speech by thanking Perry for opening his studio for the occasion.  She also thanked the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism for inviting her to be the keynote speaker at his annual signature event in the United States.  She went on to explain how Bahamas is such a beautiful country that Perry went there to use the aqua-marine colored-ocean as his backdrop in his movie “Why Did I Get Married, Too.”  After her speech outlining what the islands had to offer, Ambassador Avant asked everyone to consider Bahamas when planning a vacation, business meeting, or as an investment opportunity.

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TylerPerryStudioswelcomeBahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace was also on hand to speak and answer questions about his native country. Minister Wallace had also presented at a luncheon earlier that day where he shared a few tourism facts about the Bahamas. He explained, “When most people speak of the Bahamas they speak about Nassau, Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort. However with more islands, more beaches and more territorial waters than the rest of the Caribbean combined, there is much more to the Bahamas.” He went on to tell the luncheon guest of media, mostly from Atlanta, about some of the plans he has in place to help potential visitors learn more about what the Bahamas has to offer.

That same night, the anticipated gala event at Tyler Perry Studios was open to more than just media. Movers and shakers from all over Atlanta and beyond showed up at the location in Southwest Atlanta. Spread out over 30 acres, Tyler Perry Studios is a multimillion-dollar TV and film production studio, founded by the actor, filmmaker, playwright and author. The 200,000- square-foot studio complex features studio sets, sound stages, entertainment lobbies and office spaces.  The studio was adorably transformed into a tropical oasis representing the beautiful Bahamas for the night’s event.    

Kristina_and_Ashlea_TP_StudioThis was not the first grand scale gala Perry has ever hosted at his studio. Perry threw a star-studded gala at its unveiling a few years ago that was attended by such stars as Sidney Poitier, Will Smith, Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Hank Aaron and many others.  Perry named five of his sound stages after legendary stars including Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson.  It is right here at his studio that Perry guides the work of other filmmakers through 34th Street Films, a production arm of his studios.    He also shoots his TBS sitcoms "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns" along with other film projects and some parts of his movies here. Even though the studio is mainly for productions, Perry, known for throwing celebrations after completion of productions, has hosted other events here before the ‘All Things Bahamas’ gala. One such event was a book-signing reception that he hosted for a friend.

junkanoo_perryBut this particular event, co-hosted by Upscale Magazine was definitely a night to remember, attended by the Who’s Who of Atlanta and beyond. The gala guests got to view unique art work and meet some of the artist while enjoying island cuisine. Dressed all in their finery, guests were served gourmet delights, courtesy of Bahamian Chef Andrew Moss, as they swayed to the sounds of soothing background music. Entertainment included performances by the Bahamian Junkanoo dancers prompting some to dance along to their rhythmic beats.  In the midst of a night of networking, food, drinks and fun, the questions on everyone’s mind no doubt was “Where is Tyler Perry?” It had been rumored that he would be there. Everyone certainly hoped he would show up.

As the Bahamas in Atlanta event continued with prizes like a trip to the Bahamas for two with exclusive accommodations, the crowd still anxiously awaited for the person who was in all actuality the man-of-the-hour. Tyler Perry was the real prize. This crowd of dignitaries, notables, celebrities along with media somehow knew that an appearance by Perry was inevitable. The possibility of getting a glimpse of the multi-talented star was perhaps the most exciting part of the evening.  Everyone waited in anticipation for the grand appearance of their beloved media mogul at his own studio.

TylerPerryStudiosOpeningGala_0ufcaimi98lHurray! At last, Tyler Perry finally did come out to meet and greet the crowd even though it was for only a short while. Some got to shake hands with him and some even got to take pictures with him. As party-goers were spread out all over the place, there were many who missed his grand appearance. The night ended up dividing the invited movers and shakers into those who got to meet Perry and those who did not. To all who missed him, better luck next time. Why not go ahead and plan that trip to the Bahamas where you may be able to catch up with Perry as he now owns a vacation spot there?  Pardon me. I mean he now owns one of the islands.  Well, I guess everything really is better in the Bahamas! Tyler Perry can vouch for that.

 

Photo: Top left, Kitty J. Pope, ADT editor and Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Bahamas Minster of Tourism; Middle Left, Ashlea and Kristina Pope, contributing ADT editors