Tyler Perry has reportedly cemented his place in history by acquiring two major television networks.
New reports indicate that the “Madea” creator has won the bid to own BET and VH1, making the former Black-owned again after two decades and becoming the first African-American owner.
The acquisition comes after months of speculation that Perry, rapper Diddy, actor and rapper Curtis Jackson “50 Cent,” and basketball icon Shaquille ‘Shaq’ O’Neal were in the running to buy a majority stake in BET after Paramount Global sought to sell it.
Tyler Perry Has Seemingly Won The Bid To Secure Ownership Of BET
The dream manifested just two months after Perry confirmed that rumors of him potentially acquiring BET were true. The actor and producer, who has already enjoyed tremendous success by partnering with the television network to create the streaming service BET+, disclosed at the time:
“I’ve been there for four years now and had tremendous success. If that is possible, I’m very, very interested in taking as much of it as I can.”
While the exact financial details of the deal are not public knowledge yet, the purchase grants the 53-year-old billionaire control over BET Media Group, which includes other outfits such as VH1. It also allows Perry to make a mark on the future of Black-owned media while internationally magnifying underrepresented narratives.
“The Haves and the Have Nots” star’s good fortune does not end there, as NNN Entertainment claimed that he has also signed a lucrative deal with Netflix. For this, the 2021 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient will produce several original projects, including films and series, for the famous streaming platform.
Perry had remained unfazed despite the heavy competition battling him for television network ownership. If anything, he was pleased that he and several other prominent African-Americans could vy for BET, as he stated in April:
“This is what I love about it. When Bob Johnson [BET co-founder] sold it in 2000, I think it was, there wasn’t one Black person who could buy it. So now, to see all of these Black people, men and women, who are able to be in a position to buy it? Man, that makes me feel really, really excited.”
The filmmaker then admitted that even though the most recent owner — Shari Redstone — had done a “phenomenal job” of maintaining BET’s vision and culture, there would be “happiness” when it became “Black-owned again.” He further hinted at his potential ownership, declaring that Redstone had no issues returning the cable channel to black owners.
As for Diddy, The Blast observed that he publicized his interest in owning a majority stake in BET with a since-deleted Instagram post that featured screenshots of his previous tweets. In one shot, he wrote:
“Media is the most powerful industry in the world but it’s the industry where we have the least amount of ownership, influence, and control! It’s time for @BET to be Black-owned again so we have the power to tell our own stories, control our own narrative! This is not about me it’s about WE!!!!”
The “Coming Home” hitmaker also shared that he was creating “a team of leaders in the culture to pursue ownership” of the media properties, reminding fans that African-Americans had to be united with “our power and resources” if they desired “real change!”
The 2020 Primetime Emmy Governors Award Recipient Had His Eyes On Another Building
Perry endeared himself even more to fans when it became known that he planned to buy the Forces Command building to prevent the FDA from converting it into one of their labs. The Blast stated that the property is a former United States military training complex across the street from the “Sistas” director’s Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
By purchasing it, Perry would protect his cast and crew from the fumes they would inevitably inhale if the FDA lab were allowed to thrive. Unfortunately, he missed the initial chance to buy the property after it was sold to Easterly Government Properties.
However, the pandemic-related restraints and the FDA’s decision to hold off on their plans for the building slowed down the corporation’s intent to have it running by 2021. Additionally, the executive vice president of Easterly Government Properties of the FDA, Mark Bauer, alleged, “They didn’t have adequate funding.” Bauer added:
“We put the project on pause while the government decided how much additional funding would be needed.”
With this update, Perry has a second chance to obtain the building and do what he wants.