Why Fight for a Seat When You Can Build The Table?

Tyler Perry delivers an inspiring acceptance speech at the BET Awards

“Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”

Words from Tyler Perry as he accepted the Ultimate Icon Award this weekend at the annual BET Awards. The audience was inspired by the stories of his childhood and how he came up from nothing. The part of his speech that had black Twitter and fans all over speechless was triggering for others.

 “While everybody else is fighting for a seat at the table, talking about ‘#OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoWhite,’ 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.”

He referenced a movement that started a while back (2016) when all 20 nominees for an Oscar award were qwhite similar in appearance.

“Rather than being an icon, I want to be an inspiration… I want you to hear this:

 Every dreamer in this room, there are people whose lives are tied to your dream. 

Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”

What’s crazy is that I didn’t even get to see the awards – I saw a clip of the speech via Instagram. And while I do think representation matters, to see someone actually building ‘the table’ is something I know I’ll be appreciative of in years to come. 

TP’s message to dreamers is something everyone needs to hear, especially because most of us don’t take our dreams as seriously as we should. Lives are destined to be impacted by the full manifestation of your dreams so when you don’t pursue them full force, it’s like you’re blocking someone else’s blessings too.

Look at all the people working their dream jobs at black owned companies like Blavity, Revolt, or Tyler Perry Studios. If any of these black leaders didn’t follow their dreams, imagine the obstacles their employees would go through to get where they are. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful at companies that aren’t black owned or that all their employees wouldn’t be where they are in spite of, it just means that for some, their journey would be a little longer and more bumpy.

If nothing else, let Tyler Perry be a reminder that those things you’ve always dreamed of pursuing, the business you’ve always wanted to open, even the blog, YouTube channel, or brand you’ve always wanted to start could help impact someone else’s life more than you know.

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