During Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony, Viola Davis presented Tyler Perry with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. And during an award show that was marked by a much less glitzy presentation than usual and a more somber mood, Perry still managed to get the audience on their feet with his inspiring acceptance speech. “My mother told me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgement,” Perry said.
Accepting his award, Perry shared a story about how, while shooting on location, he met a homeless woman who didn’t have shoes. He took her into the wardrobe department and fitted her with a proper pair of shoes, an anecdote that drove home the kind of genuine kindness Davis called out in her introduction.
“It is my hope that all of us will teach our kids to just refuse hate,” Perry continued to applause and cheers. “I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican, or because they are Black or white or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police offer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.”
Following his speech, Perry elaborated on his speech in the press room. “Just where we are in the country in the world, everybody’s grabbed the corner and a color and they’re all, nobody wants to come to the middle to have a conversation that everybody’s getting polarized,” he said. “And it’s in the middle where things change so I’m hoping that that inspires people to meet us in the middle so that we can get back to some semblance of normal as this pandemic is over we can all get to a place where we’re showing love and kindness to each other again. “
Watch the video above.