Tyler Perry Tells Emotional Story About Grandmother While Accepting Emmys Governors Award

Tyler Perry

Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock presented the award to Perry.

Tyler Perry eloquently accepted the Governors Award at the 2020 Emmys on Sunday in recognition of his unparalleled contributions to shaping the television medium, telling a touching story that paid tribute to his family's past and how he's now making historic strides when it comes to diversity.

Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock presented the award to Perry, highlighting his groundbreaking accomplishments in television, especially when it comes to him and his foundation, The Perry Foundation, bringing diversity to the forefront. As he accepted the award, Perry emotionally noted, "This is amazing, I didn't expect to feel this way."

Perry went on to tell a story about his grandmother, sharing that when he was 19 years old, she made him a quilt, which he didn't put any value in and was in fact "embarrassed" by it. Years later, he said he visited a "fancy" antique store that he could now afford to shop at, and saw a similar-looking quilt. When an attendant told him about the history of the quilt -- that it was made by an African American woman who was a former slave and that each patch represented an important part of her life -- Perry said he felt ashamed when remembering his grandmother's quilt.

"I dismissed her work and her story because it didn't look like what I thought it should," he said. "Now whether we know it or not, we are all sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behaviors, our experiences, and our memories."

Perry then talked about the significance of his success and his experiences growing up with his mother, who told him not to rely on a white person for anything.

"In my mother's quilt, she couldn't imagine me owning land that was once a Confederate Army base," he said.

"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," he also said. "Because in my grandmother's quilt, there were no patches that represented Black people in television, but in my quilt, her grandson is being celebrated by the Television Academy."