Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry is distancing himself from the portion of the Black Lives Matter movement advocating the dismantling and defunding of police departments around the country.
In fact, the “A Fall From Grace” producer told CNN’s Anderson Cooper the work to shrink and even eliminate police forces “troubles me.” During their discussion last week, Perry told the anchor he believes the country needs “more” police officers — not fewer.
“I’m worried now, because of what I’m seeing,” he said.
The 53-year-old Perry, who is a Christian, told Cooper he is “not for taking money from the police department.” Rather, he explained, “I think we need more police. My studio is in a neighborhood where I think we need police.”
“But we don’t need police that are undertrained,” he continued. “And you got to understand, I have really close friends who are police officers that I love dearly who are really good people, who have been very, very hurt by this as well.”
Millions of Americans across the country, he told the CNN host, agree with him when it comes to the necessity of police.
“There are a lot of people in America who feel the way that I do, right?” Perry told Cooper. “I think we need the police. I know that I need the police; I have several that work for me here at the studio. We need them. But we need them reformed, we need them trained well, we need the right structure.”
Toward the beginning of their discussion, Cooper asked Perry if he has talked yet about race with his 5-year-old son Aman.
Perry echoed similar comments he made earlier this summer in an essay for People. He told the CNN host he is holding off on talking about race with Aman for as long as possible.
“I’m trying to push that as long as I can, because there is something about the level of innocence that’s ripped from a child when they have to face race,” Perry said. “I love watching him play with his friends or come home from school and talk about his friends — never describing them by race at all, ever, not once in the years when he’s been talking and smart enough to ask me all kinds of questions.”
The filmmaker also explained to Cooper that he calls out wrongs wherever they are — regardless of who is involved.
“Where there’s wrong, I’m going to stand up against it,” Perry said. “When Rayshard Brooks was murdered, I thought that was wrong. When George Floyd was murdered, I thought that was wrong, like so many other people. But when a police officer who was white in a suburb in Atlanta was shot in the head by shoplifter, I thought that was wrong, too, and I reached out to do what I can to help his family. When Secoreia [Turner], the 8-year-old who was shot near the Wendy’s in her mother’s back seat, I thought that was wrong, too. So anywhere where there’s wrong, I’m going to stand up against it.”