Oscars 2021: Tyler Perry recounts his mother’s experience working at a JCC

"She couldn’t believe that someone wanted to blow up this place where she worked... It was the Jewish community center,”
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Tyler Perry at the 2021 Oscars. (Photo: Todd Wawrychuk / A.M.P.A.S. via Reuters)

The 93rd annual Academy Awards definitely made history this year, but not in the Jewish world.

After years of criticism for a lack of diversity, this year’s slate of nominees included the first time an all-Black producing team was nominated for best picture, the first time two actors of Asian descent received a nod for best actor and the first year that two women were nominated for best director. 

Chloe Zhao took home the best directing trophy, becoming the second woman to claim the title. Her film, “Nomadland,” also snagged the top prize of the night, best picture.

Though the ceremony mainly focused on the awards, it also contained a few light-hearted moments, like Glenn Close dancing to “Da Butt.”

Unfortunately, Jewish nominees failed to make much of a splash. Still, the Jewish community got a mention — despite it being for grim reasons.

Actor and filmmaker, Tyler Perry, took home the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. In his moving acceptance speech, he talked about combating hate and spent much of his speech recounting inspirational stories of his mother.

One day, Perry shared, he came home to his mother who was in tears when she was supposed to be at work. He said there had been a bomb threat at her workplace.

“She couldn’t believe that someone wanted to blow up this place where she worked… Where she took care of all these toddlers. It was the Jewish community center,” he revealed.

Perry’s final message to listeners: “My mother taught me to refuse hate, she taught me to refuse blanket judgment,” he said. “In this time, with all of the internet, and social media and algorithms that want us to think a certain way… it is my hope that all of us will teach our kids to refuse hate.”

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