Tyler Perry accepts the Television Academy’s Governor’s Award- Emmy, with a beautiful speech centered on a quilt his grandmother gave to him at age 19.
When he first saw the quilt, with its multi-colored patches and patterns, he recalled, “it was something that I didn’t really care for, and I was quite embarrassed by it.” He would use it for household chores, even as a rag when he changed the oil in his car. Later, when he noticed a similar quilt in an antique shop, he learned about its origins and had an epiphany about his grandmother’s gift.
“It was made by an African-American woman who was a former slave,” a salesperson in the antique shop told him. “Each patch in the quilt she put in represented a different part of her life. One part was from a dress that she was wearing when she found out that she was free. Another part was from her wedding dress.”
Even though he considered himself proud of his heritage, Perry said he realized he “dismissed her work and her story because it didn’t look like what I thought it should.”
He further said, “Whether we know it or not, we’re all sewing our own quilts with our behaviors, our experiences and our memories.”
Perry said in his grandmother’s quilt, “there are no patches with black people on television on it. But in my quilt, her grandson is being celebrated by the Television Academy.”