Actor Michael Jai White Explains How Tyler Perry Is a Billionaire

It’s no secret that Tyler Perry is one of the hardest working people in show business. With his own studio, multiple deals across streaming platforms like Netflix and BET+, and writing and producing his own content – there aren’t many who are the jack of all trades like Perry. So Perry’s billionaire status does not surprise many, including his film co-star, actor Michael Jai White.

Michael Jai White and Tyler Perry
Michael Jai White and Tyler Perry 2010 | Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Michael Jai White and his work with Tyler Perry

White’s first major acting role came in 1997 in the HBO biopic of former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Getting in shape for the role was not hard for White as he’s a trained martial artist. The same year, he made history in the film Spawn, becoming the first African American to play a major comic book superhero in a major film.

Other film credits of White include Universal Soldier: The Return, Full Contact, and Exit Wounds. His resume also includes voice-over work for video games like Static Shock and Justice League.  

White expanded his resume by starring in Mariah Carey and Busta Rhymes’ 2003 music video for “I Know What You Want.

Source: YouTube

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He began his work with Perry in Perry’s film adaption of his popular stage play Why Did I Get Married? The film was such a success that a sequel followed. In the film, White stars as Marcus, a retired NFL player who falls into obscurity and has trouble staying faithful to his successful and demanding wife, Angela (Tasha Smith). Perry also starred in both films as a leading character.

Smith and White’s on-screen characters registered so much with audiences that Perry gave them their own spinoff sitcom, For Better or Worse, which aired on TBS and later on OWN for a total of six seasons.

Michael Jai White explains Tyler Perry’s billionaire status

A once homeless Perry is now a billionaire, according to a September 2020 feature in Forbes Magazine. With 14 films under his belt, Forbes’ estimation is that Perry’s earned $670 million at the box office, netting him nearly $300 million in fees and profits. This excludes Perry’s multi-million dollar deals with OWN, BET+, and TBS.

Perry also owns his own studio with no financial backing, making him the first African American to own a studio outright. Forbes lists Perry’s net worth as $1 billion dollars and counting.

Source: YouTube

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White understands how Perry has been able to achieve such success and opens up about such in a recent interview with Vlad TV. He refers to Perry as “the hardest working man” he knows.

“I’m not surprised [at Perry’s billionaire status],” White says. “Tyler was a builder and he’s one of those people that’s multidimensional. There’s planning stages – [the idea] of waste not, want not. Knowing him early on, I’ve seen him put the building blocks together and he’s taken that talent as a builder and just expanded it.”

While White is proud of Perry and admires him, he admits he’d never trade places with him as it takes too much work to upkeep.