When you mix media mogul Oprah Winfrey, filmmaker and producer Tyler Perry, mega pop star Cee Lo Green, President Barack Obama and Atlanta entrepreneur legend Mack Wilborn, it s a recipe for success. The Obama Victory Fund is reaping a $5 million benefit from the efforts of these cultural icons.
This writer attended the Tyler Perry Studios fundraising gala, which was the next to last stop on President Obama s five-stop re-election fundraising blitz. The general admission for tickets was $500. Supporters were treated to carnival style treats – popcorn, fresh lemonade, boiled peanuts, barbecue chicken, popcorn chicken, mini-corn dogs, grilled sausage links, fried string beans and jalapeno ranch dip. To the delight of many, attendees also got to tour the sprawling 30-acres of the Tyler Perry Studios.
Atlanta native and pop star Cee Lo Green was excited that the president was minutes away from taking the very platform where he was standing and in the neighborhood where he grew up. Green lit up the stage with four of his hit singles including the infamous “F*** You” before switching over to a family-friendly “Forget You.”
The Massie family was in attendance. The matriarch tells rolling out that she and her husband brought their son and daughter to see the president because, “This is an opportunity for them to see a positive role model in person. The president is a good example that they can do whatever they dream.”
It was the sentiment of the evening. During his introduction of the President, Perry shared, “This is surreal to me. I remember being about five or six-years-old imagining that I had wings on my back. My imagination is what carried me through. When I was about nine or ten, I imagined being able to own my own business . which was difficult to do. I had no role models to show me that could happen. I still had my imagination. In everything that I have imagined, I never thought there would be a day when the presidential motorcade would come through Southwest Atlanta, giving these little boy and little girls a glimpse of what destiny looks like.”
“I just want to thank Tyler for this event,” Obama says. “I was saying to him, when we were over at his studio, there is something about America — with all the struggles we’ve been going through and all the changes that have taken place in our history — for him to come from where he is and be who he is; for me to come from where I am and have this extraordinary privilege.”
“It says something special about this place,” Obama stated. “And for Tyler to continue to be so humble and thoughtful and generous is just a — is a testimony to him and his family. And so we are just so grateful to him and just feel blessed to see his success.”
It s reported that at Perry s palatial home along Atlanta s Chattahoochee River, there were about 60 guests including Oprah Winfrey. The president was candid with the intimate crowd saying, “There is my good friend, Oprah. Who very early on, when I was still running, just decided that she would support this guy with a name that nobody could pronounce. What she’s done for so many people, not just in America but around the world, is extraordinary. So I just want to say “Thank you!” to Oprah.”