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Whoopi Goldberg presents Tyler Perry the Impact Award at the Apollo Theater Spring Benefit.

Source: Shahar Azran / Shahar Azran

The Apollo Theater had a huge night during their annual Spring Benefit raising a record-breaking $3.7 million including a $500,000 gift from Tyler Perry who made the surprise announcement during his acceptance speech.

As per Variety the esteemed director, producer and actor gave back to the Black creative community in a major way. When he was accepting the Impact Award presented by Academy Award® winner and The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg he revealed his initiative. “My studio [in Georgia] was once a former Confederate-owned army base where there were 3.9 million negroes and slaves at the time, and there were Confederate soldiers plotting and planning how to keep them enslaved,” Perry said.

“While now that land is owned by one negro and I know the importance of what it means to honor that and honor the history of what it has been, and what it has been and to redirect it and rechange it” he explained. “So it’s very important to me that we all give and support, and with that said, I’d like to give a half-million dollars to make sure this place continues to grow and thrive.”

Prior to the event, the non-profit also announced it will release a limited edition non-fungible token (NFT) commemorating the annual event. Approximately 400 NFT’s will be issued through Ticketmaster. The special NFT’s will be given to each person who donated to Apollo’s Spring Benefit. The commemorative NFT will be a digital keepsake celebrating the world-renowned organization’s largest annual fundraising event.

The Apollo season’s theme, “The Renaissance is Now!,” and its presentations expanded the non-profit theater’s role as a partner, commissioner, and co-producer of programming that centers Black artists and voices from the African Diaspora, while tackling social issues that are important to Harlem, New York, and the nation.

Proceeds from the Spring Benefit support the non-profit organization’s year-round, world-class artistic, education, and community programs and collaborations, as well as its commitment to using arts and culture to articulate and project the African American narrative and create a 21st century performing arts canon.

You can see Tyler’s acceptance speech below.

Photo: Shahar Azran