It can take some people several years to process the loss of a parent. After attending Aretha Franklin’s funeral last Friday, Tyler Perry was moved to write a lengthy note dedicated to his mother, Willie Maxine Perry, who passed away in 2009.
The filmmaker began by telling the story of promising to buy his mother a Jaguar as a child, and making that a reality years later.
“I was 6 or 7 years old. We were driving in the car, and you saw a Jaguar on the road. You told me how pretty you thought the car was, and I told you that I would buy it for you when I grew up. You just smiled and said, ‘ok baby.’ About 30 years later I brought you up on stage and gave you the keys to that car for Mother’s Day. You were so happy that day!”
He went on to say spending time with a friend’s ill mother and attending Franklin’s homegoing service stirred up several emotions within him.
“Maybe it was Aretha’s funeral, sitting for hours in front of a casket that was just like yours, or maybe it’s because I spent some time with a friend’s mother on her deathbed. Whatever the reason, today grief came in a wave. So I’m gonna go drive your car and put on your favorite Z. Z. Hill record and sing at the top of my lungs. I’m gonna remember the good times until this wave passes. You’re forever with me. I love you Mamma. Willie Maxine Perry 1945-2009”
Read his full dedication below.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.