Leading Up to the Speech
Presenting Perry with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was none other than Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. Following Davis was a standing ovation of Oscar nominees as Perry walked towards the stage to accept the prestigious honor.
Anecdote to His Past
Perry began his acceptance with a story of his past involving a homeless woman outside of his production studio. Perry had been homeless himself and felt for the woman, so he approached her with cash, but was asked for shoes instead. Perry took the woman inside the wardrobe room and the two stood in the middle. With tears in her eyes and shoes on her feet, the woman exclaimed,
"Thank you, Jesus. My feet are off the ground."
Perry went on to recognize his mother, a woman who grew up during the fight for rights in the mid-twentieth century and taught him the lesson he carries with him to this day.
"My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment."
How We Can Stand in the Middle
Refusing to hate and judge others on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, etc., Perry leaves the stage with this sentiment.
"Stand in the middle 'cause that's where healing happens. That's where conversation happens. That's where change happens. It happens in the middle, so anyone who wants to meet me in the middle to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to help lift someone's feet off the ground, this one is for you too."
To watch Perry and other winners' speeches, the Oscars are available for view on the ABC app and many streaming services now.
For more on the 93rd Academy Award's historical wins, click here.
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