ATLANTA – Tyler Perry is a man of multiple talents. He’s an actor, filmmaker, philanthropist, and now has taken on the role of Democratic Party fundraiser.
On Friday, Perry joined President Barack Obama at three pricey fundraising events in Atlanta to raise money for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign. The sell-out events, sponsored by the African-American Leadership Council and Perry, kicked off with a private reception, followed by a gala celebration and later on, an evening at the movie mogul’s home.
Obama began his fundraising at a private residence where 75 people paid $10,000 each to attend. Tickets for the gala celebration, which attracted 1,000 donors to Perry’s sprawling southwest Atlanta studio, were a hefty $500, though a smaller number sold at $250, according to the campaign. The gala featured a performance by R&B singer and The Voice star Cee-Lo Green.
“This is going to be a hotly contested race,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University. “President Obama can’t take any votes or dollars for granted,” she added.
Perry, an Atlanta native, who spoke briefly before the president took to the stage, said Obama, “speaks to us the possibility for a better today, and better tomorrow, and in that possibility he speaks of four more years.”
“Our economy is getting stronger,” said Obama. “What we can’t do is go back to the politics that got us in this mess in the first place.” Yet he did concede, “sometimes it may seem like politics is a bad reality TV show, people arguing, fussing and trying to score points, but when I go to the town halls the spirit is still there.”
For hardcore supporters the gala celebration was followed by an opportunity to mingle with Obama at Perry’s luxurious 30,000-square-foot Buckhead mansion, at a cost of $35,800. Oprah Winfrey, a high profile Obama supporter, attended the dinner.
In recent years, Perry has supported a number of causes. Back in 2009, for instance, Perry donated $1 million dollars to the NAACP, the country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.