Tyler Perry was presented with the “Ultimate Icon Award” at the BET Awards this year, and he delivered a powerful acceptance speech that brought the audience to it’s feet.

Actress Taraji P. Henson was given the honor of presenting the award to her dear friend. Perry thanked her and began his speech by talking about his unique childhood.

He spoke about how his mother and her friends would use humor to get through the pain they felt. Perry quickly learned the power that laughter held, and through this he was inspired to become a comedian.

Perry said that the first 10 movies he made were all about his mother. He “want[ed] her to know she’s worthy, to let black women know you are worthy, you are special, you are powerful, you are amazing.”

Throughout his film career, Perry has been able to hire actors like Viola Davis, Idris Alba and Henson because he knew they were unable to “get jobs in this town.”

“God blessed me to be in a position to be able to hire them. I was trying to help somebody cross.”

The filmmaker, known for being an outspoken Christian in Hollywood, ended his speech praising the Lord.

“While everybody else is fighting for a seat at the table, talking about ‘Oscars [are] so white, Oscars so white.’ I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that. While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own,’” Perry declared. “Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.”

You can see the full speech below.

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