*Tyler Perry was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 93rd Oscars on Sunday, and during his acceptance speech he urged viewers to “refuse hate.”
“I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican, Black or White, or because they are a police officer, I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian,” Perry said, per PEOPLE. “I would hope that we would refuse hate.”
Perry kicked off his speech by recalling the homeless woman he helped, and all she wanted was a pair of shoes. “It stopped me cold because I remember being homeless and having one pair of shoes and they were bent over at the heel,” he said.
The Hollywood mogul then brought the woman to the wardrobe department at his studio.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 26, 2021
“I’m waiting for her to look up and all this time she’s looking down, she finally looks up, she’s got tears in her eyes, [and] she said, ‘Thank you Jesus, my feet are off the ground,'” he said. “In the moment I just recall her saying to me, ‘I thought you would hate me for asking.’ I’m like, ‘How can I hate you when I used to be you? How can I hate you?'”
Perry continued, “My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment.”
“And in this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids, and I want to remember just refuse hate, don’t hate anybody,” he added. “Don’t hate anybody.”
Perry then dedicated his award “to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the wall, stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens. That’s what 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,” he concluded.
Watch Perry’s speech via the YouTube clip above.