Patrick Hampton / May 1, 2021

Why Love Won at the 93rd Annual Oscar Awards

Director Tyler Perry commanded his audience to reject hate in all of its forms.

I know you likely did not watch the 93rd Annual Academy Awards show. And with viewership plunging by more than 58% from last year, it’s clear that many of you would rather watch paint dry.

But there was an award-winning moment that the media won’t talk much about. As he accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, director Tyler Perry — best known for his “Madea” films — delivered a message that was righteous and truly unifying. His was a message of love as he commanded his audience to reject hate in all of its forms:

I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer or because they’re Asian. I would hope we would refuse hit hate. And I want to take this humanitarian award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle. Because that’s where healing, where conversation, where change happens. It happens in the middle. Anyone who wants to meet me in the middle to refuse hate and blanket judgment, this one is for you, too.

I believe Perry’s message was intended to deescalate the hate in the wake of what is perceived as police brutality as well as the ruling in the Derek Chauvin case. His message was one that would receive the nod of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

But Perry’s message to reject hate did not receive much love from the black community — specifically progressives and those from the far Left who desperately need an enemy to fight.

That target is the police officer.

As Perry delivered his speech, the audience roared with approval up until the words “police officer” were uttered. The applause abruptly ended, the silence signaling disappointment in Perry’s advocacy of love for all people, including the men and women in blue.

But how is what Perry stated any different from what the great MLK commanded in this passage from one of his famous sermons?

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

MLK called to continue loving the people we consider to be our enemies. He speaks of the redemptive qualities of forgiveness. He reinforces how compassion transforms us for the better. Tyler Perry wanted nothing but the same. If Perry is wrong for loving all people, then is MLK — whom the progressive Left idolizes — wrong, too?

What love cannot be is hypocritical. Something as universal as true love for humanity cannot be withheld depending on a political narrative or something as superficial as skin color or socioeconomic status. We don’t get to decide who deserves love and compassion. And heaven forbid the mainstream media have a say in who we should love. If MLK is right — which he is — then Tyler Perry’s message is without flaw.

The issue I fear most with hateful, hypocritical narratives is this: Right now the enemy is law enforcement. But if all it takes is for the media to decide who we should hate, then what happens if the hated someday turns out to be one of us? The target can move, and it could be me or you next. Tyler Perry is right to invoke, as Jesus did, the power of love for all — a commandment I believe protects our society from descending into the chaos of never-ending blame. While many awards were given that day, Tyler Perry delivered a winning message that, if applied by the majority of Americans, could start the path toward healing.

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