This is not the way: Tyler Perry shoots down actress who purchased Billboards to get his attention
Article By Cheryl Reed // EEW Magazine Entertainment
African-America actress, Racquel Bailey, who put up a billboard in Atlanta to get entertainment mogul Tyler Perry’s attention back in 2012, is at it again. Finally, in 2019, she got a direct response—but it likely isn’t the one she was hoping to receive.
“This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows,” said the 49-year-old actor, playwright, and comedian in an Instagram caption next to a picture of her giant-sized ad, which reads: “Attention Mr. Perry—Raquel Bailey is your next leading lady.”
The 32-year-old New Jersey-based mother of two rented two separate billboards in Atlanta, totaling $2,000, in the hopes that Perry, whose studio is in that city, would see it. For her it was all about taking a leap of faith. “I'm just a mother wanting to show my children that I went for it all, that I chased my dreams. So one day, they'll be able to do the same,” she said online, adding the hash tag #FaithJumper.
As inspiring as her story may be to those on social media who are commending Bailey’s courage, Perry doesn’t feel the same way.
“Please don’t do this. Save your money!” he wrote. “This is the third time that someone has done this. Please stop! To audition is free!! I’m sure you can use that money for a better purpose. I love that you want to work with me, and I love that you invest in yourself,” he said, adding, “But when you do things like this it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways. I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite.”
According to WSOC TV 9, after the first billboard was put up on May 6 and the second a day later, the stay-at-mom received a call from a casting agent at Tyler Perry. She boarded a plane to Atlanta, auditioned last month for a show pilot, and waited for a call-back.
Apparently, it has not yet come.
In a 2012 interview with Essence, Bailey, who landed a role in the HBO miniseries “The Night Of” in 2016, explained why she put up her original billboard specifically targeting Perry. “I’m very inspired by his work. He gives African-American actresses a chance in this industry, and I wanted to work with him,” she said.
What Bailey may not have known before Perry’s social media response is, she already grabbed his attention with her acting—something he revealed in his Instagram post.
“You were great in ‘The Night Of!’ It was my favorite show a couple years ago. I already saw you!! So just audition and keep your money!!” he said. “Again, I appreciate your effort, but that’s not the way to work for me.”
A contact at Tyler Perry Studios confirmed that Bailey already auditioned.
Even though Perry handed out a very public rebuke and rejection, the bright side is, by sharing her billboard, Bailey is on the radar of others that may not have noticed her before.
“God bless you dreamer,” concluded Perry. “I have no doubt you will make it one day!!”
The takeaway here is visibility does not always equal opportunity. Nevertheless, keep grinding, and what is meant for you won’t go by you.
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