Tyler Perry is offering help to the family of Rayshard Brooks, a Black father of four who was killed by police in Atlanta on June 12.
The Brooks family’s attorney, L. Chris Stewart, made the announcement at a press conference on June 15 that Perry had offered to pay all of the family’s funeral expenses. Stewart also said Perry planned to set up college funds for Brooks’ three daughters — Blessing (age 8), Memory (2) and Dream (1) — and his stepson, 13-year-old Mekai.
People reported that an anonymous source said Perry “spoke to Rayshard’s family and wanted to do something to help.”
“We do want to acknowledge and thank Tyler Perry, who we spoke with and who will be taking care of the funeral for the family,” Stewart said at the press conference, according to “Good Morning America.” “It’s support like that, and it’s people who are actually in this community, that love the community, that want healing and (for) families like this to never have to go through something like this. It’s a step forward.”
Also at the press conference, Brooks’ niece, Chassidy Evans, shared her family’s deep pain over her uncle’s murder, which happened after he had fallen asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru. (The officer who shot him, Garrett Rolfe, had been reprimanded before for use of force. He was fired on June 14.)
As Evans spoke of his loving heart and his commitment to raising his children, USA Today reporter Nicquel Terry Ellis captured the moment on Twitter:
Brooks’ niece is speaking. She says #RayshardBrooks was a girl dad, loving husband, caring brother, dependable uncle. She said he had a big heart, bright smile and loved to dance. pic.twitter.com/zF5FiwKm6w
— Nicquel Terry Ellis (@NTerryEllis) June 15, 2020
“Blessing, Mary and Dream will never get to see their father again,” said Evans, as she held back sobs.
“Not only was he a girl dad, loving husband, caring bother, and most importantly to me, my uncle I could depend on,” she continued, according to USA Today. “Rayshard Brooks was silly, he had the brightest smile, and biggest heart and loved to dance since we were kids.”
The family’s attorneys helped them set up a GoFundMe for the family’s expenses in the wake of Brooks’ death; all donations will go directly to the family. But the cost of a funeral alone can easily exceed $10,000, so Perry’s financial help is surely welcome.
This is not the first time that Perry has stepped up to address injustice and support hurting families in his Atlanta community during a time of crisis. He paid the funeral expenses of Tynesha Evans after the mother of four was murdered by her boyfriend in a Georgia bank, then also helped pay for her family’s rent so they could stay in their home. In 2016, Perry also paid the funeral expenses for twin girls in nearby Carrollton, Georgia, who died in a hot car.
News of Perry’s generosity came after Kanye West announced last week that he would set up a college fund for George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna.