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Tyler Perry Studios to Host November Democratic Debate


Just a month after its grand opening on Oct. 5, Tyler Perry Studios is set to host the fifth 2020 Presidential Debate on Nov. 20, according to Essence

So far the qualifying democratic candidates are Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang, according to MSNBC

The debate's location and set up provide the candidates with a wide range of debate topics in a polarized political sphere, Tyler Perry Studios will be the first film studio to ever host a presidential debate amidst some criticism. 

The Washington Post and MSNBC co-hosted debate will be moderated by an all-female team featuring: Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, host of "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on MSNBC, Kristen Welker, NBC News' White House correspondent and Ashley Parker, Washington Post White House reporter, according to Essence. 

Only last month did Judge Steve Jones block Georgia's notorious anti-abortion "heartbeat" law, which is viewed as an infringement on women's rights established in Roe v. Wade. 

Before the block, many artists in Atlanta's film industry proposed boycotting production in Georgia had this passed. Perry, however, firmly refused to support this movement. 

"So even if it hadn't been shot down by the courts – and I know there's a lot of legal battles going back and forth – I'm still committed to making it work here because in four years, it'll be a different place," Perry said in a Variety interview. "And you can't base your life and your decisions based on temporary circumstances, you have to look to the long run, especially when you're in this business and in this situation."

It is expected that presidential candidates will be asked about abortion policy on a national scale. 

Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, some candidates will also be looking to grab the attention of Atlanta's population of African-American voters who, in the 2018 Georgia primaries, made up 60 percent of the vote for the 2020 election season.

In Atlanta, which has historically been referred to as the "Black Mecca," Perry became the country's first African-American to own a large scale studio equipped with 12 sound stages, production facilities, various media projects and third party studios. All 12 stages are named after African-American trailblazers in media including Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier and many more.

The $30 million studio amasses 330 acres and is larger than Paramount Studios, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney's Burbank Studios combined and resides at the former Fort McPherson confederate military base, according to Essence. 

Perry is already looking to expand the studio with an additional $250 million. 

"The second phase that we're starting late next year is the six-lane highway, the backlot, the small little European town, a bigger lake and pond on it..." he said in a Variety interview. "So there's so much more that I'm gonna do here."

Initially, the Democratic National Committee proposed hosting the debate in Sandy Springs to showcase the city's new entertainment complex and draw support for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

Despite some pushback, there have been no changes and the debate will take place from 9 to 11 p.m. E.T. on Nov. 20.

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