Ozzie Areu, a Cuban-American who rose from a humble job as a Hollywood security guard to become one of Tinseltown’s top executive producers and the longtime President of Tyler Perry Studios, will be honored with the Latinovator Award at Hispanicize 2016. Hispanicize 2016, the seventh annual Latino trends event for filmmakers, digital content creators, journalists, marketers, influencers and music artists, will take place April 4-8, 2016 at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami.
“Ozzie is not just a dear friend of mine and the right hand to one of the most successful filmmakers in America today, he is also a true inspiration and a testament that with hard work and integrity you can achieve anything,” said Manny Ruiz, founder and creative director of the Hispanicize event. “In my long career in media, I have rarely met someone with a more compelling and entertaining story. Ozzie’s career journey is truly fascinating.”
Ozzie Areu began his career in Hollywood as a security officer for Warner Bros. after his application to the Los Angeles Police Academy was turned down on a bizarre technicality. After taking on security duties and working on NBC production sets for some of the most popular sitcoms of all time, including “Friends,” Areu became an assistant and trusted advisor to some of Tinseltown’s leading entertainers such as Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston and eventually Tyler Perry, who in 2006 named him President of his burgeoning studio.
Areu now spearheads Tyler Perry Studios; an American film production studio headquartered in Atlanta, along with 34th Street films, a Tyler Perry Production arm. He has produced numerous films and hit television shows, many of which highlight key issues that ethnic minorities face in the United States today through story telling and family-friendly entertainment.
Areu has more than 10 films under his belt with Tyler Perry Studios, including the award-winning “For Colored Girls,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “Good Deeds,” “Madea’s Witness Protection,” “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” “Peeples,” “Single Moms Club,” “A Madea Christmas” and his first animation “Madea’s Tough Love.” He has produced almost 700 episodes of extremely successful situational dramas and sitcoms with Perry. These include episodes of the television series “If Loving You is Wrong,” “The Haves and The Have Nots,” “Love Thy Neighbor,” “For Better or Worse,” “Meet The Browns,” and “House of Payne,” which received four NAACP Image awards in 2012 and 2013.
Mr. Areu has come a long way since 1995. “As someone who was able to climb the Hollywood ladder and meet my goal of becoming a successful producer, I am excited to share my story and, hopefully, motivate many others to pursue their dreams,” said Areu. “A great deal of the films we produce at Tyler Perry Studios focuses on inspiring diverse communities to overcome everyday adversity. As such, I am honored to be named a Hispanicize Latinovator and hope that our work continues to make a difference and promote triumph.”
Established in 2012, the Latinovator Awards recognize Latino celebrities, business professionals and other high achievers who have become crossover successes or whose stories of achievements are remarkable or inspirational.
This year, Ozzie Areu joins a prestigious roster of Latinovator Award recipients that includes television icon Don Francisco, veteran actor Luis Guzman, blogger Dulce Candy, actress and legend Rita Moreno, journalist Soledad O’Brien, iconic producer Emilio Estefan, news anchor Maria Elena Salinas, famed musician Sheila E., Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, actor Carlos Ponce and others.
Altogether Hispanicize 2016 will name four recipients, including Areu and Lizzie Velasquez. Each of the innovators will be presented with their awards individually in person at Hispanicize 2016 as part of a special general session where they will talk about their inspirations, challenges, business habits and road to success.