Cicely Tyson the first black female actress to have a recurring tv role, first black actress to wear an afro on tv, the co-founder of The Dance Theatre Harlem, won two Emmys for playing one role, a Tony Winner in her late 80's, a career resurgence in her 70's... there are so many amazing things we can say about the pint-sized warrior of Ms. Tyson . A New York original born in Harlem, she began her career as a model then studied at The Actor Studio and her break came in the The Blacks. Her initial Algonquin circle was the reg. circle of black luminaries, Maya Angelou, Abby Lincoln, Max Roach, Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Gordon Parks, Miles Davis, Arthur Mitchell... etc. For us these are legends, for Ms. Tyson they were homies and it is in that atmosphere of excellence, pride, love and support that we witness her meteoric rise. When you are a legend, your legacy can be come before who you are. In our well placed reverence, the woman can be forgotten. Cicely Tyson was so many things, an actress, a visionary, a feminist, lover, a Christian, a warrior, fashion trendsetter and above all a self loving DARK SKINNED black woman. That was such a defining part of how she moved throughout her life, she demanded her short hair on screen, she intentionally wore cornrows on publicity trails, and when black people complained she was showing us in bad way with her "naps" she acknowledged their "brainwashing " and continued because the mission was beyond her. In a world where Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt were the standards of beauty here comes Cicely with her quiet and gentle defiance. She didn't have to say Black was Beautiful she lived it. In her clothing, in her loves, in her community, in how she chose her roles, in the marrow of her being. Among some it is known that in her later years, Ms. Tyson was not always the most pleasant person to handle, I always imagine for the trailblazing women and particular for those of us of the darker hue it can wear on our spirit. We must be all things, always friendly, always approachable a queen, eventually you can become lost. We honor this woman, who for me particularly as dark-skinned actress presence meant so much. I pray that in those last days she was loved, she laughed, was cherished, kissed, I hope someone held her and called her queen just because she was with them and for nothing more. May the Lords Gate opened wide when you walked through Sista Tyson and I hoped you danced.
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.