Cicely Tyson is an award-winning film, television and stage actress. She is known for choosing quality roles that send positive messages to women of colour. Tyson, who has a career that has spanned five decades; an ageless beauty, inspiration, an actress, and humanitarian!
1963: Cicely Tyson became the First African American to appear as a series regular on a prime time dramatic television series: “East Side/West Side” (CBS)
Cicely Tyson was asked to audition for the series “East Side/West Side.” She landed the part of secretary Jane Foster, and she kept her natural hair, short afro style. As she rocked the style, she became an Icon to the woman of that generation. “This is what created the natural hair craze in the 60’s,” Tyson says. “I got letters from hairdressers all over the country telling me that I was affecting their business because their clients were having their hair cut off so they could ‘wear it like the girl on television.’”
Cicely Tyson was born in New York City on December 19, 1924 (although some believe her birth year to be 1933). She has won accolades and awards for her performances on TV, stage and in film, with credits including Sounder, Roots, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittmanand The Help. Tyson has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, among other honours, over the course of her acting career. She was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Cicely Tyson grew up in Harlem, New York. At the age of 18, she walked away from a typing job and began modelling. Tyson was then drawn to acting, though she had not been permitted to go to plays or movies as a child. When she got her first acting job, her religious mother, feeling that Tyson was choosing a sinful path, kicked her out of their home.Despite her mother’s initial disapproval (the two didn’t speak for two years before reconciling), Tyson found success as an actress, appearing onstage, in movies and on TV.
However, Tyson’s career trajectory wasn’t a smooth one; at times, she had trouble simply finding work. She flatly refused to do “blaxploitation” films, or to take parts solely for the paycheck, and was selective about the roles she chose. As she explained in a 1983 interview, “Unless a piece really said something, I had no interest in it. I have got to know that I have served some purpose here.”
More recently, Tyson appeared in The Help (2011) and in several Tyler Perry movies. And after a 30-year absence from Broadway, Tyson returned with a role in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful. The actress traveled to Texas in an effort to better understand her part in the acclaimed production—dedication that paid off when her performance won Tyson the 2013 Tony Award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play.
Tyson has a well-known commitment to community involvement. She co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. A school board in East Orange, New Jersey, wanted to name a performing arts schools after her, she only agreed to accept the honour if she could participate in the school activities. In addition to attending meetings and events, Tyson has even taught a master class at the school.
Tyson was married to Miles Davis for seven years in the 1980s.
Tyson has received numerous acting awards and nominations, and became a member of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977. She has also been honoured by the Congress of Racial Equality and by the National Council of Negro Women. And in 2010, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People presented Tyson with its 95th Spingarn Medal—an award given to African Americans who have reached outstanding levels of achievement.
Even for the the fact that Cicley Tyson is in her 9o’s, this has not slow her down as in 2015 Tyson was nominated for an Emmy for her guest starring role in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.
Whenever, Cicely Tyson is out on social events engagements, whoever are her stylist’s needs to be given credits to the styles that she is commanding with the headwraps to the clothing that she wears. We absolutely love the way she has embraced her natural hair whether it short Afro to braid hair with her African inspired looks.
We honour you as an Icon of our time!
“I feel so guilty about the state of young people today. And I say that because our generation fought for everything. We fought to sit down at a counter, to sit on a bus. They were left with nothing to fight for.”
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Source: Wikipedia.org, Oprah and Research
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