Cicely Tyson paved way for Black actors to follow footsteps
Cicely Tyson was a Black actor who knocked down doors so other women of color could walk through them.
Tyson strategically selected powerful roles with an intent to elevate how Black actors were perceived. With dignified grace, she starred in films such as “Sounder” and on TV with “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” She strived to shatter stereotypes and inspired many Black actresses along the way to follow her footsteps. A younger generation of Black actors — Viola Davis, Kerry Washington and Zendaya among them — all paid homage to Tyson after learning of her death at age 96 on Thursday.
Davis said Tyson made her feel “valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls.” Washington felt Tyson was a “foretaste of glory,” while Zendaya, who made Emmy history last year as the youngest lead drama actress winner, called the actor “one of the greatest to ever do it.”
“Thank you for kicking doors down for girls like me,” actor Tika Sumpter said.
Tyson’s death was announced by her family, via her manager Larry Thompson, who did not immediately provide additional details. The actor’s passing comes just a few days after the release of her memoir “Just As I Am.”
A onetime model, Tyson began her screen career with bit parts but gained fame in the early 1970s when Black women were finally starting to get starring roles. Tyson refused to take parts simply for the paycheck, remaining choosey.
Tyson desired to get away from the negative portrayals of Black women with the hopes of highlighting them with powerful prestige…..read more
Source: AP News