Remembering Cicely Tyson; A Iconic Black Actress

Actress Cicely Tyson, one of the most influential and iconic African American pioneers of stage, television, and film. Has passed away at age 96. The death of Tyson came just two days after the release of her memoir, “Just As I Am: A Memoir.” 

On Thursday, Larry Thompson, Cicely Tyson’s manager of 40 years, announced the death of the New York actress. Adding that every year of working with her was a privilege and a blessing. Thompson released a statement to USA Today saying, “With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy.”

In the 1960s, Tyson became the first black woman to play main characters in drama television. Appearing in over 60 films and television shows. Tyson’s career expanded across seven decades, touching many generations. 

Tyson, a trailblazer in the theater and film industry. Was the first African American to receive an Emmy for the best leading role. Winning awards in 1974 for the Best Lead Actress in a Drama and actress of the Year. For her iconic role as Jane Pittman in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” 

In 2016, Tyson received the Presidential Medal Of Freedom from President Obama. 2018, Cicely Tyson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. She also became the first African American woman to receive an honorary Oscar. The cause of Tyson’s death has not become available. 

What struck me every time I spent time with Cicely Tyson was not necessarily her star power—though that was evident enough—it was her humanity. Just by walking into a room, she had this way of elevating everyone around her.

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 29, 2021

The art of rewriting an entire narrative is rare – but #CicelyTyson did so. She infused film with the power of transfiguration, showing black women, marginalized women, underestimated women in their abundant glory. And the world will never be the same. God’s rest to you, madam.

— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 29, 2021

Cicely, you were an icon and a showstopper . You broke the industry open for all of us and for that and so much more thank you ! Rest in power. #JustAsIAm #CicelyTyson

— Jennifer Hudson (@IAMJHUD) January 30, 2021

My heart is so heavy. At this moment I’m celebrating the life of a true inspiration to me, Cicely Tyson. An icon, a legend, a pioneer, a trailblazer, our Queen. What an honor to have been in your presence. Thank you for all you’ve done. You will be truly missed. ???

— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) January 29, 2021

Excited to see my book, #JustAsIAm, on @BookSparks 2021 Winter Reading Challenge – Let’s kickoff the new year with this winter’s hottest books! #WRC2021

— Cicely Tyson (@IAmCicelyTyson) January 28, 2021

Author: Tamara Anderson
Tamara Anderson is a freelance writer in the Chicagoland area. She has featured articles in multiple entertainment and hip-hop media outlets.