Cicely Tyson, an Unforgotten Advocate for Strong African-American Women on the Big Screen



Cicely Tyson

Two-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson achieved groundbreaking success through her many roles in films as strong African-American female characters. According to Elle, after Tyson started her career in film back in 1957, her "monumental catalog of work has spanned six decades and counting."

In a similar article by the New York Times, it's found that "Ms. Tyson broke ground for serious Black actors by refusing to take parts that demeaned Black people. She urged Black colleagues to do the same and often went without work. She was critical of films and television programs that cast Black characters as criminal, servile or immoral, and insisted that African-Americans, even if poor or downtrodden, should be portrayed with dignity."

The same article mentions: "At 93, she won an honorary Oscar, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2018 and into the Television Hall of Fame in 2020. She also won a career achievement Peabody Award in 2020."

These exceptional achievements have kept in the hearts of film enthusiasts and future actresses alike. When asked how she felt regarding her titles as a "legend" and an "icon," Tyson simply stated, "People are being very kind and that’s fine, but I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world."