She opened the voice to several generations of black actresses. Thursday, January 28, the manager of Cicely Tyson announced the disappearance of the star at the age of 96. If the causes of her death have not been revealed, this news is proving to be particularly overwhelming for all of Hollywood, especially among African-American artists who considered her to be a true icon. Starting with Viola Davis, whose mother she played in the Murder series, and who paid her a particularly touching tribute which illustrates how much Cicely Tyson was an inspiration.
“I’m devastated. My heart is broken, the actress confided. You were everything to me. You made me feel seen and loved in a world where there is always an invisibility cloak on us, dark chocolate girls (girls with “dark chocolate” skin). You gave me permission to dream, “she continued in an overwhelming message, caption of a snapshot of the two of them. A true African-American icon, Cicely Tyson is also the first black woman to receive an Honorary Oscar in 2018, after being nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress in 1973 for her role in Sounder.
I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. I loved you so much !! You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream … https://t.co/7V7AFZtFLa pic.twitter.com/l2TLfM4weX
– Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 29, 2021
Cicely Tyson “shaped the course of history”
Born in 1924 in New York, Cicely Tyson made her debut as a model, before taking the stage in 1961 to star in Jean Genet’s off Broadway play, Les Nègres. She has also been seen in the films Green Tomato Fritters and The Color of Feelings, and most recently in Tyler Perry’s latest 2020 film, Fatal Rupture. Very committed to the fight against racism and for social justice, the actress has often refused roles that she believes perpetuated racial clichés, such as servants or prostitutes.
In 2016, she received the Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, who said of her: “During her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson was not just successful as an actress, she shaped the course of history.” And for good reason, winner of several Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, Cicely Tyson was “a queen for all of us African-Americans” had underlined Tyler Perry. “She had to work ten times harder, to be paid a hundred times less” because she was a black woman, he said, while composer Quincy Jones described her as “a queen, who wore the crown better than anyone. “
Cicely Tyson © Backgrid USA