The famous American actress, Cicely Tyson died this Thursday, January 28, 2021 according to information provided by her manager, Larry Thompson, in a statement to Agence France Presse (AFP). However, the circumstances of the artist’s death were not specified. Born on December 19, 1924 in New York, she died at the age of 96. The woman whose career lasted more than 70 years, was famous for her role in the films “Fritters of green tomatoes” and “The Color of feelings”, and more recently in the television series “Murder”, where she played the mother of the main heroine interpreted by Viola Davis. She has received several awards for her originality, her density in the characters she plays and her talent as a confirmed actress. Who was Cicely Tyson?
From its origins to its first steps in the world of cinema
Cicely Tyson was born on 19 December 1924 in New York. The daughter of William Tyson, a woodcutter and painter, and Federica, a servant, she grew up in Harlem, New York. Her talent as an artist was detected by a photographer from Ebony magazine and from there she began to gain a certain notoriety.
She agreed in 1961 to shave her head to play in Jean Genet’s play, “Les Nègres”, played Off-Broadway at a time when the fashion of choice was the smooth hair of white women. She inspired other African-Americans to adopt a singular style.
His profile was featured on the cover of Miles Davis’ 1967 album “Sorcerer”, and he dedicated his 1982 album “Star People” to him.
His fight for social equity
Cicely Tyson left his mark on the world of cinema and theatre. Very involved in the fight against all forms of discrimination or intimacy based on race, social situation or color of the skin, she always refused to play the roles of servants or prostitutes. Roles that, for her, expose a difference in a world where we all have to go towards universalization of behaviour and unity despite the particular differences.
Cicely Tyson has distinguished herself in the cinematographic world by winning, for example, several “Emmy Awards” and a “Tony Award”, which is awarded for her performances in the field of theatre.
She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress at the 45th Oscar Ceremony in 1973 for her role in Martin Ritt’s “Sounder”. In 1974, she appeared in the title role of the film “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”, which later earned her an Emmy for best actress.
On November 18, 2018, she was honoured at the Oscars for all her works as an actress and for the black community to which she proudly proclaims her membership and which she has gracefully represented in her various appearances throughout her career.
The mother of Kounta Kinté “Roots”
This movie has been around the world. The slavery that was fiercely denounced there undoubtedly explained this rather special interest that the African people granted to this production. Cicely Tyson playing the mother of lead actor Kounta Kinté, has been noted for its anchorage in the culture of the black continent and the vivid emotions that it allowed to appear by criticizing the domination of the black peoples by the whites in the name of an overflowing ethinocentrism.
This series, which was broadcast on the M6 television channel, was followed in almost all continents because of its content both historical and didactic. Cicely Tyson was brought to the hearts of Africans by this role, which she was able to ensure fully and with pride.
Testimonies about the brilliant artist
According to composer Quincy Jones, Cicely Tyson has inspired a beautiful generation of artists like Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Viola Davis or Lupita Nyong’o Oscar for the film “12 years a slave”.
The actor and director, Tyler Perry, did not fail to praise the constant efforts of Cicely Tyson who, according to him, is “a queen for all of us, African-Americans.” However, it deplores the discriminatory treatment that blacks regularly suffer in all areas where competition presents itself with other people of different colors. To this end, Tyler Perry says that the American actress “had to work ten times harder, to be paid a hundred times less.”
Former US President Barack Obama also wanted to pay tribute to him “Michelle and I were honoured when Cicely came to the White House to accept the Medal of Freedom, knowing that it was one of the many giants on whose shoulders we stood.” he declared.