We lost an icon, a mother and a trailblazer this year. Cicely Tyson died January 28th, 2021. Her manager Larry Thompson confirmed her death but did not release details on the cause.
Cicely Tyson was and is a pillar to black women who aspire to overcome obstacles and push boundaries. She set the bar and proved that we are all capable of doing the unimaginable.
Cicely Tyson played so many different roles throughout her career. In an era where black women were pigeonholed into playing into stereotypes (the nanny, the help, etc.), Tyson broke those molds very early in her career.
She started with the movie “Sounder” (1972) and later moved on to play in Acrimony, Roots and The Women of Brewster Place. She inspired so many actors and actresses like Angela Bassett and Viola Davis.
Tyson was the picture everyone pointed to when they said “Black Don’t Crack.” Until her final days, we all looked at Tyson in awe of how young she looked at her age. Her skin smooth, her teeth white and her eyes glowed like the moon. Not to mention, her wit for a woman in her 90’s was incredible. In all her interviews, even the last one she seems completely coherent and her memory was crystal clear.
When I saw how great she always looked I remembered how important it is for us to take care of our bodies. Cicely was a vegetarian and followed a very healthy diet and lifestyle. She had to be doing something right to be alive for almost a century.
She remained youthful during her entire life. It came from within. She always seemed to have this contentment and love for life. She admitted that she never knew that she would make it to her age. For that, you can tell she was so grateful for her life and accomplishments.
Tyson inspires me as a young woman to work hard, take care of my body, and make all my dreams a reality. There’s nothing stopping us but ourselves.
Cicely’s work is colossal if you put it next to the challenges she had to face as a black actor in Hollywood. Even at her 5”3 stance, she was a giant in the entertainment industry. If Cicely was in the movie, you knew the production value would top all the charts and sell out in box offices.
I believe all aspiring artists should study Tyson’s career and learn from her. Watch her interviews to soak up the knowledge she had to offer. It’s important to hear from those who paved the way. It makes life so much easier for those who are just starting out in their careers.
The sad news is that there will never be another Cicely Tyson, however, I believe when one giant falls another one will rise. No one could ever duplicate her but there are so many more actors and artists yet to be discovered.
Trust the process and break the boundaries.
Rest in love Cicely Tyson <3