The pioneering actress Cicely Tyson passed away on January 28th at the age of 96, after a full and influential life. Tyson was also a model and activist whose work covered film, television and theater. Known for her indigenous hairstyles and iconic dress, Tyson was a mainstay on the cover of Ebony Magazine. She personified grace and was determined to approach the many characters she played with the same energy.
On screen, Cicely Tyson was poised and naturally herself. Her ability to embody and express the particular Black woman she portrayed in a given film was an example of how she saw the collective of Black women – rightfully ourselves, yet intuitively familiar. She was a woman that was true to her purposes. Tyson was vulnerable enough to love Miles Davis and tough enough to get what she came in this life to achieve. What she achieved became greater every year of her life.
Tyson helped found the Dance Theater of Harlem with Arthur Mitchell and the Cicely Tyson Community School of Fine Arts in East Orange New Jersey. Her cumulative efforts to uplift Black women and people and her goal to elevate her craft, resulted in Tyson being given flowers many times while she was alive. In 2018, the actress received an Honorary Oscar, which preceded the majority of her life’s work.
Tyson was featured in over 100 films during her 7-decade career and in addition to the Oscar Award, received three Emmy Awards, a Peadbody Award, Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 and numerous NAACP Awards. As the world continues to mourn and celebrate the life of the iconic actor, we’ve rounded up a sample of her filmography in 19 videos. Watch below: