Shocking news was learned on Thursday (Jan. 28) when it was revealed the legendary actress Cicely Tyson passed away at the age of 96.
“With heavy heart, the family of Miss Cicely Tyson announces her peaceful transition this afternoon. At this time, please allow the family their privacy,” the actress’ manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement.
“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years and each year was a privilege and blessing,” he added. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today, she placed the last ornament, a star, on top of the tree.”
Making her movie debut in 1957, Tyson’s career would see her starring a number of groundbreaking films that shaped Black culture. She landed TV show roles, as well, that are well-known classics known for their the ages. Throughout her work, Tyson made it a point to never take on roles that dehumanized Black women. “We Black actresses have played so many prostitutes and drug addicts and house maids, always negative,” she told Associated Press in a previous interview. “I won’t play that kind of characterless role any more, even if I have to go back to starving.”
Since hearing of her passing, Black Hollywood has poured out countless tributes to the icon on social media.
“Always so regal, always so classy, always a lady, always a queen. Every time we would talk I would ask, ‘How are you?’ and you would say, ‘I’m still here. He must have something he wants me to do,’” Tyler Perry wrote about Tyson. “Well, I think it’s safe to say you have done all you were put here to do, and we are all better for it.”
From Viola Davis, Yara Shahidi, Oprah Winfrey, Debbie Allen and many more, check others bidding farewell to the Hollywood titan below. May she rest in perfect peace.