Arts

Writer Ashante Infantry On Cicely Tyson’s Life And Legacy

Cicely Tyson was an award-wining actor and fashion model who rose to fame for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in the film "Sounder."
Cicely Tyson was an award-wining actor and fashion model who rose to fame for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in the film "Sounder."
Credit / Associated Press

Cicely Tyson was an award-winning actor and fashion model who rose to fame for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in the film “Sounder.” The role landed her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.

Throughout her career, Tyson strived to take on roles that had message and impact, starting in TV roles in shows like “Roots” and “King.”

Since her death, many tributes to the acclaimed actress have appeared on various platforms. The Atlanta-based Canadian writer, Ashante Infantry, interviewed Tyson in December, just two days after the legendary actress celebrated her 96th birthday.

Infantry joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to talk about Tyson’s life and legacy.

Interview Highlights:

On what it was like to talk with Cicely Tyson:

“She was lovely. She was gracious. She was sharp. She was funny. I think I was surprised by a little bit of the wit and the sauciness that came across in some of her answers.”

On Miss Tyson’s role in “Sounder”:

“She was thrilled to have the role and to see herself on the screen. It was a role that brought her a lot of acclaim and set the groundwork for many other roles she would have. However, when she was doing publicity for the film, there was an unfortunate experience she had where some of the reporters expressed, you know, sort of surprise of the loving nature of the relationship between this family, this husband and wife, sharecropper and their son, and the fact that the son called his father daddy in the film. One of the reviewers or reporters that Ms. Tyson encountered confessed to her that it took him aback to hear a Black child calling his Black father daddy. And that’s when she realized that there are some people who just didn’t see the humanity of Black people. And that’s when she committed herself to ensuring that the roles that she took on going forward would always work to enlighten and uplift images of Black people.”

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