Cicely Tyson has been in the game for over 70 years and deserves each and every flower, accolade and beyond. Watching her work throughout the years and continuously maintaining an active career is nothing short of amazing to witness, even from afar.
That’s why it’s pretty damn exciting to see that Tyson has received the Peabody Award for Career Achievement. The news of the Award, presented by Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, was announced Monday via People, exclusively.
“Cicely Tyson’s uncompromising commitment to using her craft to address the big issues of her time—gender equality, racial and social justice, equity and inclusion—places her in rare company,” Peabody executive director Jeffrey P. Jones said in a statement. “And she did so when speaking up and speaking out invited stigma, isolation, and retribution. She was a seminal figure of her time, and ahead of her time.”
“With her award-winning performances, Tyson has taught us to champion a world of possibility for social justice, creativity, vitality, and joy,” Peabody Board of Jurors added in a statement. “Through her career, she has demonstrated the importance of imagining human freedom, the power of struggle, the grace of sacrifice, and the importance of witnessing in a nation desperate to reckon with itself. Her powerful command of her craft and her lifelong dedication to make work that entertains and challenges helps us find our ethical and moral bearings, inviting us to ponder the qualities that make for an ethical and moral life.”
Deadline gives a good summary of Tyson’s rich career:
Tyson has been nominated for 13 Emmys in all and won two for 1974’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, the start of a run that included such iconic TV series as Roots (1977), King (1978), The Women of Brewster Place (1989), Always Outnumbered (1998), A Lesson Before Dying (1999), Jewel (2002) and The Rosa Parks Story (2002).
Her TV career began in 1951 and also included credits from Naked City, I Spy and Mission: Impossible to Gunsmoke and East Side/West Side. Most recently she has appeared in The Trip to Bountiful (2014), House of Cards (2016), Madame Secretary (2019) and OWN’s Cherish the Day earlier this year.
Tyson was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in January and in 2018 became the first African American woman to win an honorary Oscar. She was Oscar-nominated for starring in Martin Ritt’s 1973 film Sounder.
As IndieWire pointed out, Tyson has only been nominated once for an Oscar and a Golden Globe (both for Sounder). On this land?! And The Academy knows they fucked up on that front since they gave her an honorary Oscar at the 2018 Governors Awards (and she became the first black woman to be honored with one).
Among the people who participated in the video tribute were Regina King, Viola Davis, Oprah Winfrey and more. Oprah thanked the legendary actor, “not just paving the way for me and every other black woman who dared to have a career in entertainment, but being the way—standing for the truth in your art in all ways. And allowing us to be lifted by the light of your illustrious life.”
Mark your calendar for June 10 because that’s when the remaining Peabody Awards winners will be announced.