Geoffrey Holder in 2010
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

With his death at the age of 84, Geoffrey Holder leaves a legacy of creative genius, from the all-black Broadway production of The Wiz, which he costumed and directed, to his unforgettable “uncola man” of 7Up fame.

A towering talent at 6 feet 6, he graced the Metropolitan Opera Ballet stage in New York City as a featured dancer and leaves behind a lifetime of achievement in the arts. Among his credentials: actor, composer, designer, dancer, painter and choreographer. During a wide-ranging interview with the National Visionary Leadership Project, he spoke in that deep, Caribbean-infused baritone about his island upbringing, overcoming childhood adversity and breaking barriers in the arts.

Known for infusing the arts with West Indian flair, Holder describes growing up in Trinidad.

He shares his recollection of meeting the legendary Josephine Baker.

Holder describes his experiences as a black man who was a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.

He had dyslexia as a child and describes the moment he lost his stammer.

Nicole L. Cvetnic is The Root’s multimedia editor and producer.