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Annual Kennedy Center Honors

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

In the wake of news regarding the passing of Cicely Tyson, celebrities took to social media to honor the legacy of a woman who paved the way for Black actors everywhere. Her delightful and positive spirit flooded every timeline from Twitter to Instagram as fans took time to reflect on her contributions to the entertainment industry.

The Black elite shared their fondest memories of Tyson. From Yara Shahidi to the Obamas, celebrities and fans shared touching tributes, memorable stories, and funny moments.

CBS This Morning posted an interview with Cicely Tyson and Gayle King. In the clip, Tyson humbly explains that she never knew her life and career would have this kind of impact on others.

In the interview Gayle asked, “What does it feel like to be 96 and a legend, Ms. Legend?” Tyson replied, “I’m amazed every single day I live.”

“Do you feel like you have more to do?” Gayle asked. “Yes! That’s why I’m still here. I mean, what my life became is not what I expected. I had no idea that I would touch anybody,” Tyson responded.

“When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?” asked Gayle. “I’ve done my best. That’s all,” she simply stated.

Cicely Tyson did more than her best. She inspired a world of dreamers to press on despite the valleys ahead of them. As we continue to celebrate her life, take a look at what her peers had to say about the legacy she is leaving behind.

Hollywood’s Elite Share Their Memories On The Late Cicely Tyson  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com


Source:Tyler Perry/Instagram

Tyler Perry’s love for Cicely Tyson ran deep. He loved casting her in his films as the older, wiser grandmother that would advise the younger generations. The actor, director and producer explains that he was led to watch one of her movies just before he learned that the legendary actress had passed away.


Source:Oprah Winfrey/Instagram

Oprah paid tribute to Tyson by recalling her favorite moment with her. In 2005 at the Legends Ball, Oprah honored her and along with other trailblazing Black women. As they embraced, Oprah mentioned loving Cicely’s hat. Shortly after the event, Oprah received the beautiful white hat in the mail.


Source:Barack Obama/Instagram

Former president Barack Obama gave Cicely Tyson the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest badge of honor given to a civilian. 


Source:Michelle Obama/Instagram

Michelle Obama took time to speak to Ms. Cicely’s character. Beyond her presence on stage was her character as a person. Both Michelle and Barack speak to her gentle, soothing soul and her talent for elevating everyone’s spirit with her presence.


Source:Ava DuVernay/Instagram

Ava DuVernay’s touching tribute read almost poetically to the amazing woman that Ms. Cicely Tyson was. From her joyful smile to her strong hugs,  she was more than just an actress. This woman served as a residential grandmother to the Black actors and actresses of Hollywood.


Source:Michael B. Jordan/Instagram

Actor Michael B. Jordan kept it short and sweet by thanking the actress for paving the way for people like himself. 


Source:Whoopi Goldberg/Instagram

Whoopi Goldberg speaks to the timeliness of Ms. Cicely’s memoir. As if to say, “I’ve said all I needed to say, now its time for me to go.” Whoopi shared a few photos of moments the two actresses had together.


Source:Shonda Rhimes/Instagram

Shonda Rhimes paid tribute by acknowledging all the wisdom Ms. Cicely had to share. She was definitely a force to be reckoned with and it is clear Black Hollywood has taken a major blow with this loss.


Source:Martin Lawrence/Instagram

Martin Lawrence shared a few touching words about the loss of Ms. Cicely.


Source:Taraji P. Henson/Instagram

Taraji P. Henson acknowledged that Ms. Cicely paved the way for herself and others as Black actresses in the industry. Through her memoir, we can learn of the fight that Ms. Cicely endured so that today’s actresses could land the roles they deserved to play. While there’s still a long way to go as far as Black representation goes, people like Tyler Perry, Oprah, and Ava DuVernay are using their position to tell Black stories, cast Black actors, and adhere to appropriate compensation.


Source:Viola Davis/Instagram

Viola Davis’ tribute is by far the most touching for me. “You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls.” The entertainment industry has never been that fond of women with darker skin, even in Black Hollywood. Ms. Cicely’s longevity and perseverance pushed past those biases and showed the world just how beautiful Black woman are.


Source:Steve Harvey/Instagram

“If it were not for her, there would not be many of us. PERIOD!!!” Steve Harvey wrote.


Source:Jenifer Lewis/Instagram

“I don’t have to tell them to go vote. They know they’re supposed vote. Come on, now!” Ms. Cicely said in a clip with Jenifer Lewis. Although the post rang true, it’s cute to see her sassy side. Watching this, I felt like my grandmother was lovingly scolding me for thinking about not doing something I know I’m supposed to do.


Source:Niecy Nash/Instagram

Niecy Nash recalled the kind words that Cicely Tyson shared with her after her performance in When They See Us. The monumental mini series spoke to the troubling history of Black people being targeted and unfairly treated by the system. This experience is not unique to the five men who were wrongly accused of assaulting and raping a young woman in Central Park. Unfortunately, Cicely Tyson witnessed a lot of this and more during her her time.

15. Yara Shahidi

Source:Yara Shahidi/Instagram

The Grown-ish actress recalled Tyson being her first movie grandmother and guiding Yara with care. Yara, who’s known for sporting her curly, natural mane, also noted that Tyson was the first Black woman to wear her hair naturally on TV. 

“Heartbroken by the passing of the LEGENDARY, GRACEFUL, and ICONIC, Cicely Tyson 💔💔,” Yara captioned on Instagram. “From her iconic roles and dedication to her craft to being the first Black Women to wear her hair naturally on TV, to being my first movie grandmother and guiding me with such care … her impact is TRULY INCALCULABLE #RestInPower”