Throughout her entire career, living legend Cicely Tyson has used her artistry to bring poignant roles to life on television and in films. The Harlem native was recently recognized as a trailblazer in the entertainment industry with a prestigious honor. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tyson was bestowed with the Peabody Career Achievement Award.
The honor is given to individuals whose work in digital media and broadcasting has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of American culture. Tyson—whose career spans over 70 years—was honored for playing transformative roles that highlighted the Black experience in America, leading to dialogue about societal issues within the country. “With her award-winning performances, Tyson has taught us to champion a world of possibility for social justice, creativity, vitality and joy,” read a statement released by the Peabody board of jurors. “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.”
Since the Peabody Awards were canceled due to the public health crisis, Tyson was honored with a video that featured messages from Viola Davis, Regina King and Oprah Winfrey about the impact and influence she has had on their lives.
The honor comes nearly six months after Tyson was inducted into the 2020 TV Hall of Fame. “I am grateful, not to the shoulders that I stood on, but the backs that I laid on and stood on while the women in our family picked cotton with babies strapped to their backs. I’m grateful for them,” she said after being inducted. “I am super grateful that I have been here for 95 years and have no idea who this person is. I find myself looking in the mirror every now and then and saying ‘Cicely, do you believe this?’”