The announcement of Cicely Tyson’s passing on Thursday (Jan.28) felt like a gut punch to the Black community, and reactions continue to pour in.
Cicely Tyson LIVED. There is no denying that. The vaunted actress has managed to touch and impact many lives through her work in film, television, and stage plays, which is a clear reason why her passing hit so hard. In one of her final interviews, speaking with CBS News This Morning’s Gayle King, Tyson was asked, “When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?”
“I done my best. That’s all.”
"When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?" — @GayleKing
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 29, 2021
That she did, it’s even more evident in the many tribute posts that followed the announcement of the 96-year old actress’s passing. Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama both shared separate tribute posts honoring Tyson. Our forever POTUS’ posts touched on Cicely Tyson’s perseverance by reflecting on her beating the odds as an infant after doctors didn’t give her more than three months to live becuase of a heart murmur.
“When Cicely Tyson was born, doctors predicted she wouldn’t make it three months because of a murmur in her heart. What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t know, was that Cicely had a heart unlike any other. The kind that would not only beat for 96 more years but leave a mark on the world that few could match.”
Michelle Obama touched on Tyson’s humanity, not her star power that stood out to her most.
“What struck me every time I spent time with Cicely Tyson was not necessarily her star power—though that was evident enough—it was her humanity.”
Tyler Perry also shared a touching video tribute honoring Tyson.
In a Vulture piece breaking down her recently released memoir, Just As I Am, it was revealed that Perry decided to double, triple, or sometimes quadruple her asking price for roles after finding how grossly underpaid she was for her performances in Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Pittman. The two have a storied working relationship with Tyson, starring in six of his films, and she is even the godmother to Perry’s son Aman.
Was just reading about Cicely Tyson's new memoir this morning, and thought this was really decent of Tyler Perry. RIP to a legend. pic.twitter.com/ZpBgh7EpYw
— ItsTheReal (@itsthereal) January 29, 2021
Cicely Tyson lived a life many wished they could. You can see just how beloved she was based on all of the reactions you will see in the gallery below.
Photo: JC Olivera / Getty
SNL veteran Jim Downey tells me the highest rated SNL ever was hosted by ...— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) January 29, 2021
Feb 10, 1979
17.6 with 42 share
Wow, she was also the first Black woman to host SNL.
She most definitely did.
Rest In Paradise Cicely Tyson ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xX3mwxSePl— Ciara (@ciara) January 29, 2021
Rest well, queen.
Rest in peace Cicely Tyson. What a legend🙏🏾❤️ pic.twitter.com/5oP0Hoxr9M— TALLY (@kreptplaydirty) January 29, 2021
The pure definition of a legend.
Moments in history that made history. If there’s a Cicely Tyson biopic, this exact story needs to be shown.— Dani Kwateng (@danikwateng) January 29, 2021
May she rest in power. pic.twitter.com/UWg5ssGXf0
#CicelyTyson This is your story. Your song. Blessed Assurance. It’s what you gave us. A foretaste of glory!❤️ I love this video of you. A spectacular night. A spectacular life. Thank you for blessing us and for lighting way. I miss you already. So so much https://t.co/F73A9k9dT9— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 29, 2021
Another icon lost... Cicely Tyson you were beauty and grace, and an inspiration to us all. Such an incredible force. Rest in Power. pic.twitter.com/OR9OWzMxJd— Giancarlo Esposito (@quiethandfilms) January 29, 2021
Cicely Tyson 🙏🏾🕊 pic.twitter.com/5TO7LL2mlx— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 29, 2021
A touching tribute from Auntie O.
Cicely Tyson was a groundbreaking talent with a generous spirit.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 29, 2021
A Hollywood icon and barrier breaker, her legacy is one that will continue to inspire generations to come.
May she rest in power.https://t.co/cyBjgy7Xup
Democratic Senate Majority Leader told no lies about Cicely Tyson.
The art of rewriting an entire narrative is rare - but #CicelyTyson did so. She infused film with the power of transfiguration, showing black women, marginalized women, underestimated women in their abundant glory. And the world will never be the same. God’s rest to you, madam.— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 29, 2021
The world will definitely not be the same without Cicely Tyson’s light.
Cicely Tyson was an award-winning film, television and stage actress born in 1924 in New York City, NY.— Smithsonian NMAAHC (@NMAAHC) January 29, 2021
After being discovered by an editor at Ebony Magazine in 1957, her legendary career began. Tyson dedicated her life and career to presenting positive images of black women. pic.twitter.com/VtoKhXjpqd
Cicely Tyson opened doors, broke through ceilings, and made pathways. We will be forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/k5JKx0eolO— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) January 29, 2021
A true trailblazer.
Indeed it has.
My heart is so heavy. At this moment I’m celebrating the life of a true inspiration to me, Cicely Tyson. An icon, a legend, a pioneer, a trailblazer, our Queen. What an honor to have been in your presence. Thank you for all you’ve done. You will be truly missed. 🙏🏽🤍 pic.twitter.com/ePACeh2tWK— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) January 29, 2021