As the world reels from the death of legendary actress Cicely Tyson, many are taking heart in what the late visionary has said and done ― including 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, who Tyson praised before passing.
Like many who heard Gorman’s powerful Inauguration Day performance on Jan. 20, Tyson was struck by the power in the young writer’s verses. She shared a touching note of thanks to Gorman on Wednesday ”[Amanda Gorman], your words remind us that we will rise, rebuild, recouncile and recover. Thank you for your words and light.”
The award-winning 97-year-old performer blazed the way for many Black actresses, becoming a major lead at a time when it wasn’t the norm to see Black women in the spotlight. By lighting up screens, Shonda Rhimes noted prior to presenting Tyson with a legacy award last year, she challenged anti-Black racism and allowed many to dare to dream they could do so too.
“I became aware of the fact that there were some issues that I had to address,” Tyson told audience members at the time, “And that I would choose my career as the platform.”
Tyson ended what’s believed to be her last tweet with her initials “CT;” it’s a trademark Tyson has used for many online posts she’s made. Other tweets on the “Sounder” star’s account, including one published after her passing, are unsigned and believed to be written by the late actor’s social media account manager.
Hit with the news of the icon’s death and the honour of being appreciated, a tear-stricken Gorman thanked Tyson and called her a legend who gave “us Black girls everything.”
Many shared their grief with Gorman, commending the difference the actress made in people’s lives and the difference Gorman herself is set to make.
Tyson would likely be proud of Gorman’s upcoming year. The poet will be performing at the Super Bowl in February and is expected to release two books later this year.
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