Black Movie Awards
Wed., Oct. 18, at 10/9c

Watch the 2006 Black Movie Awards Wednesday, Oct. 18 10/9c on TNT sponsored by
Cicely Tyson
Special Honoree Distinguished Career Achievement

Cicely Tyson’s life and career tell a story of personal excellence and profound choices.  She is perhaps best known for her performances in roles that not only challenge universal stereotypes, but also raise the consciousness of audiences.  This she consciously set out to do in groundbreaking, award-winning films and television dramas. 

In 1962, Tyson became the first Black actress to co-star in a television drama series when she appeared in East Side/West Side in the role of George C. Scott’s secretary, Jane. She has since received numerous accolades for her television work and remains the only actress to be honored with two Emmys® for a single performance – Actress of the Year (Special) and Best Lead Actress in a Drama – for her work in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and an additional Emmy® for her performance in the The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All. She also received a CableACE for her performance in the TNT Original Heat Wave.

In 1972, Tyson moved film audiences with her passionate performance in Sounder, earning an Oscar® nomination for her work. Among her many other acclaimed television and film performances are roles in Diary of A Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Idlewild, A Woman Called Moses, The Marva Collins Story, The Women of Brewster Place, Blessed Assurance, Fried Green Tomatoes, King, Mama Flora’s Family and A Lesson Before Dying, as well as the groundbreaking television event Roots.In addition to industry accolades, she has also been honored by The National Council of Negro Women, Push, Core, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center and the NAACP, and in 2005 she received her 15th Image Award nomination. Tyson received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Aug. 21, 1997. It is said, by Oprah Winfrey, that Tyson was the inspiration for her 2005 Legends Ball at which she was honored.

Tyson has served as World Ambassador for UNICEF and is currently involved with Save the Children, calling attention to the plight of children throughout the world.  Along with Arthur Mitchell, its artistic director and actor Brock Peters, Tyson co-founded The Dance Theater of Harlem.

Recognizing the need for a celebration of the black arts Tyson spoke before the Fulton County Council in 1987 and encouraged funding for the Black Arts which resulted in the founding of the National Black Arts Festival.  Along with Harry Belafonte she co-chaired the first and second festival which is currently in its’ 30th year.

On the occasion of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Mandela’s first visit to America, Tyson served as host for the tribute to Winnie Mandela and was asked by Mayor Tom Bradley to speak at the Tribute to Nelson Mandela in Los Angeles.

At the 1988 economic summit of world leaders in Texas, Tyson was selected by President Bush, Sr. to serve as Mistress of Ceremony. She was invited by President Carter to perform for President Shagari of Nigeria at a White House dinner and has served on the Kennedy Center Honors Board since his administration.

In 2001, Tyson was called upon to serve as emcee for President Clinton’s Welcome to Harlem, as well as for the Democratic National Committee’s A Night at the Apollo fund raiser for voter registration.

In 2003, Cicely Tyson was appointed Commissioner by President George W. Bush and was acknowledged as a driving force in creating the National Museum of African History and Culture, which will be located in Washington, D.C.

Her deep concern for young people led Tyson to set aside one month out of the year to communicate with them on campuses, in churches and other organizations across the country.  On Nov. 3, 1996, the New Jersey Board of Education unanimously voted to change the name of a public middle school to the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts.  Within a year it was expanded to a high school. The school, located in East Orange, N.J., has a student body of 800 primarily underprivileged students.  Among her many accolades, Ms. Tyson acknowledges this to be one of the most meaningful, and she remains involved in many aspects of the students’ education.

Tyson believes that in an age of brokenness, self-aggrandizement, polarization and the increasing breakdown of family life, that everyone is an embodiment of an indomitable life-giving spirit and must be involved in some voluntary capacity ministering to the lives of those less fortunate than others.  In this regard, over the years, she has solicited, collected and distributed clothing, food and toys to homes and shelters in the New York and New Jersey areas.In January 2005, she visited Phuket, Thailand, to assist in the planning and rebuilding of an elementary school that was devastated by the tsunami.

Tyson is a founding member of CHAA (Coalition for a Healthy and Active America) and of FuturePac, an organization dedicated to raising funds to support women with political aspirations.She also serves as spokesperson for the anti-smoking organization the American Legacy Foundation.

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