Cicely Tyson: 3 Stops On The Road To Legendary

cicely tysonCicely Tyson is a living legend who has won multiple awards throughout her illustrious career on Broadway, in film, and in television. With such unforgettable roles as Kunta Kinte’s mother in the epic miniseries “Roots,” or her ground-breaking performance in “Sounder. And even recently, with roles in blockbuster movies, her Kennedy Center Honor, Broadway productions and even her role on the highly watched show “Scandal.”

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Being 90 years old, Tyson has shown no signs of slowing down.  With her half-century career, she’s learned a lot about staying relevant. Here are just a few gems that she wants to pass down to the next generation:

I. Command Respect
Don’t demand, command the respect you deserve. Years ago, as a young actress, Tyson says she was asked to meet a reporter at a prominent hotel for an interview. “I came in with my raincoat and a couple of other things, and I went to the check booth,” Tyson says. “She took one look at me and said, ‘Oh, we don’t take these here, you have to go around the back.'”

(photo by walter mcbride)

(photo by walter mcbride)

Tyson says she just looked at her and smiled. “I said, ‘Excuse me, but I was not going to ask you to take my coat and check it, which is your job,'” Tyson says. “‘I simply was going to ask direction. But I will take this moment to let you know, just in case you don’t, that every one of us that look like me are not all in a position of servitude.'”

This is what it all boils down to, Tyson says. “I don’t look for anything or ask for anything other than to be treated like a human being. That’s all.”