Long-time actress Phylicia Rashad continues to reinvent herself in every role she plays. Now, she adds a new job to her impressive resume; being the Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University.
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement, “I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad.”
“As we reintroduce our campus community and the world at large to Howard’s College of Fine Arts, the dean will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution,” Frederick said.
Rashad, 72, earned her fifth Emmy nomination for her work on “This Is Us” in 2020 and won her fourth NAACP Image Award for “Jingle Jangle” in March. She has served as guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member, conducting master’s-level classes at many colleges, universities and arts organizations. The list includes Howard, New York University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon and The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
“It is a privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts,” Rashad said in a statement.
After Chadwick Boseman’s death last year following a battle with colon cancer, Rashad said during an ABC tribute to him that she mentored Boseman while teaching at Howard University when he was a student there.
The Cosby Show alum said she received a call that a group of her students had auditioned for and been accepted into the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program, but would not be attending because they couldn’t afford it.
“I made a phone call to a friend of mine, and he called me back and we talked about it for about five minutes, and he said, ‘OK, I got this money,” Rashad said.
That friend was Denzel Washington.
Boseman wasn’t the only student that Denzel has helped. ‘Power’ TV series star Omari Hardwick was another recipient of a gift from Washington.
“Pauletta and Denzel were like my surrogate Aunt and Uncle,” explains Hardwick. “They gave me shelter when I didn’t have a place to stay. Through them, I was able to still go to acting classes 6 hours a week and halfway pursue being a firefighter as a backup. But it was the day that I was offered to be a firefighter, that I got offered my first job from Spike Lee.”
His first acting role was a big deal. Hardwick filmed in San Francisco with promises of the show’s pilot turning into a series for Showtime networks, but it never happened. So it left Hardwick back out on the streets again. Literally.
“So right after that I was broke. Completely broke. Living in my car. My mom and dad said, ‘I love you but you not coming back here.’ So my Pops and mom rounded up about $2,500 for me. And Pauletta…got permission from Denzel, but she paid off my car enough not to be repossessed. So when I finally paid them back for that, it was a big deal–for me and them. They even framed that check.”
Rashad will more than likely continue to have a positive effect on students in her new role. She officially starts on