Words by: Rashad Grove

The top echelon of the film industry of Hollywood came together to honor several artists for contributions. At 93 years young, legendary actress Cicely Tyson received an Honorary Oscar. She is the first African American to receive the prize.

In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Tyson is the recipient of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actor Guild Award, and one Tony Award. Quincy Jones, Ava DuVernay, and Tyler Perry were among those in attendance who came to pay tribute to the iconic actress at Sunday’s Governors Awards. speaking of the numerous challenges she overcame as a black actress in America and the formidable career she has forged on stage and on screen.

In her acceptance speech, Tyson spoke of the numerous challenges that she faced as she attempted to pursue her dream of acting. She said, “Mom, I know you didn’t want me to do this,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, referring to her mother, “but I did and here it is. For the longest time, I wanted to hear something positive from her. When I did [the Emmy-
winning TV movie] Jane Pittman…she said, ‘I am so proud of you.’ If I had not heard those words from her, none of this would make a difference to me.”

Adding to her trophy case, Tyson is the recipient of the Kennedy Center award in 2015. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the United States.