By MARK KENNEDY, AP Leisure Author
NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler Perry and Invoice and Hillary Clinton have been among the many attendees of a non-public memorial service for Cicely Tyson at Harlem’s famed Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Gospel singer Bebe Winans sang “Stand” — a request from Tyson earlier than her dying — and a letter was learn by rocker Lenny Kravitz, who was a detailed pal.
“The ceremony was lovely. It was very Cicely Tyson: It was formal, it was humorous, it was unhappy, it was superb,” stated Larry Thompson, Tyson’s supervisor for greater than 40 years.
Reporters weren’t permitted inside however a number of mourners stopped to share their ideas afterward.
Abyssinian Baptist’s pastor, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts, stated Tyson was an instance of “a life nicely lived and an instance of how all of us may stay,” including, “She was as a lot an envoy for peace and love as anyone I can consider.”
He famous that Tyson’s service fell throughout Black Historical past Month, giving us “one other illustration of a number of the nice individuals who have contributed to American arts and tradition.”
The memorial service Tuesday got here a day after a whole bunch of admirers of the pioneering Black actor lined up outdoors the church for a public viewing. Some stated that they had come from so far as Atlanta or Los Angeles to be there.
In the course of the ceremony, the solar broke by the clouds and the temperature rose previous 40 for the primary time within the snowy metropolis greater than per week. Her casket was carried to an hearse by six pallbearers in white tie and tails.
Tyson died Jan. 28. The New York-born actor was 96.
Faye Wattleton, a reproductive rights activist who was associates with Tyson for over 30 years stated: “She was 96 however we thought she was going to stay not less than till 100. Folks like her by no means actually go away. Hopefully, she’s feeling all of the love that we gave her in the present day.”
Additionally in attendance was Valerie Simpson of the duo Ashford & Simpson, stylist Ellin LaVar and Emmy-nominated choreographer George Faison, who stated he knew Tyson by her former husband, Miles Davis.
“Now they’re joined collectively in heaven and I am glad I used to be right here to bid her a farewell,” Faison stated. “She was a beautiful girl.”
Tyson was the primary Black girl to have a recurring function in a dramatic tv collection, the 1963 drama “East Facet, West Facet.” Her efficiency as a sharecropper’s spouse within the 1972 film “Sounder” cemented her stardom and earned her an Oscar nomination.
She went on to win two Emmy Awards for taking part in the 110-year-old former slave within the 1974 tv drama “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and one other Emmy 20 years later for “Oldest Residing Accomplice Widow Tells All.”
At age 88, Tyson gained a Tony Award for the revival of Horton Foote’s “The Journey to Bountiful” in 2013. President Barack Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Joseph Joubart performed piano throughout the service and stated it was a second he would always remember. “It was a very shifting expertise and was a tribute to what a fantastic girl she was — an icon, a legend.”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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