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What We Are Watching This Weekend

Hollywood is still processing the loss of Cicely Tyson. Since her breakout role in ‘Sounder’ Tyson stayed busy in upping her small and big screen character choices.  At a time where lesser roles were the only alternative for black women, Tyson willingly denied herself the chance to commit to roles that subverted the humanity of black people.

“I saw that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress. So I made the choice to use my career as a platform to address the issues of the race I was born into,” Tyson told The New York Times in 2013.

“When I read a script: either my skin tingles or my stomach churns. When it tingles, I take it, and when my stomach churns, there’s no way I could possibly do it. No way.”

Whether or not she was a family matriarch, left with the burden of taking care of her son after the arrest of her husband in ‘Sounder’ or wife to Civil Rights movement activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the small screen in ‘King’, the formidable actress remembered by Hollywood as the ‘greatest to ever do it’ never shied away from bringing her magical talent to the screen.

She was the first black woman to secure an Emmy best lead actress win and the first African-American actress to have a continuing role on a network series, ‘East Side/West Side’.

A three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner and a Tony Award recipient at age 88, we dedicate our weekend watchlist to binge-watch some of the best works of Tyson during her over 70 years stay in Hollywood.



Cast: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks

Director: Martin Ritt

Synopsis: Black sharecroppers during the Depression fight to get their children a decent education

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘The Marva Collins Story’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Morgan Freeman, Roderick Wimberly

Director: Peter Levin

Synopsis: Marva Collins (Cicely Tyson) is a Chicago schoolteacher who strives to do her best to educate her students. However, she grows frustrated by the boundaries imposed on her methods by a failing public school system. Confronted by stubborn colleagues and a reproachful principal, Collins boldly decides to go it alone. Using her own funds, she creates the prep school for inner-city students that she feels they deserve. This moving biopic is based on a true story.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Katherine Helmond, Michael Murphy

Director: John Korty

Synopsis: Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman (Cicely Tyson) grants an interview to a persistent journalist and relates the remarkable story of her life. Orphaned early, she toils on a plantation until a chance meeting with a white Union soldier named Brown changes her outlook. Jane’s emancipation marks only the beginning of an arduous and heartbreaking odyssey, framed by the horrors of slavery and the justice of the civil rights movement.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘Mama Flora’s Family’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Queen Latifah

Director: Peter Werner

Synopsis: The story spans from the 1920s to the 1970s as it follows Flora, a daughter of poor black Mississippi sharecroppers, and her descendants.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘A Fall from Grace’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Crystal R. Fox, Tyler Perry

Director: Tyler Perry

Synopsis: When a woman is indicted for murdering her husband, her lawyer thinks there may be a conspiracy at play.

Available to watch: Netflix


‘East Side/West Side’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Wilson

Creator: David Susskind

Synopsis: A social worker (George C. Scott) battles prejudice in New York City.


Cast: Cicely Tyson, LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams

Synopsis: Based on Alex Haley’s family history. Kunta Kinte is sold into the slave trade after being abducted from his African village, and is taken to the United States. Kinte and his family observe notable events in American history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and emancipation.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘Sweet Justice’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Melissa Gilbert, Ronny Cox

Creator: John Romano

Synopsis: Attorney Kate Delacroy returns to New Orleans from Wall Street for her sister’s engagement party and decides to stay. Instead of joining the prestigious law firm headed by her arch conservative father, James-Lee, she joins forces with old civil rights warrior Carrie Grace Battle in Battle-Ross & Associates, the better to take on cases of women’s rights, minority rights, and everyone else’s rights.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘Cherish the Day’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Xosha Roquem, Alano Miller

Creator: Ava DuVernay

Synopsis: The stirring romance of a couple is told in segments of a single day.

Available to watch: Amazon Prime Video

‘How to Get Away with Murder’

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Viola Davis, Aja Naomi King

Creator: Peter Nowalk

Synopsis: Annalise Keating, a criminal defence lawyer and professor, teaches a group of aspiring law students. However, their lives alter when they get entangled in an aberrant murder.

Available to watch: Netflix

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