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Cicely Tyson Says She's Honored To Be An Inspiration to Black Actresses

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Cicely Tyson appears on the Today show on NBC in New York City.
Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

After over 50 years in the acting game, Cicely Tyson's career is stronger than ever.

The 80-year-old actress recently won the Tony for her 2013 performance in A Trip to Bountiful, and is up for an Emmy for playing the same character in Lifetime's TV adaption of the play.

With so much success throughout her career, it’s no surprise that so many women of color look up to Tyson. Asked what she thought of actresses like Viola Davis and Kerry Washington calling her an inspiration, Tyson told The Hollywood Reporter she couldn’t be “happier.”

"If, in fact, I have, in some way, been the inspiration for any of them, I will feel that I have accomplished what I set out to do, and that is to break the mold and the concept that limited people’s vision of what we, as Black women, or Black actresses, could do in this business."

Tyson also added that her desire all along had been to get away from negative portrayals of Black women. “Yes, we have drug addicts, and prostitutes and low-lifes, but we also have doctors, lawyers and teachers,” she said “We have women who are just mothers to their children and wives to their husbands that have decency about who they are and what they are and why they are on the face of this earth.”

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards air August 25 at 8pm EST on NBC. Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Laverne Cox are also nominated this year.

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