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LisaGay Hamilton Steps Behind the Camera

LisaGay Hamilton's documentary chronicles the life of actress Beah Richards

Fans shouldn’t worry that they’ve seen the last of LisaGay Hamilton, who played the attorney Rebecca Washington on ABC’s The Practice until last fall.

Hamilton’s been busy on another network in a new role: director. Her documentary debut, Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, chronicles the life of Beah Richards, the late actress, poet, dancer, playwright and political activist. The profile premieres February 25 on HBO (check your local listings) as the centerpiece of a series, Hearing Her Voice: Black History/Herstory.

“This film gave me the opportunity to explore the power of storytelling and the importance of documentaries in preserving our culture,” Hamilton says. “Being behind the camera just enriched who I am.”
A Juilliard School of Drama alumna, Hamilton has also performed on Broadway and in the films Jackie Brown, Beloved, True Crime and The Truth About Charlie.

“If it had not been for Beah, I don’t think I would have continued to lobby for an opportunity to direct,” says Hamilton, who first met Richards on the set of Beloved in 1998. “She was my African teacher saying, ‘Hey, go for it…and keep on going.’ ”