Tyler Perry, Ava DuVernay, Viola Davis, Oprah Winfrey And More Mourn Cicely Tyson's Death
Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM

Tyler Perry, Ava DuVernay, Viola Davis, Oprah Winfrey And More Mourn Cicely Tyson's Death

Celebrities are reeling from the death of iconic actress and activist Cicely Tyson who died Thursday at 96 years old.

Viola Davis, who worked opposite Tyson on How to Get Away with Murder, wrote on Twitter about her grief.

“I’m devastated. My heart is just broken. I loved you so much!!” she wrote. “You were everything to me! You made me feel loved and seen and valued in a world where there is still a cloak of invisibility for us dark chocolate girls. You gave me permission to dream.”

Jurnee Smollett posted pictures of her and Tyson during their stage production of The Trip to Bountiful.

“Half of the time I was pinching myself that I was actually sharing the stage with the great Ms. Tyson and the other half of the time I stood in the wings and watched every performance,” she wrote. “Tried to dissect each beat to understand the source of her magic. The thing about magic is that it can’t be understood by our logic brain. It can only be felt. She was a master magician…capable of hooking you at the deeperst part of your core and leaving you utterly spellbound by her masterful and seamless craft.”

Robin Thede wrote on Twitter, “Cicely Tyson is one of those legends you’d hope we would have forever. And you knew it was a silly dream but you dreamt it anyway. This day is hard for so many reasons. This is a massive loss. Thank you for your gifts, queen.”

Rev. Al Sharpton shared photos of him with Tyson on Facebook, writing about his sadness regarding Tyson’s death.

“She was the ultimate actress, artist, trailblazer and role model,” he wrote. “Nobody possessed her grace, intellect, and sensitivity. I’m blessed to have known her and bathed in her wisdom. May she rest in ower and Peace.”

Deeply saddened at the news of the death of Cicely Tyson. She was the ultimate actress, artist, trailblazer and role…

Posted by Reverend Al Sharpton on Thursday, January 28, 2021

Common wrote on Twitter about how Tyson’s work will continue to uplift beyond her death.

“I’m so sad to hear the news that trailblazing artist and cultural icon Cicely Tyson passed away today,” he wrote. “While she may be gone, her work and life will continue to inspire for millions of years to come. God Bless.”

“This one hurts,” wrote Zendaya on Twitter. “[T]oday we honor and celebrate the life of one of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you Cicely Tyson. Rest in great power.”

Rosario Dawson retweeted another tweet about Cicely Tyson’s life, adding, “Greatness incarnate. I’m so grateful I got to see her perform live…Thank you dear Cicely for shining so bright and full every day for us all. #LegendsNeverDie.”

“Thank you Ms. Tyson,” wrote Audra McDonald on Twitter, retweeting Variety’s obituary of Tyson. “Thank you for everything you taught us. Thank you for your brilliance. Thank you for your light. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you. Rest in power Queen Cicely.”

Orlando Jones wrote about one of Tyson’s quotes that helped him throughout his life.

“‘The moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are,'” he quoted. “‘Nobody would bother to beat you down if you were not a threat.’ This Cicely Tyson quote has always been my guide. Rest in Power Queen #RIPCicelyTyson.”

Tyler Perry, one of Tyson’s frequent collaborators, wrote on Facebook about how he learned of Tyson’s death.”

“I was sitting at the table working when I got this overwhelming feeling to watch Miss Jane Pittman,” he wrote. “I hadn’t seen the movie in years. I didn’t even understand the feeling to turn it on, but I did anyway. Not 12 minutes into the movie my phone rang. It was Oprah calling to tell me that Cicely had died. This one brought me to my knees! She as the grandmother I never had had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup. My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next. To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy.”

I was sitting at the table working when I got this overwhelming feeling to watch Miss Jane Pittman. I hadn’t seen the…

Posted by Tyler Perry on Thursday, January 28, 2021

Perry also posted a video montage of Tyson’s career and the moments he shared with her, including honoring her with a soundstage named after her at Tyler Perry Studios.

Oprah Winfrey also shared one of her favorite moments with Tyson.

“The weekend of the Legends Ball in 2005. The idea for the ball originated because I wanted to celebrate HER, and other remarkable Black women who carved a path and built a bridge for me and generations to follow. What a joy to honor her and feel her receive it! I loved her hat so much, she sent it to me afterwards.”

“[Tyson] used her career to illuminate the humanity of Black people,” she continued. “The roles she played reflected her values; she never compromised. Her life so fully lived is a testimony to Greatness.”

Winfrey also shared one of her conversations with Tyson, writing that Tyson is finally able to tell her full story through her new memoir, Cicely Tyson: Just As I Am.

“I read her memoir…and now fully understand why she is such a treasure. What a life!”

Ava DuVernay, another of Tyson’s inner circle, wrote on Twitter about how she will miss Tyson’s warmth and generosity.

“Your hugs I’ll remember. How your petite arms wrapped around me like mighty branches of a sunlit tree, strong and warm,” she wrote. “Your love I’ll remember. You loved me for some reason and told me often. Thank you, Your Majesty. And bless you as you journey ahead. Until we meet again…”

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