Normally, I would write a longer Easter post fitting of the occasionbecause Easter is literally the crux of our faith, but having two infants to feed every three hours is still messing with my time management skills. As a result, here is my short Easter post for today. After you have celebrated Easter in the house of God preferably with your church family, know that the celebration doesn’t have to be over!!!
VERZUZ is blessing us with an epic battle between, not one, but two, dynamic gospel duos that is sure to awaken the Holy Ghost in all of us. Singing songs of praise, heavy-hitters, Mary Mary, the gospel-soul twosome (Remember that time I interviewed Tina Campbell? If not, click Mitchell Solarek is NOT Tina Campbell’s Manager & More: My Interview With Mary Mary’s Tina Campbell), will face off in a glorious battle against brother and sister Gospel titans BeBe and CeCe Winans. And, Heaven help us, we are here for it!
It’s going down on Easter Sunday, April 17 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM (PT) and will be Live at Vibiana, 214 S. Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 / @verzuztv on Instagram, Triller app, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, VERZUZTV.com
I find it profoundly mysterious that two days after beloved, award-winning actress and my Delta sorority sister Cicely Tyson released the lone book that she penned about her life and life’s work, the Lord took her from the earthly realm to the heavenly realm. It was as if to say now that her life and life’s work were chronicled in her memoir Just As I Am(the title taken from the heralded hymn that inspired her as a teenager), there was nothing left to be or to do. She was blessed to live 96 years and had the strength to work up until the very end as she was promoting her memoir in various interviews. While many of us were likely familiar with much of her work from Roots to The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman to various Tyler Perry movies to How to Get Away With Murder to most recently Cherish the Day (and this is just a sampling of her work), I, for one, was not aware of her Christian faith that sustained her throughout her life. But her pastor Rev. Calvin Butts III of the well-known Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, where her public viewing will be held on on Monday, Feb. 15 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) was keenly aware of her Christian faith. Below are a few excerpts from Cicely Tyson’s Pastor Remembers her Faith as Family Announces Public Viewing by Leonardo Blair of The Christian Post.
“She had a place in our church where she would sit. She bought that pew in memory of her mother. We don’t sell pews so that people can sit in them, but she donated to our church and she asked that when she was here if she could sit there, and of course, we agreed.
“But she would come to church often and you wouldn’t even know she was here. She would not be spectacular as she can be, she would just sit in the back and worship God. She was here every Sunday when she could be when she wasn’t working, traveling. She was a good member,” he said. “I believe she is enjoying the peace of Heaven. Cicely Tyson will be missed. Our hearts are broken and we are saddened, but she lived a triumphant life. She was God’s gift to us.”
Cicely Tyson’s family circa 1927, from left: her father, William; sister, Emily; mother, Fredericka; brother, Melrose, whom the family called Beau; and Cicely, age 2. | CREDIT: COURTESY CICELY TYSON
Additionally, she spoke on Women’s Day on March 11, 2018 at Abyssinian Baptist Church about growing up in church, where her family attended “Sunday morning till Saturday night.”
“We attended church like Sunday, I played the organ, I taught Sunday school, I had evening service. Monday we had young people’s meeting, Tuesday, old people’s meeting,” she said to another burst of laughter.
“Wednesday, we gathered together to try to introduce young children to the way of God. Thursday, we had club meeting. Friday, I sang and rehearsed in the choir and Saturday, we cleaned the church. I decided at one point that if I ever lived to become a woman I would never enter the portals of church again. And here I am standing in the pulpit of one of the biggest churches in the world,” she said to applause.
Additionally, below is a link to watch Cicely Tyson’s Barnes & Noble interview with Tyler Perry, who had a mother and son relationship:
Here are a few key moments from the interview:
Tyler Perry asked Tyson when she was going to write her memoir for years. And for years, she would reply, “When I have something to say.” See 5:33 of the video.
How her breakthrough role as Rebeccca in “Sounder” led to the arresting cover image on her memoir. While doing promotional work for the movie in London, she was photographed by Lord Snowden, who asked if she would allow him to take pictures of her for his collection. The photograph, which she didn’t see at the time, was sent to Arthur Mitchell, a ballet dancer and her close friend, as a gift from Snowden to Mitchell. When Mitchell passed, the photograph which was hung above his headboard for years, was given to Tyson. She was “stunned” as she had not seen it before. When she saw it, she said, “That will be the cover of my book.” See 6:58 of the video.
When she was 31 years old and in an acting class, she was sexually assaulted by the teacher Paul Mann! “He grabbed me by my hair and pulled me down, and we fought like cats and dogs. I was finally able to free myself from him, and he was left with a handful of my hair in his hand.” See 11:00 of the video.
And as a 47-year-old woman, the fact that she didn’t get her proverbial “big break” until she was 48 years old was inspiring. See an excerpt of this Washington Post article Cicely Tyson, Actress who Gave Electrifying Portrayals of Resilient Black Women, dies at 96 by Adam Bernstein.
Ms. Tyson was a struggling actress at 48, when her fortunes turned seemingly overnight when she won a leading role in “Sounder.” She played a dirt-poor but proud woman trying to raise her son while her husband (Paul Winfield) is jailed for stealing meat to feed his family. Movie critic Roger Ebert called “Sounder” “simply told and universally moving” and singled out Ms. Tyson’s work for its nuance. “It is a wonder to see the subtleties in her performance,” Ebert wrote. “We have seen her with her family, and we know her strength and intelligence. Then we see her dealing with the white power structure, and her behavior toward it is in a style born of cynicism and necessity. She will say what they want to hear in order to get what she wants to get.” See the rest of the article HERE.
I have intentionally not posted about coronavirus for a little now because I didn’t want every single post to be about the pandemic. We’re living it every day so there is no need for a constant reminder on every platform. However, although this country’s battle with coronavirus began roughly in March in the winter, two seasons later, we’re still grappling with how to fight it even as businesses and other facets of our community open and close and open etc. That being said, despite whatever progresses are being made, coronavirus is still claiming lives…
And Christians and non-Christians have succumbed to this illness. Minister Gregory Clark Jr. of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, died from the coronavirus after suffering from it for two months. He was 46 years old. Below is an excerpt from a Christian Post article:
After finally testing negative for the virus last week, the damage he suffered to his lungs and other organs left him unable to breathe on his own so he was stuck on a ventilator until he died, his mother said.
“Everything shut down,” Annie Clark told the publication. “His lungs were damaged beyond repair, his kidney and heart were severely damaged. It was just unbelievable.”
At a solemn memorial service at his church that was broadcast on Facebook, only a few singers and ministers were present in the building donning masks and gloves. Several hundred others logged on to the service online, some leaving warm words to comfort their hurting church family.
I don’t know about you, but everywhere I go outside of my home, unless I’m jogging in the park, I wear a mask. Also, I carry hand sanitizer and wipes with me so that I can keep my hands clean when I’m not at home and cannot wash my hands. What are you doing to keep yourself safe during this continuing COVID-19 crisis? Have you returned to church or did your church ever close? Will your church be closing again if it opened. My church was scheduled to reopen at the beginning of this month, but after cases began spiking again here in Georgia, the church reopening has been delayed…