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Amanda Gorman, the young poet who grabbed the national spotlight at President Joe Biden's inauguration with her inspirational and powerful reading, will recite more of her work at Super Bowl LV.
According to an NFL list of past performances during Super Bowl half-time and pre-game shows, she will be the first poet ever to perform at the event, which is one of the most watched broadcasts in television.
At 22, Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet, and her poem "The Hill We Climb" confronted head-on the nation's violent division as it challenged Americans to work for unity and hope.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced the Los Angeles poet will recite a new poem before the official coin toss to recognize an educator, a nurse, and a veteran for helping their communities during the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 425,000 people in the US so far.
The poem will be broadcast to a national audience on CBS, the NFL announced.
The new poem will honor Trimaine Davis, an educator who worked to secure electronic equipment for students, Suzie Dorner, an ICU nurse manager in Tampa, and James Martin, a Marine veteran who has worked to support fellow vets and high school athletes.
Davis, Dorner, and Martin will serve as the big game's honorary captains and take part in the coin toss ceremony in the middle of the field.
Gorman and her work skyrocketed to national acclaim after the Jan. 20 inauguration. Since then, she's appeared on national TV shows like Ellen, and her books shot into the top two slots on Amazon a day after her appearance in DC.
As she was working on "The Hill We Climb," Gorman told CNN's Anderson Cooper she had been studying the works of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, master orators during times of great division in the US. But it was the violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that cemented the ultimate message of the work, she said.
"What it did is it energized me even more, to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and unity and healing," she told Cooper. "I felt that was the type of poem I needed to write, and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear."
Over decades, Tyson became a legend by turning down stereotypical roles for Black women and instead forging a path with nuanced characters that led to household name status.
Krystie Lee Yandoli BuzzFeed News Reporter
Last updated on January 28, 2021
Jordan Strauss / AP
Inductee Cicely Tyson poses for a portrait at the 25th Television Academy Hall of Fame at the Saban Media Center on Jan. 28, 2020, in North Hollywood.
Cicely Tyson, the Hollywood legend who won Emmy and Tony awards during a 70-year career that spanned television, film, and theater, died Thursday. She was 96.
“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” Tyson’s manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”
Over decades, she became a legend by turning down stereotypical roles for Black women and instead forging a path with nuanced characters that led to household name status with 1974’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, for which she won two Emmys.
Cicely Tyson poses in 1974 with her Emmy awards.
After first pursuing a career as a fashion model, Tyson took up acting in 1951 on the NBC show Frontiers of Faith. When she appeared on the TV series East Side/West Side as Jane Foster from 1963–1964, she became the first Black woman to land a main role in a television drama. She also acted on the soap opera The Guiding Light.
Tyson won her first Emmy Award in 1974 for Best Lead Actress in a Drama and Actress of the Year for playing the role of Jane Pittman in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In 1994, her acting in Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All won her another Emmy in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special category. Throughout her career, Tyson was nominated for 16 Emmy Awards, including for her guest role in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.
In 2013, Tyson also earned a Tony Award in the category of Best Actress in a Play for the character Miss Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, becoming the oldest recipient of the honor in that category.
An accomplished actor, Tyson also received an Oscar nomination in 1973 in the Best Actress category for Sounder, as well as an Honorary Oscar in 2018. Among her other notable awards, Tyson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-president Barack Obama in 2016 as well as the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.
Tyson's acting career didn't slow down when she got older. She played supporting roles in 2011's The Help, House of Cards in 2016, and Madam Secretary in 2019. She also appeared in many Tyler Perry films, such as Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005, Madea’s Family Reunion in 2006, and Why Did I Get Married Too? in 2010.
In 1942, when the actor was 18, she married Kenneth Franklin, but the marriage ended 14 years later. In the 1960s, Tyson started dating famed jazz musician Miles Davis and the two married in 1981. She later filed for divorce in 1988.
On Jan. 26, two days before her death was announced, Tyson published a memoir titled Just as I Am, which detailed her career and personal life, including her marriage to Davis, who she said was unfaithful, physically abusive, and was addicted to drugs.
As news broke about Tyson's death, fans, members of Hollywood, and other public figures took to Twitter to mourn and celebrate the life of the iconic actor. US Rep. Maxine Waters wrote that Tyson was "one of the most profound, talented, & celebrated actors in the industry. She was a serious actor, beautiful & spiritual woman who had unlocked the key to longevity in the way she lived her life. Forever all my love & respect."Shonda Rhimes, who worked with Tyson on How to Get Away With Murder, wrote, "She was an extraordinary person. And this is an extraordinary loss. She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn. I am grateful for every moment. Her power and grace will be with us forever."
Earlier this month, the New York Times published an interview with Tyson while she was promoting her new memoir. When asked about whether she was afraid of death, the actor replied, “I’m not scared of death. I don’t know what it is. How could I be afraid of something I don’t know anything about?”
“[People] just think they know death because other people say it is something to be scared of, but they don’t know that it is a frightening thing. Do you?” Tyson added. “People say it is this and it is that. But they don’t know. They’ve not been there. I’ve not been there. I’m not in a hurry to go either! I take it a day at a time, David, and I’m grateful for every day that God gives me.”
Krystie Lee Yandoli is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Cicely Tyson's career was an inspiration on and off the screen, so after the 96-year-old Hollywood icon died Thursday, the tributes to her came pouring in.
"I really need this not to be true," Shonda Rhimes, prolific producer and screenwriter, wrote on Twitter. Tyson had a memorable recurring role on Rhimes' show How to Get Away With Murder.
Rhimes then followed with a tribute to Tyson, the legendary actor who forged a path for Black women in the industry with nuanced characters throughout a 70-year career that earned her Emmy and Tony awards.
"She was an extraordinary person," Rhimes wrote. "She had so much to teach. And I still have so much to learn."
Actor Zendaya also mourned the loss of the acting icon.
"This one hurts," Zendya wrote.
"You paved the way," actor Tracie Thoms noted.
"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," Viola Davis wrote. "You gave me permission to dream."
Others who had also gotten a chance to work with Tyson remembered her as tireless throughout the course of a 70-year career.
In a series of pictures, rapper and actor Common noted Tyson's influence throughout her career, not just on the screen, but in fashion and culture.
Just two days before her death, Tyson's memoir Just as I Am was published. In an interview with CBS This Morning's Gayle King, Tyson discussed her life and legacy as she promoted the book.
On Thursday, King posted a portion of the interview and thanked the trailblazing actor.
Others noted the barriers that were broken down by Tyson's work, especially for Black women. Her portrayals of nuanced characters and elegant presence on screen were both an inspiration and a force for change.
Bernice King, the youngest of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children, also honored the actor.
"What a vessel," she wrote.
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.