FEATURE: MAYA ANGELOU

Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

Born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

In 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.

In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity.

Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X’s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King’s assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.

With the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.

A trailblazer in film and television, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots (1977) and John Singleton’s Poetic Justice (1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.

Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Dr. Angelou’s reading of her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” was broadcast live around the world.

Dr. Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.

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FEATURE: CICELY TYSON

CICELY TYSON

One of America’s most respected dramatic actresses, Cicely Tyson has worked steadily as a television, film, and stage actress since making her stage debut in a Harlem YMCA production of {+Dark of the Moon} in the 1950s. The daughter of Caribbean immigrants, Tyson was raised in Harlem. After working as a secretary and a successful model, she became an actress, landed her first jobs in off-Broadway productions, and eventually made it to the Great White Way in the late ’50s. Tyson got her first real break in 1963, playing a secretary to George C. Scott on the TV series East Side/West Side, and in 1966 signed on with the daytime soap The Guiding Light. That same year, she made her credited screen debut starring opposite Sammy Davis Jr. in the drama A Man Called Adam (her first uncredited film role was in 1959’s Odds Against Tomorrow). More film, television, and stage work followed, but Tyson did not truly become a star until her Oscar-nominated performance in the Depression drama Sounder (1972). An unusual beauty with delicate features, expressive black eyes, and a full, wide mouth, Tyson next hid her good looks beneath layers of old-age makeup to convincingly portray a 110-year-old former slave who tells her extraordinary life story in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974). A well-wrought effort, it won Tyson her first Emmy for her title role, which required her to age 91 years on the screen. Tyson subsequently had great success on television, particularly with her role in the legendary miniseries Roots (1977) and her work in The Women of Brewster Place (1989). She also continued to do a fair amount of film work, appearing in films like Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994), The Grass Harp (1995), and Hoodlum (1997). In 1997, Tyson again donned old woman’s makeup to offer a delightfully crotchety version of Charles Dickens’ Scrooge in the 1997 USA Network original production Ms. Scrooge. Two years later, she had another television success — and another Emmy nomination — with A Lesson Before Dying, a drama set in the 1940s about a black man sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Tyson was later featured in a trio of popular Tyler Perry movies, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010). She also had a small, but pivotal, role in 2011’s Oscar-nominated The Help, as Contstantine, the loving and elderly maid of Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone). ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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FEATURE: HALLE BERRY

Halle Berry

From All Movie Guide: A woman whose combination of talent, tenacity, and beauty has made her one of Hollywood’s busiest actors, Halle Berry has enjoyed a level of success that has come from years of hard work and her share of career pitfalls.

Berry’s interest in show business came courtesy of her participation in a number of beauty pageants throughout her teens, including the 1986 Miss U.S.A. Pageant. A native of Cleveland, OH, where she was born to an African-American father and white mother on August 14, 1968, Berry was raised by her mother, a psychiatric nurse, following her parents’ divorce. At the age of 17, she appeared in the spotlight for the first time as the winner of the Miss Teen All-American Pageant, and subsequently became a model. Berry won her first professional acting gig on the TV series Living Dolls, and then appeared on Knots Landing before winning her first big-screen role in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. It was on the set of the film that she first earned her reputation for her full commitment to acting, reportedly refusing to bathe for weeks in preparation for her portrayal of a crack addict.

Following her film debut, Berry was cast opposite Eddie Murphy in Boomerang (1992) as the comedian’s love interest; not only did she hold her own against Murphy, but the same year she did acclaimed work in the title role of the Alex Haley miniseries Queen, playing a young woman struggling against the brutal conditions of slavery.

After a comedic turn as sultry secretary Sharon Stone in the 1994 live-action version of The Flintstones, Berry returned to more serious fare with her role in the adoption drama Losing Isaiah (1995). Starring opposite Jessica Lange as a former crack addict battling to win custody of her child, who as a baby was adopted by an affluent white couple, Berry earned a mixed reception from critics, some of whom noted that her scenes with Lange highlighted Berry’s own shortcomings.

However, critical opinion of the actress’ work was overwhelmingly favorable in 1998, when she starred as a street smart young woman who comes to the aid of a bumbling politician in Warren Beatty’s Bullworth. The following year, Berry won even greater acclaim — and an Emmy and Golden Globe — for her turn as tragic screen siren Dorothy Dandridge in the made-for-cable Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Unfortunately, any acclaim Berry enjoyed was overshadowed by her widely publicized brush with the law in February of 2000, when she allegedly ran a red light, slammed into another car, and then left the scene of the accident. The actress, who suffered a gash to her forehead (the driver of the other car sustained a broken wrist), was booked in a misdemeanor court in early April of that year.

Fortunately for Berry, her subsequent onscreen work removed the spotlight from her legal troubles; that same year, she starred as Storm in Bryan Singer’s hugely successful adaptation of The X-Men. The film was a box office hit, but her next popcorn flick, the thriller Swordfish, which touted itself as the first movie to feature Berry baring her breasts, had a less impressive reception.

Berry again bared more than her character’s inner turmoil in Monster’s Ball (2001), a romantic drama directed by Marc Forster that starred the actress as a woman who becomes involved with an ex-prison-guard (Billy Bob Thornton) who oversaw the prison execution of her husband (Sean Combs). Berry earned wide critical praise for her work in the film, as well as Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Actress. And though she may have lost out to Sissy Spacek in the Golden Globes, her night at the Oscars found Berry the favored performer as took home a statue for Best Actress. A momentous footnote in Academy Award history, Berry’s win marked the first time an African American had been bestowed that particular honor.

Although her turn in the James Bond flick Die Another Day was so successful that talk began of a spin-off film, Berry’s first true post-Oscar vehicle Gothika proved to be unpopular with both critics and moviegoers. Luckily, 2003 wasn’t a total loss for her though as X2: X-Men United was a box-office smash and was regarded by many to be superior to its predecessor. Sticking with comic-books as source-material, Berry could be seen in Catwoman the following Summer. The film was the biggest flop of her career, panned by audiences and critics, and earning the actress a coveted Razzie for her terrible performance. She won back a great deal of respect, however, by starring in the made for TV adaptation of the Zora Neale Hurston novel Their Eyes Were Watching God the next year. She followed this moving performance with a return to her X-Men comrades for X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, then signed on to star alongside a decidedly creepy Bruce Willis in the suspense thriller Perfect Stranger (2007), directed by James Foley.

As the 2010’s unfolded, Berry continued to enjoy top-tier status as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, taking on roles in films like Things We Lost in the Fire, Dark Tide, Cloud Atlas, and The Call. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi

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FEATURE: LISA PRICE

Lisa Price

From humble beginnings in her Brooklyn kitchen, Founder of Carol’s Daughter, Inc., Lisa Price transformed her beloved hobby of mixing up fragrances and creams at home into a multi-million dollar beauty empire.

In the early 1990’s, Price began experimenting with making her own fragrances and perfume sprays when she wasn’t busy working on the legendary sitcom The Cosby Show. She added oils to unscented lotions, and began learning the aromatherapeutic and healing properties of the oils.

When the show finished its remarkable TV run in 1992, Price used the end of one chapter of her life to embark on another. With $100 in cash, her own kitchen, and the simple notion that people should follow their hearts, Lisa started building the collection that would become a beauty revolution. She began by selling her homespun beauty products at flea markets, but then had to set up shop in her living room as demand increased. Favorable word-of-mouth spread like wildfire as her customers enjoyed such unique products as Love Butter, Hair Milk, Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie and Lemon Mint Manicure. Her business continued to grow, aided by the encouragement and assistance of family members and friends.

In August of 1994, Price officially established Carol’s Daughter (the company lovingly named after her mother). Initially starting out with a handful of steady customers, those numbers grew in leaps and bounds as women outside her neighborhood and circle of friends began to take notice. Almost overnight, celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Erykah Badu, Rosie Perez and Halle Berry became loyal customers.

Price is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the National Black MBA Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the Working Woman Magazine’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (2001), the National Book Club Conference Terrie Williams Inspiration Award (2004), the YWCA “W” Award (2010), the FFAWN I’m Power – I’m Beauty Award (2010) and a Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever Award (2010).

She is also the author of Success Never Smelled So Sweet, a remarkable memoir that chronicles her transformation from a young Black woman deep in debt and burdened by low self-esteem to the president of a multi-million dollar business. Looking back on her years growing up in Brooklyn, Price vividly recalls her recurring connection with nature: a profound love and appreciation of the natural fragrances of the world. Price continues to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of other women through her book, speaking engagements and business seminars.

Price is an active philanthropist and currently sits on the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), a charity that is dedicated to empowering women and instilling confidence so that they may achieve their dreams through education, empowerment and encouragement. The foundation was founded by Steve Stoute and Mary J. Blige.

Today, Carol’s Daughter sells millions of dollars worth of products, employs more than 80 staff members and boasts nine stores across the country, with a flagship store in Harlem. Price hopes to continue expanding Carol’s Daughter to other cities.

Price is dedicated to giving back to the community through both her business and her personal life. She has taken a hands-on approach to involvement in community fundraising walks and gala events for the Lupus Foundation of America. Additionally, Price generously and frequently offers product donations to community organizations both large and small in an effort to help Carol’s Daughter’s extended friends and family with their own outreach and fundraising efforts.

Most recently, Price has been appointed as a member of the National Women’s Business Council, an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues that face female business owners.

Price and her husband, Gordon, have two sons and a daughter and live in Brooklyn. When she can find the time (between managing her business and family), Price enjoys going to the beach, reading, crocheting, and watching movies.

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FEATURE: Pynk Magazine

PynkMaglogo

 

Our indispensable, irrepressible, irreplaceable magazine is beautiful and packed with stories, services, and products for and about young multicultural women nationwide. Each issue of PYNK features captivating photos, informative how-to’s, sophisticated fashion at a variety of price points, as well as celebrity, style, beauty, career advice, shopping and more – all from a uniquely urban perspective. We encourage our readers to become more of who they really are instead of dictating who they should aspire to become. Our fresh conversational and familiar editorial voices inform, connect, inspire and entertain an audience of influencers from the millions of urban women 21- 34 in the U.S.

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FEATURE: Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts is anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Under her leadership, the broadcast has won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning program.

When not traveling around the country or the world covering breaking news events, Roberts is at “GMA’s” studio in Times Square conducting interviews with a diverse group of newsmakers. Her headline-making interviews include: President Barack ObamaFirst Lady Michelle Obama; actor Sidney Poitier; basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on his battle with leukemia; and Lisa Niemi on the loss of her beloved husband, Patrick Swayze.

Roberts has also done extensive reporting around the globe. She traveled to the Middle East with former First Lady Laura Bush, who was on a mission to raise awareness about breast cancer in the Muslim world; to Africa with former President Bill Clinton for a first-hand look at the AIDS crisis in that part of the world; and to Mexico, where she scaled the Mayan Pyramids as part of “GMA’s” “The New 7 Wonders of the World series.

Roberts also broadcast live from inside the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta in October 2009. It was the first time television cameras were permitted inside the CDC’s special command center tracking the H1N1 “swine flu” virus.

In November 2009, Roberts hosted her first primetime special, “In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts: Bright Lights. Big Stars. All Access Nashville.” The special took Roberts to Nashville, where she interviewed some of country music’s biggest stars. She followed that with another primetime hour featuring an exclusive interview with Janet Jackson, the performer’s first since the death of her brother, Michael.

In February 2009, Roberts made her red carpet debut as co-host of the ABC Television Network’s Oscar pre-show, reporting live from the 81st annual Academy Awards with fashion expert Tim Gunn.

Roberts played an active role in ABC News’ coverage of the 2008 presidential race. She interviewed the candidates and a wide-range of political newsmakers for “GMA;” traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to moderate a town hall debate with then-candidate Hillary Clinton; and reported live from Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. Roberts was the first journalist to interview President Barack Obama after he was sworn in as President. Roberts also traveled the country by train with the “GMA” team as part of the network’s ambitious “50 States in 50 Days” initiative in September 2008.

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2007. Her courageous

and public battle has been recognized with awards and honors from organizations around the country, including: The Susan G. Komen Foundation; The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program; and Gilda’s Club, a non-profit organization founded by the late Joel Siegel.

In August 2005, Roberts found her personal and professional lives collide when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast – a part of the country Roberts called home for most of her life. In the days following, Roberts traveled to the hurricane zone and reported live amid the devastation of the storm. She also launched “GMA” Gets It Done,” a year-long effort to rebuild Roberts’ hometown of Pass Christian, Mississippi. Roberts has returned to the Gulf Coast numerous times in the ensuing years to update viewers on how residents and businesses in the region are recovering post-Katrina.

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