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“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony "Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace th “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony "Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –Cicely Tyson


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“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony "Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace th “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony "Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –Cicely Tyson

30 review for Just as I Am: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patience K Phillips

    Bought this Hardcover version on January 26 while watching Ms. Tyson being interviewed by Gayle King. As soon as I heard Ms. Tyson published Just As I Am: A Memoir in the course of her speaking immediately purchased the book to read and be a reviewer. When I found out she passed away today before the book arrived have been mourning and reflecting. She’s been someone I've admired for many reasons. Not just as a star. Why I am so interested in the book is for her perspective on life. I'm in my mid-f Bought this Hardcover version on January 26 while watching Ms. Tyson being interviewed by Gayle King. As soon as I heard Ms. Tyson published Just As I Am: A Memoir in the course of her speaking immediately purchased the book to read and be a reviewer. When I found out she passed away today before the book arrived have been mourning and reflecting. She’s been someone I've admired for many reasons. Not just as a star. Why I am so interested in the book is for her perspective on life. I'm in my mid-fifties and am contemplating the rest of my days. What can I do now to continue striving for the best? Before jumping on here to do an unusually different review, prereading, downloaded the audible version to start today and finish by tomorrow. Since it's an evening I'm not going to be able to stay up long enough to finish. Narrated by Viola Davis, Cecily Tyson herself, and Robin Miles. OH MY GOODNESS. As if Viola Davis is not enough as the narrator. This Queen of empathy and overcoming so much is one of my heroes for personal reasons. Ms. Tyson's is also reading. I’m not certain why I'm surprised. I've never been SO EXCITED to listen to a book. Robin Miles is topping off this trio narrating. I'm just blown away. Being able to hear Ms. Tyson speak her truth will be one of the greatest moments in my literary life. Upon leaving the earth from her body less than 24 hours ago, Ms. Tyson has left me her spirit. Who she truly is. To listen, know, and learn from in ways I can only imagine. Always admiring her for grace and poise as an actress. Her presence always drew me in. Ms. Tyson I truly didn't want you to go quite yet. I know no one wanted you to ever go. Since you have chosen this time, thank you for leaving your voice with this work. I will cherish these moments with you for the rest of my life. Thank you for being such a brave gift. I hope to aspire to be more upon hearing your example. Love, Patience Phillips ----update ---- Listening to Viola Davis share the forward and Cecily Tyson share ”Introduction: This Life” broke me down. Couldn't wait for the hardcover to arrive I ordered on the 26th upon hearing Ms. Tyson passed today. So glad I bought the Audible version. Hearing her voice one last time on the last day of her life talking to me. How could she have known how much I needed this? How much we all do at such a time as this. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. On a side note, normally listen to audiobooks on 2x’s the speed. 1x for Viola and Ms. Tyson. I will listen to them over and over and over again. If you don't know about Viola Davis’s childhood and how she helps food insecure children you're about to hear the raw truth. I'd first heard her story reading Brene’ Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. Became one of my heroes. This story weaves so beautifully with Ms. Tyson’s in an extraordinary way. If you don't believe in miracles already you're about to ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️💯

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    ‘Just walking through this life as a Black person, and actually surviving that, was and still is an ovation worthy performance.’ I’m so in awe of what I just read and the timeliness of its release. Cicely Tyson is a Giant. She’s timeless. The concept of time is so crazy; here is a woman who was stirring a pot of sauce one moment and on the floor crying because she’d learned that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis and Also got to see President Barack Obama become the first bla ‘Just walking through this life as a Black person, and actually surviving that, was and still is an ovation worthy performance.’ I’m so in awe of what I just read and the timeliness of its release. Cicely Tyson is a Giant. She’s timeless. The concept of time is so crazy; here is a woman who was stirring a pot of sauce one moment and on the floor crying because she’d learned that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis and Also got to see President Barack Obama become the first black President of the United States, was even given an award by him. One of those amazing memoirs by someone who has seen ALOT! ‘When someone sees you headed in a direction, and that person throws a brick in the road, that is the precise moment to forge onward, with greater velocity, toward your destination.’ Just As I Am is told so coolly and with such Grace. I really think it’s a must read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda Galella

    My mother’s secret wasn’t any single ingredient. Her creations were a symphony of flavors, blended together perfectly with love immeasurably.” That quote was in reference to a broth Cicely Tyson’s mother made. It’s also about her daughter and her family. It’s an apt description of this book as well. The writing is exquisite and the memories Tyson shares are full of wisdom. She lays bare her childhood and how the difficult relationship between her parents and she and them colored her own relations My mother’s secret wasn’t any single ingredient. Her creations were a symphony of flavors, blended together perfectly with love immeasurably.” That quote was in reference to a broth Cicely Tyson’s mother made. It’s also about her daughter and her family. It’s an apt description of this book as well. The writing is exquisite and the memories Tyson shares are full of wisdom. She lays bare her childhood and how the difficult relationship between her parents and she and them colored her own relationships and what she did about it. Lots of Hollywood and N. Y. stars make an appearance as they were woven thru and impacted Cicley’s life and career. Her tumultuous relationship with Miles Davis has a much softer presentation, (than other accounts that I’ve read), with her gracious reflection applied. The vignettes with her various friends are some of the most heartwarming I’ve read in an autobiography. They’re not mushy-gushy, that’s not her style; what they are is meaningful observation. Tyson shares the true value of her friendships - pain, joy, humor and hope; really lovely. Cicely is prescient and speaks about it as well as her abiding, guiding, life long faith; the single constant in her almost century long life. A mix of Episcopal, Catholic and Baptist from birth, her religious roots held fast and to this day, she remains an active congregant at an Abyssinian church in N. Y. The Divine leading in Cicely’s life was the strongest influence to her success, she followed the prompting: “God, the Source of all time, Creator of all life, has forever been directing mine.” This is one of those books you’re just going to have to read for yourself. If you’re a fan of Ms. Tyson, you’ll devour it. If you’re a movie/tv history fan, it will be satisfying and highly informative, especially regarding black artists. There are racial discrimination issues to ponder from almost a century that are presented without political histrionics. Also, you can find advice on just about any other topic including diet and health - quite a volume, to be sure! A captivating read from start to finish📚

  4. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    Ms. Cicely Tyson lived a L I F E ! Ms. Tyson has lived through so much and busted open so 👏🏾many 👏🏾doors👏🏾!!! It was a true joy to read this work, she's given us the gift of her story to add to the legacy and Black History of the screen and stage. Ms. Tyson highlights the resiliency of Black women, by sharing the story and accomplishments of not only her own dreams, but the lives of her mother, and sister, aunts, peers, and friends. She shows the way that these women around her cut their way thr Ms. Cicely Tyson lived a L I F E ! Ms. Tyson has lived through so much and busted open so 👏🏾many 👏🏾doors👏🏾!!! It was a true joy to read this work, she's given us the gift of her story to add to the legacy and Black History of the screen and stage. Ms. Tyson highlights the resiliency of Black women, by sharing the story and accomplishments of not only her own dreams, but the lives of her mother, and sister, aunts, peers, and friends. She shows the way that these women around her cut their way through the harshness of life to create their own futures in spite of the roadblocks placed in our way due to domestic violence, racism, and sexism. She speaks of the progress the world has made and the immeasurable trades made for progress — the loss of great leaders, family, and friends. Her reflections on her relationship and marriage to Miles Davis details the complexity of loving someone who is having a tumultuous relationship with themselves. It also details the complexity of being a woman dealing with a man who doesn't seem capable of being who you need them to be or who they promised you that they would be. Filled with pivotal moments in history; there was a lot to learn in Just As I Am — as Ms.Tyson, at 96 years old, had a lot to share. It felt like a love letter at points and a thank you letter at other points. The photos were amazing and remarkable at the end. Rest in power Ms. Tyson.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Read In Colour

    It's fitting that Aretha Franklin's version of Mary, Don't You Weep started playing in the background as I began this review because Aretha was a dear friend of Ms. Tyson and because I found myself crying unexpectedly as I finished her memoir. And I say unexpectedly because I shed no tears when her death was first announced. In my mind, she'd lived a long and fascinating life and deserved to rest in eternal peace. So why did wrapping up her book move me so much? The first time I saw Cicely Tyson It's fitting that Aretha Franklin's version of Mary, Don't You Weep started playing in the background as I began this review because Aretha was a dear friend of Ms. Tyson and because I found myself crying unexpectedly as I finished her memoir. And I say unexpectedly because I shed no tears when her death was first announced. In my mind, she'd lived a long and fascinating life and deserved to rest in eternal peace. So why did wrapping up her book move me so much? The first time I saw Cicely Tyson I was in the second grade and she was on my TV screen playing Binta, the mother of Kunta Kinte. I didn't know who she was, but I knew her hair was like nothing I'd seen on TV - Bantu knots she asked her hairdresser to replicate in homage to women she'd met in previous travels to countries in Africa. There were so many stars in Roots: OJ Simpson (back when we still claimed him), Maya Angelou, Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, etc. But Ms. Tyson's portrayal stood out. Immersing herself in her roles to the point where she wore her characters like a second skin was the norm for her. From the raspy voice she took on in her portrayal of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, shunning the call for an older actress to provide the voiceover, to her claiming the role of Mrs. Carrie Watts back in 1985 and patiently waiting for it to come to fruition in 2012 with first the Broadway production of The Trip to Bountiful and then the Lifetime TV production, she breathed life into her roles. Her acting is so convincing as Jane Pittman that arguments arise on social media at least once a year as to whether or not Ms. Pittman was a real person. (She was not.) Who was Ms. Tyson when she wasn't acting? She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend and a mother - the last role being one she says has been rewarding, but also a journey requiring continuous work. Twice married, she readily admits that while she didn't love her first husband, Miles Davis was the love of her life. Growing up in East St. Louis, I still remember when Longfellow Elementary School was renamed for Miles Davis and he and Ms. Tyson came to town for the ceremony. Much has been written about the volatility of their relationship. You'll have to read the book to understand their love story, which started over 20 years before they ever married. Toward the end of the book, Ms. Tyson says "... I'm still here because God hasn't finished with me. And when I've completed my job, he'll take me." Imagine not starting your acting career until you're 30 and continuing to act until your last days. While the rest of us contemplate retirement at 65, Ms. Tyson simply was not having it! Having inspired generations through her roles, through her life story, through her friendship, through her generous spirit and wanting to do even more, I have to believe God looked down on her one last time and said, well done, good and faithful servant.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tamyka

    I love Cicely Tyson. She had a long beautiful life and an amazing career. The good thing about this book is the historical, political, and social context mixed within it. She’s lived so long and to see her perspective of significant historical events was a real treat because I find most of my most valuable understanding of the life experiences of Black women throughout history comes from memoirs, autobiographies, and historical fiction and historical romance. The 4 stars may be petty but the Mil I love Cicely Tyson. She had a long beautiful life and an amazing career. The good thing about this book is the historical, political, and social context mixed within it. She’s lived so long and to see her perspective of significant historical events was a real treat because I find most of my most valuable understanding of the life experiences of Black women throughout history comes from memoirs, autobiographies, and historical fiction and historical romance. The 4 stars may be petty but the Miles Davis story just really bothered me which isn’t fair cause that was her real life. That the greatest love of her life was traumatic, abusive, and filled with mistreatment is sad for me cause she seemed like a phenomenal woman and she didn’t deserve that. Anyways it’s a great memoir and I highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    JoyM

    90 years of wisdom. Beautiful and insightful

  8. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Amazing!!! What a life she lived!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Che

    Cicely Tyson was such as private person. I enjoyed hearing important details about her life. I disliked how she jumped around her timeline, but it's her story to tell. Like others, I never understood her appeal to Miles Davis. But her description of their love made me pity and respect her at the same time. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of our American history through the eyes of a beautiful actress. Her recent death is our loss. Cicely Tyson was such as private person. I enjoyed hearing important details about her life. I disliked how she jumped around her timeline, but it's her story to tell. Like others, I never understood her appeal to Miles Davis. But her description of their love made me pity and respect her at the same time. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of our American history through the eyes of a beautiful actress. Her recent death is our loss.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Marie

    Stunning.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    This is a fascinating memoir of an amazing actress and activist. Well written and well told. I really enjoyed this and learned so much about Cicely Tyson!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Booksxnaps

    What a beautiful, well-written memoir! I am in awe of this woman. I really enjoyed listening to her narrate her memoir. It didn’t even feel 16 hours long! I thoroughly enjoyed this. So honest and insightful! It’s really something to live for almost a century! The love, pain and memories. RIP Cicely!

  13. 5 out of 5

    LaQuisha Hall

    Our entire society should read this book. The end made me cry. Rest in heaven, Queen Cicely.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Creolecat

    This is Cicely's gift to us. This is Cicely's gift to us.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Well. I don't even know what to say. Ms. Tyson read signs into dreams and other things so I found it fitting that I started reading her book the night before last and she died within hours of me starting it. Not sure what the sign is, but it must be something! I had always admired her as an actor and was amazed to find out that she didn't start out as an actress but as a typist in Manhattan and was encouraged to model by a total stranger who saw her on the street! She just seemed like a normal, Well. I don't even know what to say. Ms. Tyson read signs into dreams and other things so I found it fitting that I started reading her book the night before last and she died within hours of me starting it. Not sure what the sign is, but it must be something! I had always admired her as an actor and was amazed to find out that she didn't start out as an actress but as a typist in Manhattan and was encouraged to model by a total stranger who saw her on the street! She just seemed like a normal, regular woman who you'd hang out with. At least until she became famous. It was a real page-turner of a book, especially her back and forth relationship with Miles Davis. He was a handful, that's for sure. Now I think I will go back and watch some of her films again to see that talent in action once more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    This was an incredible read. Ms. Tyson was a phenomenal woman who lived a remarkable life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    I think you have had to live under a rock to not know who Cicely Tyson, so when this book came out I thought why not read it to learn more about her life. I found it bittersweet that she passed a couple days after the book came out, I'm glad that she was able to see this accomplishment and that she lived a long full life. There were so many things I found interesting about Cicely's life, the path it took. I loved how she ended up being such a powerhouse and is surrounded by many other powerhouse I think you have had to live under a rock to not know who Cicely Tyson, so when this book came out I thought why not read it to learn more about her life. I found it bittersweet that she passed a couple days after the book came out, I'm glad that she was able to see this accomplishment and that she lived a long full life. There were so many things I found interesting about Cicely's life, the path it took. I loved how she ended up being such a powerhouse and is surrounded by many other powerhouses and why she would or wouldn't take certain roles. I found myself stopping the audio all the time, Cicely would say something I had to know more, I'd go to google to see what the record cover looked like, why the hat was so remembered, to see what the dress looked like, to watch the trailers of different movies and shows.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tamara McKinney

    Loved her story. Such a full life

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Murray

    A must-read. Cicely Tyson lived a long and fascinating life and her story is captivating. It’s like reading history but better since she lived through pivotal historical moments from the great depression right up until covid and George Floyd’s murder, and personally knew many black icons (Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Oprah, obviously her ex-husband Miles Davis). I had chills reading the last chapter where she reflects on her life in old age knowing she passed just days after this book was publ A must-read. Cicely Tyson lived a long and fascinating life and her story is captivating. It’s like reading history but better since she lived through pivotal historical moments from the great depression right up until covid and George Floyd’s murder, and personally knew many black icons (Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Oprah, obviously her ex-husband Miles Davis). I had chills reading the last chapter where she reflects on her life in old age knowing she passed just days after this book was published.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sinekqua M Price

    This is an AWESOME read! I learned so many things about Ms. Cicely Tyson that I did not know. WOW, just WOW!!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex Ainsworth

    This book is not just a memoir; it is a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, and even a history lesson. At that, it’s a history lesson I knew I needed but didn’t realize I would get while listening to the tales of Ms, Tysons’s life and career. There’s combination of love, joy, trauma, anger, hopefulness, really just all the emotions purposefully shared throughout this memoir, just as purposeful, I suspect, as Ms. Tyson chose each and every role she played. She has you laughing at the beginning of a chapt This book is not just a memoir; it is a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, and even a history lesson. At that, it’s a history lesson I knew I needed but didn’t realize I would get while listening to the tales of Ms, Tysons’s life and career. There’s combination of love, joy, trauma, anger, hopefulness, really just all the emotions purposefully shared throughout this memoir, just as purposeful, I suspect, as Ms. Tyson chose each and every role she played. She has you laughing at the beginning of a chapter and crying at the end. I love the way this book feels as though we are in Ms. Tyson’s mind, not just hearing her thoughts, but living in her stream of conscience as she reminisces on many parts of her long life. In all honesty, I’ve never been much of a memoir reader but just as Ms. Tyson knew all those years ago what roles she was meant to play, I knew I was meant to read this book and marvel at the accomplishments and memories of Ms. Cicily Tyson.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson Published January 26, 2021 ~December 19, 1924 (Harlem) Died: January 28, 2021 BOOK#56 OF #100𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓬𝓱𝓪𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷𝓰𝓮 #bgrtreadingchallenge 2021 ~A book that has under 30 reviews <3 What a trip down memory lane and a #TraumaTrigger! From the onset hearing Viola Davis's introduction/foreword, I was teary and hooked. We may be related and or at the very least she is my #SpiritAnimal. Chapter #16 nearly did me in emotionally! However, that straight (one of several) #gangsta s Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson Published January 26, 2021 ~December 19, 1924 (Harlem) Died: January 28, 2021 BOOK#56 OF #100𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓬𝓱𝓪𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷𝓰𝓮 #bgrtreadingchallenge 2021 ~A book that has under 30 reviews <3 What a trip down memory lane and a #TraumaTrigger! From the onset hearing Viola Davis's introduction/foreword, I was teary and hooked. We may be related and or at the very least she is my #SpiritAnimal. Chapter #16 nearly did me in emotionally! However, that straight (one of several) #gangsta scene in the lobby of her apartment building... GAVE ME LIFE! (NO SPOILERS) You got to read it in the moment! What an incredible journey! I definitely will be making goat water and or curry goat after this flash back. This book is indeed a "bouquet of BLESSINGS." <3 <3 #StKitts #Nevis #TheBronx #BreathingWhileBlack #MeTooMovement #BlackHistory #BlackHollywood #PresidentObama #thumbsucking #puberty #domesticviolence #teenpregnancy #religion #harlem #AlexandersDeptStore #TheHub #DomesticWork #slaveBlock #Nword #Colorism #Culture #WestIndians #WholeFoods #Ginger #GunshotWedding #childbirth #highschool #Infidelity #PMS #verbalabuse #Hollywood #Nesting #RubyDee #BillieDWilliams #OssyDavis #Broadway #Movies #COVID #PANDEMIC #BREONNATAYLOR #EmmitTill #InheritedTrauma #BoardingSchool #JamesBaldwin #AmericanNegroTheartre #SexualAssault #MotherDaughterStrife #FameOrdained #TempWork #tempAgencys #MethodActor #Training #lifeLessons #NaturalHair #HairCulture #GuidingLight #SoapOpera #MilesDavis #BillCrosby #RichardPryor #DrKing #RobertKennedy #OPRAH #TylerPerry #Vegetarinism #SydneyPotier #DenzelWashington #GodMother #HandStands #Africa #LifeLessons #ElizabethTaylor #meditation #Buddhism #Mantras #ThisIsMyStory #BlessedAssurance #GospelMusic Spiritual Black Couture Designer #BMichael #ArethaFranklin #CarolKing #KerryWashington #BlackGenocide #Hydration #Nutrition #DeltaSigmaThetaSorority #Cancer #Stroke #Stress #MentalHealth <3 "In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only exceeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history." –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony "Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. Here, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say." –Cicely Tyson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    I was offered this audiobook for review just prior to Ms. Tyson's passing on January 28, 2021. I always enjoyed seeing her in movies and television offerings, so was quite excited to hear about her life from her own lips. This audiobook did not disappoint. First, the introduction was shared by Cicely herself, then the rest of the book was narrated by the wonderful actress, Viola Davis. I felt like I was sitting in the room with these ladies hearing about the journey that Cicely Tyson made over h I was offered this audiobook for review just prior to Ms. Tyson's passing on January 28, 2021. I always enjoyed seeing her in movies and television offerings, so was quite excited to hear about her life from her own lips. This audiobook did not disappoint. First, the introduction was shared by Cicely herself, then the rest of the book was narrated by the wonderful actress, Viola Davis. I felt like I was sitting in the room with these ladies hearing about the journey that Cicely Tyson made over her 96 years. If you enjoy audiobooks, I definitely recommend you listen to this one! She is known for many things, but will be remembered for performances that transcended stereotypes. Throughout this book she was adamant that she would not take a role if it did not enhance African American representation in the arts. We hear about her early life and the direction her parents pushed her to take. She went her own way into acting with her breakout role in the 1972 movie Sounder. She played Rebecca, the matriarch of a Black sharecropper family's struggle to survive in the Jim Crow South. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role as well as setting her up for further offers. Cicely was not out marching and railing during the Civil Rights movement, but her quiet, regal being did much to open doors and bring strong, Black characters and their stories to both the large and small screen. She helped to bring about the acceptance of "realistic stories" featuring Black Characters and Actors, not the watered down version that producers and theatres thought audiences would be able to watch and stomach. Her lifelong faith is scattered throughout this story, as well as her humanity to all. I enjoyed the stories she shared featuring the many Hollywood and Broadway stars. These stories were woven in with her life and showed how they impacted her life and career. Her tumultuous relationship with Miles Davis was presented honestly, but with a soft and loving presentation. Most of her stories were heartwarming, but always with honest reflections. She is not a mushy storyteller, but shares these friendships with humour, hope and joy, adding in the pain where needed. Her life was not easy, but she learned from every roadblock, every turn she had to take and every person that crossed her path. I learned so much from this book and found myself stopping it and checking the internet for news stories and even more information. Cicely Tyson is a powerful, brilliant humanitarian, who fought in her own way for rights for people of colour as well as women. I definitely recommend this memoir to everyone. I was gifted a copy of this audiobook from the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    What a gift! And even more poignant with her passing just two days after this book was released. I've long loved and admired Ms. Tyson and long to live as vibrantly and fully as she does, did, through her final days. This book is not only the story of her magnificent life, but a also a study of Black life in Harlem in the early 20th century, as well as the Black theatre community and Black Hollywood. It's beautifully written and has so much personality. Sometimes I wondered if I was listening to What a gift! And even more poignant with her passing just two days after this book was released. I've long loved and admired Ms. Tyson and long to live as vibrantly and fully as she does, did, through her final days. This book is not only the story of her magnificent life, but a also a study of Black life in Harlem in the early 20th century, as well as the Black theatre community and Black Hollywood. It's beautifully written and has so much personality. Sometimes I wondered if I was listening to my grandmother telling her story (with very different details of course LOL!) Her relationship with Miles Davis...whew, I have to pick up his memoir! In the forward, read by Ms. Tyson herself, she shared that she was reticent to write her memoir because she wasn't confident that she had anything to share. This book is filled with so much wisdom, beautiful stories of Black life, and a reflection on life for Black folks in this modern era. I'm glad she left us with this treasure so we can celebrate her for always. This is a must read! I highly recommend the audio.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole's Bookish Tidbits

    I enjoyed this beautiful telling of Cicely Tyson's life, titled, Just As I Am, which she named after the hymn written by Charlotte Elliott. In this poignant soliloquy, I learned of the many events that impacted Cicely's personal life and career, many of which were derived from poverty and racial discrimination- the central themes of America in the early to mid-1900s. This memoir definitely took me on a black history lesson, and I loved it! From a shy "string bean" of a girl to an influential, phen I enjoyed this beautiful telling of Cicely Tyson's life, titled, Just As I Am, which she named after the hymn written by Charlotte Elliott. In this poignant soliloquy, I learned of the many events that impacted Cicely's personal life and career, many of which were derived from poverty and racial discrimination- the central themes of America in the early to mid-1900s. This memoir definitely took me on a black history lesson, and I loved it! From a shy "string bean" of a girl to an influential, phenomenal woman who made waves in the movie and theatre industry, Miss Cicely's story was filled with life lessons that anyone can learn from. What I liked: 1. It began with her parents' story in St. Kitts and Nevis, how they migrated to America and the early years of their marriage. This helped show how their story impacted Cicely's. 2. The title is befitting her story, a story that bared her whole truth, flaws and all. 3. It showed a strong, independent woman determined to change the narrative. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. Give it a try. Thank me later :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Helen

    Seldom is an autobiography interesting when it is linear and comprehensive as this one. Truly a story of Tyson’s life from birth to the end. She died two days after the book’s release, and the book includes events of the past year. Her life reflects events of nearly one hundred years, showing us what it was like to grow up black in the United States. Yes, she became famous and wealthy, with the attending privileges, but she was always black and female, and aware. She became an early activist, us Seldom is an autobiography interesting when it is linear and comprehensive as this one. Truly a story of Tyson’s life from birth to the end. She died two days after the book’s release, and the book includes events of the past year. Her life reflects events of nearly one hundred years, showing us what it was like to grow up black in the United States. Yes, she became famous and wealthy, with the attending privileges, but she was always black and female, and aware. She became an early activist, using her spirit, and later her fame to support the uplifting of her race. She was friends with Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, married to Miles Davis, won a Tony, an Oscar, multiple Emmys, and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. A compelling read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I was very glad to read Cicely Tyson's autobiography. She wrote right away that for years her friends encouraged her to write her memoir. She never wanted to until now. It is sad to know that one day after her book came out she passed away at 96 years old. Ms. Tyson writes of being born in New York and growing up there. Sharing that when she started her acting career to shave off years of her age. Up until a couple years ago she was nine years younger than her real age. She writes of the plays s I was very glad to read Cicely Tyson's autobiography. She wrote right away that for years her friends encouraged her to write her memoir. She never wanted to until now. It is sad to know that one day after her book came out she passed away at 96 years old. Ms. Tyson writes of being born in New York and growing up there. Sharing that when she started her acting career to shave off years of her age. Up until a couple years ago she was nine years younger than her real age. She writes of the plays she has been in and of course her decades of acting in film. She is honest about what it is like to be an African American person, the obstacles she has dealt with. She writes of her marriage to jazz musician , Miles Davis. the birth of her daughter, "Joan" she had at 18 years old and protecting her privacy of being the daughter of a famous actress. I very much enjoyed reading this well done book. So glad she decided to write her memoir after all. I have always been a fan of this talented woman.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I am so thankful Ms. Tyson had a chance to share her story before She transitioned. She shared so many gems that come with age and introspection. I listened to the Audible which she narrated and it made her story that much more personal. I shed tears, laughed, and hollered like we were having a whole live convo. May she travel well to the next chapter 💚💚💚

  29. 5 out of 5

    LaDonna

    This was a page turner of a life.. It is full of wisdom 💜 and Spiritual encouragement 💜 I have always admired Queen Mother Cicley Tyson from afar, but now her legacy has made her one of my SHEROES. My highlighter and pencil couldn't keep up with all the gems of wisdom in this book 💜 From womanhood, to faith in God, to motherhood, to chasing your dreams, family, marriage, and so much more... This was a page turner of a life.. It is full of wisdom 💜 and Spiritual encouragement 💜 I have always admired Queen Mother Cicley Tyson from afar, but now her legacy has made her one of my SHEROES. My highlighter and pencil couldn't keep up with all the gems of wisdom in this book 💜 From womanhood, to faith in God, to motherhood, to chasing your dreams, family, marriage, and so much more...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Her first book was at 96 years old and it is AMAZING. I got so much joy learning more about the person, I appreciate her transparency, and all the gems she dropped. Best book of 2021.

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