Tyler Perry had the privilege and honor of joining the legendary Cecily Tyson at the White House where she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom..
“Cecily Tyson chose to empower us when we didn’t even know it was possible for us to be empowered,” said Tyler Perry. “For six decades, she has been diligent in her pursuit to better us all.”
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor — it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only exceeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” He also spoke of her fight for representation of women and African-Americans in Hollywood, and how she refused to accept roles unless they projected women in a “realistic light and dealt with us as human beings.”
Tyson is one of the most respected actresses in America with a career spanning over sixty years, including featured roles in many of Perry’s hits like…Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, and Why Did I Get Married Too?, and most recently alongside Perry in Alex Cross. Besides their professional relationship, Tyson and Perry share a strong personal connection; Cecily is godparent to Tyler’s son Aman with Oprah Winfrey and Oliver Ripley.
At 91 years old, Tyson sums it up best: “This is what I’ve fought for my entire life.” We know she’s not done fighting.