Perry, Kravitz, Clinton’s Honor Cicely Tyson At Private Abyssinian Baptist Church Memorial In Harlem

March 6, 2024

As the world bid adieu to the legendary Cicely Tyson, who passed away at the age of 96 on January 28th, 2024, admirers gathered at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY.

They all gathered to pay their respects to the beloved actress.

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Among those present were renowned figures like Tyler Perry and former President Bill Clinton alongside Hillary Clinton, all attending a private memorial service held on Tuesday.

Reflecting on Tyson’s legacy, Reverend Calvin O. Butts, the pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, hailed her as a paragon of virtuous living, stating, “She was as much an ambassador for peace and love as anybody I can think of.” The service, which lasted nearly three hours, saw heartfelt tributes from gospel singer Bebe Winans and Valerie Simpson of the famed duo Ashford & Simpson. Lenny Kravitz, a close friend of Tyson, read a poignant letter during the ceremony.

Before the private memorial, Tyson’s family arranged for a public viewing at the historic Harlem church on Monday.

Despite COVID-19 precautions, including mandatory masks and social distancing, attendees from across the country gathered to honor Tyson’s memory, many clutching personal mementos of the iconic actress.

Tyson’s remarkable career spanned decades and garnered numerous accolades, including three Emmys, a Tony award, and an honorary Academy Award. Her memoir, “Just As I Am,” released shortly before her passing, offered a poignant reflection on her life and legacy.

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Tyson’s impact transcended the silver screen, touching the lives of countless individuals, including fellow luminaries like Viola Davis, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry, who paid tribute to her profound influence on social media.

Born in Harlem in 1924, Tyson’s journey from the New York stage to Hollywood exemplified her indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to her craft.

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Abyssinian Baptist Church, a cornerstone of the Harlem community since its founding in 1808, served as a fitting backdrop for Tyson’s final farewell.

In a poignant moment captured on the church’s YouTube channel, Tyson’s empowering words resonated with audiences, reaffirming her enduring legacy as an inspiration to generations.

Photo credit: HWM.

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