“The moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are. Nobody would bother to beat you down if you were not a threat.”
— Cicely Tyson
“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch, what make you go beyond the norm.”
“I am not a quitter. I will fight until I drop. It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in the universe, you have a chance.”
“I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there’s nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.”
“You never know what motivates you.”
“One of the things I have always said about the man-woman relationship is that I don’t want anybody to walk ahead of me and I don’t want anybody to walk behind me. I want a man who will walk along beside me. And that’s how I feel about equal rights.”
“When I attack a role, be it TV, film or stage, the first thing I say is, I don’t want to know anything. If it’s good I don’t want to hear it; if it’s bad I don’t want to hear it. The only thing either thing can do is distract me. I like to stay focused.”
“I was in California when this journalist made a blanket statement about the fact that she did not think that black men and women had the kind of love relationship that Rebecca and Nathan had in Sounder.”
“I saw that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress. So I made a choice to use my career as a platform to address the issues of the race I was born into.”
“All I have to do is find someone who has something to say that will enrich my life and they can’t get rid of me.”
“Children should have a balanced start in life: a mother and a father. I think that’s the only reason to get married.”
“I don’t condemn anyone for making their choices. If someone chooses those roles, fine. But not for me. When someone stops me and says, You’re the reason I became an actress, that lets me know I made the right decision.”
“When I told my mother that I wanted to be an actress, she said, you can’t live here and do that, and so I moved out. I was determined to prove her wrong because she was so sure that I was going to go astray. And that’s the juice that kept me going.”
“Whatever good I have accomplished as an actress I believe came in direct proportion to my efforts to portray black women who have made positive contributions to my heritage.”
“We have to support our own films. If we don’t, how can we expect others to support them?”
“If each person in this world will simply take a small piece of this huge thing, this amazing quilt, and work it regardless of the color of the yarn, we will have harmony on this planet.”
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