Cicely Tyson, the on-screen goddess and fashion icon, is releasing a memoir about her life titled “Just As I Am” that is slated to grace bookshelves in 2021, according to Essence. With a career spanning over six decades, Tyson has created and broken many records as well as being an inspiration to many, creating and bringing pivotal roles to life in the entertainment industry.
“At 95, I’m only beginning to fully understand my identity,” Tyson said in a statement. “The accolades, the lights, the glamour and glitter—they’re all just ornaments on a tree. It is only a tree’s roots, its origins beneath the soil, that can reveal its entire story.”
“Every one of my experiences on the public stage has been rooted in my upbringing, those years spent at my mother’s elbow and in the pews of my church. That was my world. And that foundation, that core, led me to a lifetime of growth—a wondrous journey that has made me who I am,” she continued.
According to Essence, the book will detail not only her friendships with iconic actors such as Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ossie and Ruby Davis, Richard Pryor and James Earl Jones, but will also shed light on her moments with other luminaries, including Maya Angelou, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Aretha Franklin and even Quincy Jones.
Just As I Am was penned in collaboration with Michelle Burford who is the founding editor of Oprah Magazine. It promises to also talk about Tyson’s career as a dancer, and will even detail her decades-long deep friendship with ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell, with whom she co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem, Essence reports.
Tyson also opens up about her eight-year marriage to Miles Davis, along with her friendships with Whoopi Goldberg and Kerry Washington—and her frequent modern-day collaborators, such as Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, and Viola Davis.
Cicely Tyson’s acting credits span from her film debut in Carib Gold in 1956 to How to Get Away With Murder, which she filmed in 2019. Tyson is the first black woman to receive an Honorary Award at the Oscars.
Her storied career — her evolution from a shy and observant child in Harlem to celebrated roles in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The Help and A Trip to Bountiful on Broadway, as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016 — has made her an inspiration within Hollywood and beyond.