Cultural icon Cicely Tyson sat down recently with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon to discuss her role in the Lifetime television movie The Trip to Bountiful.
The revived play turned prime-time adaptation is a coming of old-age story. Tyson stars alongside Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams and Keke Palmer. In the film, Mrs. Watts (Tyson), journeys back to her childhood home and remembers parts of her life along the way.
Tyson says this story is an important one that she hopes young people would see because it highlights the importance of communication between elders and youth. These interactions, she says, help youth realize “they are benefiting from sacrifices the elders made in their youth.”
During the interview Tyson reflected on her groundbreaking roles in Roots, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Woman Called Moses that tilled the soil of the American consciousness making a way for films like The Help, 12 Years a Slave, The Butler and Mandela.
“The one thing that I appreciate about what has happened in the past few years is the fact that every one of those major films…, suddenly to me became history lessons for our youth,” said Tyson. “If we don’t teach them they won’t know who they are or what they are or why they are even here.”
Tyson said she echoes the sentiments of Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier, who said at the Oscars he was pleased about the direction in which the business was going and that he hoped it would continue in that vein.