As a mother with three adult children, entertainment became life changing, as all three of them pursued entertainment since elementary school. Rehearsals, plays, concerts, recitals, music camps, studios and theatre dominated our existence. Scenes and music from their various roles in entertainment are etched in my mind. And though they pursue other endeavors, my children find their way back to entertainment. Entertainment is a major part of life. I say that it is paramount to life. I will always remember the rewarding feeling from singing in choruses and choirs and recording music. Even singing in the shower is soothing. Could you imagine a world without entertainment? I wondered why, as a young child, when my mother would ask me — what do you want to be when you grow-up? I would always say “I want to be a movie star.” As I got older, that changed to “a nurse,” and several years later my college major was business. Lost was the childhood desire to be a movie star, but I must have had the right idea as a young girl. Having children that chase entertainment in adulthood is sometimes concerning — wondering about so much that the world of entertainment could bring. After hearing fragments of Gayle King’s interview and other interviews with Cicely Tyson, actress and model, who passed-away at the age of 96, my perspective changed. In one interview, Cicely Tyson said that her mother did not want her to be an actress — but when she saw her on stage, she changed her mind. Cicely Tyson would later say that in her profession, she could work until she “dropped dead, as long as they continue to want me.” And yes, they did want her! As an actress, Cicely Tyson was the recipient of many prestigious awards. I reflected on my first elementary school field trip, which was to see the movie Sounder, in which she was nominated for Best Actress for both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award; And later seeing her in Roots, The Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman, The Help, in the TV series How to Get Away With Murder, Madea’s Family Reunion, and appearances throughout many movies, she had established herself as an icon in entertainment, which is absolutely a profession that could last a lifetime. And Ms. Cicely Tyson was living proof of it. I have a new appreciation for my children’s pursuits in entertainment. I hope that they have what it takes to survive and thrive in such a rewarding exploration. Entertainment revolves just like the universe. And Cicely Tyson remained committed to her story — “defining my craft, not engaging on its merit.” Entertaining others meant more to her than the awards that she received. If my children would adopt and maintain an outlook like that of Cicely Tyson, that, alone, would be a reward. In her final interview with Gayle King, on January 27, 2021, the day before she passed-away, it held true that she gave her best, which was what Cicely Tyson said she wanted to be remembered for. The art of entertainment lives on.
By Vernell Wilson