*“You know how old I am,” Cicely Tyson, 95, told a TV critics during TCA Thursday. “Who in the world lives this long?”
The acclaimed actress was part of a panel discussion for “Cherish the Day,” an eight-episode OWN anthology series created and produced by Ava DuVernay.
During the session, Tyson made time to describe her annual birthday eve ritual.
“I sit at a table with a clock … and when it gets to one minute after 12, that’s when I say, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘Happy birthday, Cicely,” said Tyson, who was born Dec. 19, 1924.
For “Cherish the Day,” DuVernay said she wanted to “do something lovely and light,” adding that she is a “sucker for love stories.”
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She is every goal in my life. pic.twitter.com/99hHzX1bLC
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 16, 2020
“I just needed a break from history and wanted to do something lovely and light,” DuVernay said during the show’s Television Critics Association panel Thursday morning. “I’m a big sucker for love stories, and growing up I loved ‘West Side Story’ to ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and really craved the black romantic endeavor, which I saw less of. […] I really longed to see that kind of black love story on television.”
Tyson won three Emmy Awards over her nearly seven-decade career, including two for 1974’s “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and one for 1994’s “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”
During the OWN TCA panel, she recalled her work on the 1972 oscar nominated film “Sounder,” co starring Paul Winfield.
“The whole story is about their love. It is a deep love story about fully formed human beings who happen to be black,” DuVernay said, noting the scene in which Tyson and Winfield’s characters reunite and become caught up in “an avalanche of love … even in the face of chaos and tragedy and prejudice.”
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) January 18, 2020
That prompted Tyson to recall an interview with a reporter who said the scene wasn’t credible.
“She did not believe that black people could have a moment in their lives that could be interpreted as love,” said Tyson, who said she fired back at the assertion with “Do you realize that you’re saying we’re not human beings?”
“Cherish the Day” will premiere over two nights, February 11 (at 10 p.m. ET) and February 12 (at 8 p.m. ET), with subsequent episodes airing every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
Watch the “Cherish the Day” trailer below.
In related news, Tyson, Seth MacFarlane and Walt Disney Co. chief executive Bob Iger will be joining the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame later this month.