The late Cicely Tyson was more than an actor; she was a titan who inspired, prodded and enthralled her audience. From her breakout role in the 1972 film Sounder to her Emmy-nominated turn in “How to Get Away With Murder,” Tyson played her characters with integrity, endowing each with humanity and dignity. But she was also a daughter, a sister, a mother, a wife, an activist and an artist, and the story of her life is as complex as it is compelling.
In her memoir, Just as I Am (16 hours), Tyson lays out the whole of her life—including her turbulent relationship with her mother and her fraught marriage to musician Miles Davis—with unflinching honesty and hard-earned wisdom. In the foreword, actor Viola Davis describes her first meeting with Tyson with humor and love, and the relationship between the two groundbreaking artists is a joy to imagine. Award-winning audiobook narrator Robin Miles performs the majority of the book, bringing the same warmth and depth of characterization that she brought to the audiobooks for Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste. But Tyson herself steals the show with her generous, funny and wise introduction, the many years apparent in her voice but the fire in her spirit still burning brightly. Listening to Just as I Am is a profound delight.