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Lenny Kravitz honors godmother Cicely Tyson: ‘I constantly felt her spirit over me’

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz recently paid tribute to his godmother Cicely Tyson.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/Associated Press)

Grammy-winning musician Lenny Kravitz shined a light on his relationship with the late actress Cicely Tyson, who, among many superlatives in TV, film, theater and Black culture, was also his godmother.

“She lived a remarkable life up to the last moment. A true pioneer, who bared her heart and soul so we could witness the spirit of the characters she so brilliantly portrayed, which continue to move and inspire generations,” the rock guitarist wrote on Instagram over the weekend, posting an image of Tyson’s newly released memoir, “Just As I Am,” perched on his nightstand.

Kravitz, 56, also shared photos of himself and the award-winning screen icon, highlighting the warm relationship they had. Tyson died Thursday at age 96.

“A Black queen who showed us how beautiful black is. The love between us was and is tremendous,” added Kravitz. “As long as I have had consciousness, I’ve known Godmother.”

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Kravitz’s mother, Roxie Roker, starred in the pioneering sitcom “The Jeffersons” and was old friends with Tyson. She was married to filmmaker Sy Kravitz and was best known for playing Helen Willis, one-half of the upstairs interracial couple on the CBS comedy, before her death in 1995.

“She and my mother were kindred spirits. Sisters. And after my mother passed, Godmother’s role in my life was amplified,” Kravitz said. “I constantly felt her spirit over me. She always gave me unconditional support. She came to my shows, came over for holidays, met me for dinners, stayed with me in Paris when I first moved there, and never let me too far out of her sight.”

The late Cicely Tyson spoke to the L.A. Times throughout the years about her trailblazing legacy. Here are some of her wise words from our archives.

He added that they spoke for hours over the phone, as recently as “a few nights ago.”

“She had just sent me her book that has been sitting on my nightstand where it will remain. She did it all, wrote the book, and then God called her. I can hear Godmother saying ‘ok, now y’all can read about it, I’m going home,” he wrote. “Rest peacefully, Godmother. You did it all exquisitely.”

Cicely Tyson gets a touching video montage from one of her longtime collaborators, Tyler Perry, one of many honoring the actress’ profound legacy.


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