Pan African Film Festival

Pan African Film Festival Statement on the Death of Cicely Tyson

January 28, 2021

Media Contact:

We are truly saddened by the news of the death of one of America’s greatest actors.  There is no one who has done more for the images of Black people than Cicely Tyson. On and off the screen, Ms. Tyson was led by her moral compass never compromising her values. She was a strong advocate for Black actors and film crews, often taking roles that addressed racial issues, such as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder and Jane Pittman The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.  She will be forever remembered by the strong images of Black women she portrayed on television, in motion pictures, and on the stage.


About the Pan African Film Festival

Gearing up for its 29th anniversary, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) is America's largest and most prestigious Black film festival. Each year, it screens more than 200 films made by and/or about people of African descent from around the world. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live-action and animation short films.


PAFF is a non-profit corporation, founded in 1992 by award-winning actor Danny Glover (“The Color Purple,” “Lethal Weapon” movie franchise), Emmy Award-winning actress Ja’Net DuBois (best known for her role as Willona in the TV series, “Good Times”) and executive director, Ayuko Babu, an international legal, cultural and political consultant who specializes in Pan African Affairs.  PAFF is dedicated to the promotion of ethnic and racial respect and tolerance through the exhibit of films, art, and creative expression.


The goal of PAFF is to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images, help to destroy negative stereotypes and depict an expanded vision of the Black experience. PAFF believes film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and lifestyles in an entertaining way while at the same time, serving as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

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