By Joy Childs
Sentinel Contributing Writer
For her television, stage and film work, Phylicia Rashad will be feted with the Pan African Film Festival’s highest award at its Night of Tribute Awards Show and Reception, which takes place at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center on Thursday, February 17. The actress, who starred in Lorraine Hansberry’s “Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway (New York), became the first African American woman to win in the lead actress category.
In a phone interview, this woman of multiple talents said she’s never been honored by a film festival and that she’s “mystified [by her selection]. . . but grateful.” There should be no mystery: From Clair Huxtable to Gilda in “For Colored Girls” to Lena Younger in “Raisin”-all are roles Rashad has left her indomitable imprint on.
Last year, the Ebony Repertory Theatre tapped her to direct “Raisin” in Los Angeles. Thus, she will make her directorial debut this March with what she termed a “strong cast”-led by veteran actress L. Scott Caldwell in the Lena Younger role, in March at the Holden Center. Rashad is looking forward to her role on the other side of the stage spectrum.
When asked what’s next after the play, she responded by saying, “I don’t know . . . I’m in a state of a preparedness.” Being in this state of preparedness no doubt keeps her open to new acting, directing and producing challenges-and keeps her happy. Happiness, she confirms, comes from within . . . What makes me happy is putting forth a sincere effort to know myself.”
It makes us happy that Phylicia Rashad is this year’s PAFF honoree.