Opera singer Denyce Graves returns to The HistoryMakers to host The HistoryMakers Year in Review - 2005, looking back on the year she was interviewed for PBS-TV in An Evening With Denyce Graves by actress Angela Bassett. This year also features An Evening With Diahann Carroll in Washington, D.C. and An Evening With Nikki Giovanni in Atlanta along with the special taping of Salute to Brock Peters, a memorial reception celebrating the life of the late actor in Los Angeles. Each of these incredible specials drew hundreds of attendees, further establishing The HistoryMakers’ remarkable ability to honor and increase awareness of black history. Della Reese and Earvin “Magic” Johnson make special appearances as guest speakers for the fourth annual Meet the HistoryMakers—A Day of Education, and in all 263 HistoryMakers are interviewed around the country. In addition to behind-the-scenes footage of the PBS-TV tapings and other events that year, this evening program includes a pre-recorded performance by the Grammy Award-winning Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, provided courtesy of the Berklee School of Music, in tribute to Denyce Graves and those interviewed in 2005. The night ends with An Evening With Nikki Giovanni, An Evening With Diahann Carroll, and An Evening With Denyce Graves.
Opera singer Denyce Graves is a native of Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. She continued her education at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Graves made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1995-96 season in the title role of Carmen. Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera – Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opera National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago and countless others. In 1998, Graves received an honorary doctorate from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. She was named one of the Fifty Leaders of Tomorrow by Ebony magazine and was one of Glamour magazine’s 1997 Women of the Year. In 2003, Graves was appointed as a Cultural Ambassador for the United States.
Taped: Saturday, October 22, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a rare and unique look inside the life and career of legendary mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Taped live in Chicago, Illinois at Northwestern University’s Thorne Auditorium on Saturday, October 22, 2005, this program was the ninth in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With... series. Academy Award nominated actress Angela Bassett interviewed her friend Denyce Graves with Discover Financial Services LLC serving as the event’s title sponsor.
Denyce Graves is recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exhilarating vocal stars. In this program, Graves revealed how her talents catapulted her from the inner city of Washington, D.C. to the majestic halls of the New York Metropolitan Opera and other notable opera houses throughout the world. She also explained the spelling of her first name and talked about the history of African Americans in the world of opera, her family history and her future – her young daughter.
Through photographs and video footage from some of her performances, An Evening With Denyce Graves showed why Denyce Graves is one of the most treasured stars working in the world of opera.
Taped: Saturday, May 7, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a rare and insightful look into the life and career of legendary entertainer Diahann Carroll. Taped live in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium on Saturday, May 7, 2005, this program was the seventh in The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With... series. Television journalist, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, Gwen Ifill interviewed actress and singer Diahann Carroll with Discover Financial Services LLC serving as the event’s title sponsor.
Diahann Carroll is a true legend. She is one of America’s major performing talents with a career on the Broadway stage, as a Las Vegas headliner and as an actress in both motion pictures and on television. In the interview, Carroll told her life story, shared her experiences working in the entertainment industry and offered her feelings about being a pioneer and inspiring future minority actresses. She talked about her sitcom Julia, working with Sidney Poitier, her Oscar nomination and her roles on the 1980s prime time soap operas, Dynasty and A Different World.
Taped: Saturday, June 18, 2005
This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a wonderful look inside the life of poet and educator Nikki Giovanni. Taped live in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia Public Broadcasting on Saturday, June 18, 2005, this program was the eighth in The HistoryMakers' An Evening With... PBS-TV series. Writer, novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage interviewed her former childhood babysitter Nikki Giovanni in front of a standing room only audience.
The program began with three Atlanta-based spoken word artists performing one of Giovanni's poems, Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why), and then, Pearl Cleage introduced Nikki Giovanni. During the interview, Giovanni talked about her childhood, the origins of her writing career and discussed her feelings about young people and hip hop culture. Throughout the interview, there were performances by spoken word artists reciting Giovanni's poems.
Through the use of historic film footage and live performances, An Evening With Nikki Giovanni provided a profound look into the wonderful life of one of the world's most outstanding spoken word artists.