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EntertainmentMakers are known and celebrated for their work in film and television. Actors, directors, producers, as well as comedians, talent agents, and scriptwriters and screenwriters are categorized as EntertainmentMakers in addition to those who otherwise play a role in the entertainment industry.

Laurence Fishburne

Actor Laurence Fishburne was born on July 30, 1961 in Augusta, Georgia to Hattie Bell Fishburne and Laurence Fishburne, Sr. He attended Julia Richmond High School and later graduated from Lincoln Square Academy in 1979.

In 1971, at age ten, Fishburne appeared in his first play In My Many Names and Days at the New Federal Theater. In 1973, Fishburne made his television debut in the role of Joshua Hall on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. He made his film debut two years later in Cornbread, Earl and Me; and, in that same year, he joined the Negro Ensemble Company. In 1976, at the age of fourteen, Fishburne was cast as Tyrone Miller in Frances Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, and was sent to the Philippines for location filming. Fishburne returned to the U.S. in 1979, and moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1983, he was featured in Rumble Fish based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, and later appeared in The Cotton Club as Bumpy Rhodes in 1984. The following year, he was cast as Swain in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple and also starred Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. Fishburne later portrayed Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee’s Playhouse and also appeared in films such as Quicksilver, School Daze, and Cadence.

In 1991, Fishburne starred in John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood as Furious Styles. Two years later, he starred opposite Angela Bassett, portraying Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1994, Fishburne made his theatrical directorial debut and starred in Riff Raff. He was then cast in the title role for the film adaptation of Othello, and later portrayed Caleb Humphries in Miss Evers’ Boys. In 1999, Fishburne starred in The Matrix as Morpheus, co-starring Keanu Reaves. The following year, he made his screenwriting and directorial debut in Once in the Life. He also appeared in several films including: Mystic River, Biker Boyz, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Akeelah and the Bee, Mission: Impossible III, Five Fingers, Bobby, and voiced the role of the Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. In 2007, Fishburne portrayed Thurgood Marshall in the Broadway production of Thurgood; and, in 2008, he landed a recurring role as Raymond Langston on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Fishburne was later featured in films such as, Contagion, Predators, Have a Little Faith, Man of Steel, The Colony, and Ride Along. In 2014, he was cast in the role of Pops in the television series Black-ish; and, in 2017, he portrayed the Bowery King in John Wick: Chapter 2, reprising the role in 2019, in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

Among several awards and nominations, Fishburne was nominated for an Academy Award, has won two Emmy Awards and was nominated seven times. He also received a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in 1992.

Laurence Fishburne was interviewed by on February 4, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/4/2019

Last Name

Fishburne

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

John

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

P.S. 321 William Penn Elementary School

M.S. 88 Peter Rouget School

Woodward School

Julia Richman High School

Lincoln Square Academy

First Name

Laurence

Birth City, State, Country

Augusta

HM ID

FIS06

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tropical Places; Tahiti

Favorite Quote

Cool; See you around; Peace and love; Don't spend it all in one place

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/30/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Moroccan

Short Description

Actor Laurence Fishburne (1961 - ) starred in films such as Apocalypse Now, The Color Purple, What’s Love Got to Do with It, The Matrix trilogy and in the television series Black-ish, and has received an Academy Award nomination, two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award for Best Actor.

Employment

Negro Ensemble Company

American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

American International Pictures

United Artists

Orion Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

Columbia Broadcasting System

20th Century Fox Television

Columbia Pictures

Touchstone Pictures

Favorite Color

Orange

Skip Cunningham

Entertainer Skip Cunningham was born on April 24, 1936 to Geneva Davis and William Henry Cunningham in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Morgan Park High School and attended the University of Illinois at Navy Pier, before transferring to Woodrow Wilson Junior College where he received his A.A. degree in 1956.

In 1941, at the age of five, Cunningham started tap lessons at the Sadie Bruce Dance School in the Bronzeville area of Chicago. Starting at the age of eight, he performed throughout the city and won several dance competitions. He visited California in 1956, where he won a talent contest that earned him a week-long engagement performing at the Moulin Rouge on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In 1957, while still in Los Angeles, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and completed basic training at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. He was stationed at Fort Gordon in Georgia and Fort Banks in Winthrop, Massachusetts, where he found a talent agent and joined the American Guild of Variety Artists. In 1959, Cunningham completed his military service. He returned to Chicago, where he secured a role performing in the Billy Williams Revue. Over the next two years, the group toured Canada, New York, New Orleans and Las Vegas, where they established a six-month residency, before returning to New York City in 1961. Cunningham left the group and secured General Artist Corporation as his agent. During this period, he made appearances on television shows like On Broadway Tonight, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As an entertainer, he performed with Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Richard Pryor, and Frank Sinatra. He was also a recording artist for such labels as Kapp Records, Coral Records, and Motown.

In 1968, Cunningham moved to Los Angeles, where he began performing on cruise ship circuits and making various television and movie appearances. Cunningham was featured on episodes of Sanford and Son and The Richard Pryor Show. He also performed briefly in Eubie! on Broadway and in a production of Evolution of the Blues at the Drury Lane Theater at the Water Tower Place in Chicago in 1980. In 1984, Cunningham worked on the films, The Cotton Club and later Taps, in 1989. Cunningham also worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District to teach performance arts and African American history. In 2002, Cunningham was cast in the David Whitfield production of Forgotten Treasures with Marla Gibbs and Lou Myers. Cunningham was then selected to perform for the 2003 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, along with Fayard Nicholas, Arlene Kennedy and Arthur Duncan. Cunningham appeared with Century Ballroom Presents The Masters of Lindy Hop & Tap, before retiring from the stage in 2009.

As a tap master, Cunningham was awarded the Chicago Human Rhythm Project Juba Award, Rhythm Tap Hall of Fame Master Tapper Award, and the Los Angeles Tap Festival Leonard Reed Longevity Award.

Skip Cunningham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.013

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/7/2019

Last Name

Cunningham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Morgan Park High School

University of Illinois at Navy Pier

Kennedy–King College

First Name

Skip

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CUN03

Favorite Season

Chicago - Four Seasons, California - All Year

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

United States

Favorite Quote

Got Dammit!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/24/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Entertainer Skip Cunningham (1936 - ) toured with the Billy Williams Revue and made numerous appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and was featured in Eubie! on Broadway and in Evolution of the Blues.

Employment

U.S. Army

American Guild of Variety Artists

Billy Williams Revue

Genderal Artist Corporation

Los Angeles Unified School District

Favorite Color

Blue

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs was born on August 8, 1949 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1967, she earned her B.A. degree in political science from Whittier College in Whittier, California in 1971.

After graduation, Boone Isaacs worked as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in publicity at Columbia Pictures, where she served on the publicity team for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The following year, Boone Isaacs was hired as coordinator of marketing and publicity at Milton Goldstein’s Melvin Simon Productions, where she served for five years and was eventually promoted to vice president. In 1983, Boone Isaacs was named director of advertising and publicity for The Ladd Company, where she worked on films such as Once Upon a Time in America, The Right Stuff, and the box office hit Police Academy. In 1984, she was named director of west coast publicity and promotion for Paramount Pictures. Later, she became executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount Pictures, and orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart. In 1997, Boone Isaacs was named president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema, and became the first African American woman to head a studio marketing department, where she promoted Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Wedding Singer and Boogie Nights. In 2000, she founded CBI Enterprises, Inc., and worked on publicity for The King's Speech and The Artist. In 2013, Boone Isaacs produced the multi-award-winning documentary Tough Ain't Enough: Conversations With Albert S. Ruddy, which highlighted the life and career of the two-time Oscar-winning producer. That same year, she was elected the thirty-fifth president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served in that position until 2017. Boone Isaacs was re-elected in 2015, launching the initiative A2020 to increase the number of women and minority members to the Academy by 2020. In 2017, Boone Isaacs oversaw the development of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Since 1987, she served as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was named representative of the public relations branch in 1992.

Boone Isaacs received Essence Magazine's Trailblazer Award in 2013. In 2014, she was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, received the African American Film Critics Association Horizon Award, and was named the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence.

She is also the sister of film marketing and distribution executive, Ashley Boone, who passed away in 1994.

Cheryl Boone Issacs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.228

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2018

Last Name

Boone Isaacs

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

ISA02

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rome, Italy

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/8/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Chips and Ice Cream

Short Description

Entertainment executive Cheryl Boone Issacs (1949 - ) was executive vice president of worldwide publicity at Paramount Pictures before becoming the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2013.

Favorite Color

Blue

Dolores Robinson

Talent manager Dolores Robinson was born on April 13, 1936 in Penllyn, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Ambler High School in 1954, she earned her B.A. degree from West Chester Teachers’ College in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1958.

Robinson worked as a public school teacher in Philadelphia before she became a public relations director and on-air personality for WCAU-TV and later served as a publicity director for KYW-TV in Philadelphia. In 1974, Robinson relocated with her family to Los Angeles where she was hired as a receptionist at a talent agency, and was then promoted to agent. In 1976, she founded her own management company, Dolores Robinson Entertainment and her first client was LeVar Burton. She also helped launch the careers of Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Jada Pinkett Smith, Emilio Estevez, and, her daughter, Holly Robinson Peete. Her other clients included, Wesley Snipes, Linda Fiorentino, Kadeem Hardison, Jason Patric, Randy Quaid, Elisabeth Shue, Powers Booth, John Henton, Rosie Perez and Pierce Brosnan.

In 1996, Robinson served as an executive producer of the television series Matt Waters starring Montel Williams, and a pilot for ABC starring NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin. She also executive produced the Fox/UPN show Between Brothers starring Kadeem Hardison. In 2014, Robinson was hired to represent Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis. She also managed the music career of her granddaughter, Ryan Peete. In 2016, Robinson appeared in For Peete's Sake, an American reality television series starring her daughter, Holly Robinson Peete, Rodney Peete, and their four children, which ran for two seasons, from 2016 to 2017. In 2018, she served as consulting producer on the Hallmark Channel series Meet The Peetes, also starring her daughter’s family.

Robinson served on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union, and was an original advisory board member for the Hollywood Women's Political Committee. Robinson also served on the board of directors for the Motion Picture & Television Fund and also as a supporter of A Place Call Home and Girls, Inc.

Robinson was the recipient of the Judy & Hilary Swank Award for Parenting presented
at the Actors Fund 2017 Looking Ahead Awards.

Dolores Robinson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.224

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/11/2018

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Dolores

Birth City, State, Country

Penllyn

HM ID

ROB38

Favorite Season

Palm Springs during Winter

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

My Patio With My Plants

Favorite Quote

I Gotta Take Care of Me

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/13/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Arugula

Short Description

Talent manager Dolores Robinson (1936- ) founded Dolores Robinson Entertainment, representing LeVar Burton, Martin Sheen, Jada Pinkett Smith and Wesley Snipes.

Favorite Color

Sunflower Yellow

Topper Carew

Film director Topper Carew was born on July 16, 1943 in Boston, Massachusetts. Carew attended Howard University School of Architecture in Washington, D.C. and received his B.A. degree in architecture and his M.S. degree in environmental design from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Later, Carew obtained his Ph.D. degree in communications from the Union Graduate School and Institute for Policy Studies.

In 1966, Carew founded The New Thing Art and Architecture Center, in Washington, D.C., to teach inner city youth. In 1972, Carew transitioned into film and received the Community Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and, in 1973, went to work at WGBH in Boston where he produced Say Brother, Tonite From Harvard Square and several national PBS series including Say Brother, National Edition, and Rebop I & II. Carew received a broadcast fellowship from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and spent four years there.

Carew and his late wife, producer Alyce S. Carew, co-founded the non-profit Rainbow Television Workshop, in 1974. Included in his filmography are credits for his work, as director for Breakin’ N’ Enterin’ in 1983; storywriter and producer for the theatrical release of D.C. Cab in 1983; producer of Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool in 1984; producer of And The Children Shall Lead TV movie in 1985; executive producer of Bustin’ Loose TV series in 1987; executive producer of A Little Bit Strange the TV movie in 1989; executive producer of Homeroom TV series in 1989; director and screenwriter for Talkin Dirty After Dark in 1991; executive producer of Martin from 1992 to 1997; director of The Journey of Allen Strange TV series in 1998; director of The Jersey TV Series in 2000; director of The 100 Deeds of Eddie Mc Dowd in 2001; director of We Don't Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story in 2006.

In 2012, Carew was appointed as a research scholar at Life Long Kindergarten Lab at the MIT Media Lab; and, in 2016, he was promoted to principal investigator at the MIT Media Lab. He later launched the Techquity Research Group and was named faculty fellow at the Innovation Lab at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 2018.

His honors include the Boston Neighborhood Network’s “National Media Hero Award”; the national “Hometown Video Award” for the best Public Access Television “On Air” promotional campaign; and a 2013 MIT Martin Luther King Leadership Award. He was the keynote speaker at Boston’s 2015 King Breakfast and at Boston’s 2016 Annual King Afternoon Celebration at Faneuil Hall.

Carew served on the advisory board for The Color of STEM. Carew has won more than forty film and television awards, and eight Gold Medals for graphic design. His awards also include three Action for Children’s Television Awards, four NAACP Image Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

Topper Carew was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 14, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/14/2018

Last Name

Carew

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Topper

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

CAR41

Favorite Season

Spring; Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago; Florence, Italy

Favorite Quote

Let It Marinade

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Film director Topper Carew (1943 - ) served as producer for WGBH/Boston PBS before launching Techquity Research Group. He has been awarded over forty film and television awards for his work on many movies and shows.

Favorite Color

Light Yellow

Pemon Rami

Arts administrator and theater director Pemon Rami was born on August 9, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois to Mary Foster and Harold Ray.
At the age of fourteen Rami started his first theatre company with the support and encouragement of Okoro Harold Johnson. At eighteen, Rami became the associate director of the Southside Center for the Performing Arts formerly the Joe Louis Theatre under the direction of Theodore Ward. The following year, Rami took over Val Gray Ward’s role as director of the Kuumba Theater, one of Chicago’s first African-American independent theaters. In 1973, Rami founded the Lamont Zeno Theater where he served as the artistic and managing director with the Better Boys Foundation. There, Rami directed numerous productions including: The Black Fairy and Young John Henry, written by Chicago-based poet, Useni Eugene Perkins.

The first African American film casting director in Chicago, Rami provided talent for the classic feature films and television movies; Blues Brothers, Mahogany, Cooley High, The Spook Who Sat by The Door, and Uptown Saturday Night. As an actor Rami appeared in the PBS weekly series Bird of the Iron Feather.

After relocating to Los Angeles for over twenty years, in 2004, Rami returned to Chicago and produced Stories from the Soul a TV series for the Black Family Channel and the feature film Of Boys and Men, starring Angela Bassett and Robert Townsend.

Pemon co-founded Productions to Change Lives (P2CL) a training and production model, which focused on integrating art and media through the eyes of teens, in an effort to effect community involvement and positive change. Through the P2CL Teen Talk Radio apprenticeship program implemented at high schools in Chicago, Rami and his wife Masequa Myers mentored over 300 teens and indirectly impacted thousands through live performances and weekly radio broadcasts.

In 2011, Pemon became director of educational services and public programs at The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. After five years with DuSable, Rami returned to filmmaking and produced the feature film 93 Days in Lagos, Nigeria starring Danny Glover for which he was nominated for an African Academy Award and received the Visionary Award in 2016 at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival.

Rami served on the Joseph Jefferson Awards committee from 2016 to 2018. He was selected one of the Chicago Defender’s “50 Men of Excellence,” as well as to the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame. Rami has also been recognized with awards from numerous organizations including: Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in. Community Leadership at the Black Harvest Film Festival, American Advertising Federation, International Television Association, the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP (Best Theatre Director Award), Proclamation from the Los Angeles City Council, Key to the City of Detroit and the Life Time Achievement Award from the Chicago African American Arts Alliance.

Pemon Rami was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.141

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2018

Last Name

Rami

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
First Name

Pemon

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

RAM03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago

Favorite Quote

Greatness Shouldn't Be Determined By Name Recognition But By The Lives That We Touch And The People That We Share With.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/9/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Catfish, Spaghetti

Short Description

Arts administrator and theater director Pemon Rami (1950 - ) director of educational services and public programs at The DuSable Museum of African American History and produced Of Boys and Men, Nineteen and A Day: The Life and Times of D-Jef, and 93 Days.

Favorite Color

Brown

Maséqua Myers

Producer Maséqua Myers was born on January 7, 1953 in Birmingham, Alabama to Thelma and Willie Myers. She attended Cook Elementary School in 1966 in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Calumet High School in 1970 in Chicago. Myers received her dual A.A. degrees in nursing and theatre in 1974 from Kennedy-King College, in Chicago.

Myers served as project developer for Urban Gateways in Chicago from 1974 to 1976, and worked at LaMont Zeno Theatre/Better Boys Foundation in Chicago from 1974 to 1979. She became the equity union deputy representative at the Goodman and Victory Gardens Theatres in Chicago and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. from 1979 to 1980. Myers served at the Wolftrap Institute for Early Learning as part of the Arts in Phoenix and Washington, D.C. from 1983 to 1985. She also handled contract negotiations at the Independent Professional Performing Artists Institute, in Phoenix, in 1985 and was co-owner and executive producer of Mixed Media Productions, Inc., in Phoenix and Los Angeles from 1986 to 1992. Myers also served as artist in residence at the Wolftrap Arts Institute, Washington D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona from 1986 to 1992.

Myers is credited for her work as producer/co-author of the internationally distributed educational video, Faces of Racism for the National YWCA of the USA in 1990. In 1992, she established and served as chief executive officer at Maséqua Myers and Associates; and, in 2014, she became the executive director, for the historic South Side Community Art Center.

Myers produced Miss Dessa, the romantic-comedy play, which received nine 1993 NAACP Theatre Awards Los Angeles, CA. She produced the pilot and episodes of Stories From the Soul, a half hour dramatic TV series for Robert Townsend, served as director of production for the Black Family Channel in 2005. She produced the documentary, Interview with A Chicago Cop, which was featured in the Arizona Black Film Festival in 2006. She was also the film training director for the feature film, Of Boys and Men starring Angela Bassett and Robert Townsend).

Maséqua Myers-Rami and her husband Pemon Rami have two adult children Babatunde and Tacuma.

Maséqua Myers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.140

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/13/2018

Last Name

Rami

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Perspectives Charter - Calumet Leadership

Kennedy–King College

Northeastern Illinois University

First Name

Masequa

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

MYE04

Favorite Season

Warm

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Trinidad

Favorite Quote

Life Is Not Fair And Then You Die.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/7/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Producer Maséqua Myers (1953- ) founded Maséqua Myers and Associates, and was producer and co-author of the internationally distributed educational video, Faces of Racism, for the National YWCA of the USA in 1990.

Favorite Color

Red

Gil Robertson IV

Film critic Gil Robertson IV was born on August 13, 1964 in Los Angeles, California to Gil and Fannye Delmyra Robertson. He received his B.S degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles.

Robertson began his career as an arts and entertainment journalist interviewing music and Hollywood stars. He wrote for over fifty national magazines, including BillboardFortuneEssence, Vibe, The Source, USA Today, Ebony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the L.A. Times. Robertson created the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, in 1997, and later founded the Robertson Treatment’s Media Workshop series, an annual journalism initiative presented first at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and then expanded to the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Robertson became a publicist and represented a variety of clients that included music producer Quincy Jones III, Christian rapper Lecrae, music executive Big Jon Platt and sports stars Cedric Ceballos and Tony Gwynn. From 1998 to 2000, Robertson also served as unit publicist on the Showtime series Linc’s, which starred Steven Williams along with co-stars Pam Grier and Golden Brooks as well as Hoop Life, which starred Dorian Harewood, Robert Hooks and Mykelti Williamson.

Robertson published Writing As A Tool of Empowerment, a book for aspiring entertainment journalists, in 2002. His anthologies include: Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community (2006), that received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Nonfiction Book; Family Affair: What It Means to be African-American Today (2009) which was a Publisher’s Weekly pick of the week; and Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships In the African-American Community (2013). In 2017, Robertson authored his first children’s book, Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present. Additionally, Robertson contributed entertainment content to five editions of The African-American Almanac, a reference book of African American culture.

In 2003, Robertson co-founded the African American Critics Association (AAFCA), which produces the AAFCA Awards, highlighting the work of Hollywood stars such as John Singleton, Oprah, Viola Davis, Jamie Foxx, Will Packer, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler and John David Washington.

Robertson, participated on panels for Sundance, Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, and smaller festivals such as the Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas and the International Black Film Festival of Nashville. Fostering collaborations with various industry groups such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). He also served as a spokesperson on diversity and inclusion with HLN, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Robertson’s professional memberships include: National Press Club, The National Association of Black Journalists, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Gil Robertson IV was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/10/2018

Last Name

Robertson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

South Park Elementary School

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

California State University, Los Angeles

First Name

Gil

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

ROB37

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands Off The Indian Ocean

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/13/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Film critic Gil Robertson IV (1964- ) co-founded the African American Film Critics Association in 2003. He created the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment in 1997.

Employment

Poffenburger and Associates

Cash Box

Music Connection

Robertson Treatment

AAFCA

Favorite Color

Blue

Vanessa Williams

Actress and singer Vanessa Williams was born on March 18, 1963 to Milton and Helen Williams in Tarrytown, New York. Williams graduated from Horace Greeley High School in Millwood, New York in 1981, and enrolled at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

In 1983, Williams won the Miss Greater Syracuse Pageant and Miss New York Pageant. Later that fall, she was crowned Miss America 1984, becoming the first African American contestant to win the pageant. A scandal involving Williams forced her to resign in July of 1984. Williams then pursued a career in music. In 1988, she released her first album, The Right Stuff, which featured the singles The Right Stuff, He's Got the Look and Dreamin'. The album’s popularity garnered Williams the NAACP Outstanding New Artist Award. Her multi-platinum second album, The Comfort Zone, was nominated for three Grammys in 1992, and her third album, The Sweetest Days, achieved platinum status in 1994. Williams earned another Grammy nomination for her popular rendition of Colors of the Wind, featured on the Pocahontas soundtrack. Williams went on to release five more studio albums: Star Bright (1996), Next (1997), Silver & Gold (2004), Everlasting Love (2005), and The Real Thing (2009), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts.

Williams has also enjoyed a successful acting career. After making her acting debut on an episode of The Love Boat in 1984, Williams went on to appear in such films as Eraser (1996), Soul Food (1997), Light It Up (1999), Shaft (2000), opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Johnson Family Vacation (2004), Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also portrayed Suzanne de Passe in the Jackson 5 biopic The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992). Williams executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love and VH1’s original movie A Diva's Christmas Carol, both released in 2000.

Williams earned three-Emmy nominations for her starring role as Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty from 2006 to 2010 and also starred on the last two seasons of Desperate Housewives on ABC, winning two NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Renee Perry. She also starred as Maxine Robinson on the television show Daytime Divas in 2017.

In addition to acting on film and in television, Williams starred on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1994), Into the Woods (2002; Tony Award nominee as Best Actress in a Musical), Sondheim on Sondheim (2010) and The Trip to Bountiful (2003).

Williams, and her mother Helen Williams, co-authored the New York Times bestseller You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), published in 2013. Williams returned to the Miss America Pageant in 2015 as the head judge and special performer – receiving an apology from the organization for the events that took place in 1984.

Williams has four adult children: Melanie, Jillian, Devin and Sasha.

Vanessa Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 30, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/30/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Vanessa

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

WIL83

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Go For It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/18/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Margherita Pizza

Short Description

Actress and singer Vanessa Williams (1963 - ) was crowned Miss America 1984 but had to step down. She went on to release eight studio albums, and appear in countless films and television shows and sustain a significant entertainment career.

Favorite Color

Green

Kym Longino

Stuntwoman Kym Longino was born on October 19, 1957 in Boston, Massachusetts to Carol Washington and Richard Washington, a Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator. Longino graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles in 1975, and attended Santa Monica City College, where she studied business and health science.

In 1979, Longino served as the stunt double for Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; and again, in 1982, for the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In 1985, Longino was a stunt double for both Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple. In 1988, Longino performed stunts in the movie Mississippi Burning alongside her father, Richard Washington. From 1988 to 2012, Longino worked as a stunt performer on the television show America’s Most Wanted. She also performed stunts on the television show Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996 as well as the film Ghostbusters II in 1989. A long time stunt double for Whoopi Goldberg, Longino performed stunts in several of her films during the 1990s, including Ghost in 1990, Sister Act in 1992, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit in 1993, Made in America in 1993, and Corrina, Corrina in 1994. In 1999, she performed stunts in Girl, Interrupted; and in 2001, she was appeared as a stuntwoman in Hannibal. Longino was a stunt driver on the television show Third Watch from 1999 to 2005. She worked as both a stunt performer and stunt driver in Taxi (2004) and in King’s Ransom (2005). In 2006, Longino was featured in a documentary about top African American stuntwomen called Hollywood At Its Best. Longino has worked as a stunt double for Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, Tamara Tunie, Halle Berry, Denise Richards, and Taraji P. Henson on the television show Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013. She also appeared in over eighty films and television shows, and acted in commercials for Dodge, GMC Trucks, Toyota, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds.

Longino was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and an Arbonne independent representative. In 2011, she received a Diamond in the Raw Lifetime Achievement Award and an Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Guest Award.

Kym Longino was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.051

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2018

Last Name

Longino

Maker Category
Middle Name

Washington

Organizations
First Name

Kym

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

LON06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint Lucia

Favorite Quote

As Long As You Believe In Yourself You Can Achieve What Is Waiting For You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/19/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Seafood/Mexican

Short Description

Stuntwoman Kym Longino (1957 - ) worked as a stunt performer for over thirty years, appearing in over eighty films and television shows, and working with actresses like Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Favorite Color

Green