Archive for the ‘Black Comedians’ Category
1. Thelma Hopkins, Actress, Singer, A member of the 1970s’ pop group Tony Orlando and Dawn, she later starred in several television sitcoms, including Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break!, Family Matters, Getting By and Half & Half.
2. Sheryl Underwood, Comedien, Actor, first gained notoriety as the first female finalist in the Miller Lite Comedy Search in 1989. She won the BET “Funniest Female Comedian on Comic View” award in 1994 and the BET Comedy Awards’ Platinum Mic Viewers Choice Award in 2005. Following her stand up success, Underwood took a number of minor acting roles including Bad Mouth Bessie in the 1998 film I Got the Hook Up, and Catfish Rita in the 2005 film Beauty Shop. She is one of the host on daytime talk show The Talk
Underwood was the host of BET’s Comic View and executive producer and host of the limited run comedy/variety series Holla(September 2002- January 2003)
1. Byrd Prillerman, Co-founder of Virginia State College one of West Virginia’s most prominent Negro educators, and former president of West Virginia Collegiate institute, now West Virginia State college. one of those responsible for having the land-grant school located in the Kanawha Valley, was the fourth president. During his tenure, academic programs were expanded and the institution was given a new name “The West Virginia Collegiate Institute.” Prillerman Hall is named for him.
2. LaWanda Page, actress and comedienne best known for her portrayal of Aunt Esther in the 1970s TV sitcom Sanford and Son. Known for using the “set you straight term” (Watch it sucker).
3. Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers, served for 21 years as a distinguished member of the state Senate in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. When elected in 1967, she became the first person of color and the first woman elected to the Kentucky’s State Senate.
4. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, PhD, The first African American female president of Spelman College from 1987-1997. She was president of Bennett College from 2002-2007. She is currently serving as director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art.
5. Michael Stephen Steele, Conservative politician, serving since January 2009 as the first African American chairman of the Republican National Committee.
6. Jennifer Holiday, singer and Tony Award-winning actress. She started her career on Broadway in musicals such as Dreamgirls, and later became a successful recording artist. She is best known for her debut single, the Dreamgirls showstopper and Grammy Award-winning R&B/Pop hit, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”
7. Evander Hollyfield, Former heavyweight Boxing Champion, He is a former World Undisputed Champion in both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, earning him the nickname “The Real Deal”. After winning the bronze medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics, he debuted as a professional at the age of 21.
8. Bradley Lee Daugherty, retired basketball player with the University of North Carolina and later with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA, joined ESPN’s return to NASCAR racing telecasts in 2007. He is currently a car owner and an analyst for NASCAR.
1. Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp, better known by his stage name Nappy Brown, was an American R&B singer. His hits include the 1955 Billboard chart #2, “Don’t Be Angry” and “Night Time Is the Right Time”. His style is instantly recognizable; Brown used a wide vibrato, melisma, and distinctive extra syllables, in particular, “li-li-li-li-li.”
2. Dick Gregory, comedian, social activist, social critic, writer, and entrepreneur.
Gregory is an influential American comic who has used his performance skills to convey to both white and black audiences his political message on civil rights. His social satire changed the way white Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public.
Influenced to stand up for civil rights by his early surroundings of poverty and violence, Gregory was one of the first comedians to successfully perform for both black and white audiences
3. Sam Moore, is an American Southern Soul and Rhythm & Blues (R&B) singer who was the tenor vocalist for the soul vocal duo Sam & Dave from 1961 through 1981. Sam Moore is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame (for “Soul Man”, The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and a Grammy Award and a multi-Gold Record award winning recording artist. Sam & Dave were the most successful and critically acclaimed duo in Soul Music history. Moore has also achieved a distinguished 25 year career as a solo performing and recording artist.
1. Frederick Douglass Patterson, Former president of Tuskegee University (1935–1953) and founder of the United Negro College Fund (1944, UNCF). In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded Dr. Patterson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Patterson received his DVM in 1923 and M.S. in 1927 from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1933. Patterson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
2. Ivory Joe Hunter, was an R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist, best known for his hit recording, “Since I Met You, Baby” (1956). Billed as The Baron of the Boogie, he was also known as The Happiest Man Alive.
3. Harry “Sweets” Edison, was a jazz trumpeter and member of the Count Basie Orchestra.
4. Theolonius Monk is born in Rocky Mount, NC. He was only one of 3 jazz musicians ever featured on the cover of Time magazine. A jazz pianist and composer considered “one of the giants of American music”. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”. Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington,
5. Ben Vereen, an actor, dancer, and singer who has appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. He starred in the television series Ten speed and Brown Shoe, but is probably best known for his role as “Chicken George” Moore in Roots.
6. Cyril Neville, is a percussionist and vocalist who first came to prominence as a member of his brother Art Neville’s funky New Orleans-based band, The Meters. He joined Art in the prestigious Neville Brothers band upon the dissolution of the Meters.
7. Derrick Wayne McKey, retired basketball player who played the most part of his NBA career between the small forward and the power forward positions.
8. Michael Lamont Bivins, a.k.a. Biv is the founder and member of the R&B group New Edition and the hip hop group Bell Biv DeVoe. Not only does he perform in both groups, but he also discovers, manages, and produces for other acts, most notably Another Bad Creation, MC Brains, Boyz II Men, and 702, all of whom were signed to his Motown distributed label Biv 10 Records. He serves as the music entrepreneur and A&R man of both of his own acts.
Bivins had a minor role in the film Friday After Next, and guest-starred as a DJ on the pseudo-radio station CSR 103.9 in the hit video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Most recently, he made an appearance in the basketball film Crossover as a character known as Heart Attack. He is also in charge of Artist Development for Making the Band 4. He is CEO of his own label Sporty Rich Enterprises.
9. Marie Harrison, professionally referred to as Mýa, is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born and raised in Washington D.C., Harrison’s eponymous debut album with Interscope Records was released in April 1998, and sold over one million copies in the United States, producing the gold-certified top ten single “It’s All About Me” featuring Sisqó.
Her second studio album, platinum-selling Fear of Flying, was released in 2000 and became a success worldwide, with single “Case of the Ex” becoming Mýa’s breakthrough hit, reaching number-one on the Australian Singles Chart. A year after, Harrison won her first Grammy Award for the worldwide number-one hit “Lady Marmalade”, a cover version she recorded alongside Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and Pink for the soundtrack of the film Moulin Rouge! (2001).
The singer’s third studio album, Moodring, was released in July 2003 and certified gold by the RIAA. Following several label changes, Mýa’s often-delayed fourth studio album, Liberation (2007), received a download-release in Japan only and led to her 2008 Japan-exclusive album Sugar & Spice.
Having expanded her career to acting and product endorsement deals, Harrison has been engaged in product endorsement deals with brands such as Coca-Cola, Gap, Iceberg, Tommy Hilfiger, and Motorola and has had small roles in films such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), and Cursed (2005). In 2002, she had a supporting role in the film adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical Chicago, for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award. Billboard named Mýa the 97th Hot 100 Artists of 2000s
1. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, is a politician from Los Angeles, California. She was the Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the 2nd District (1992–2008). She has served as the Chair three times (1993–94, 1997–98, 2002–03). She was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress. Her husband is William Burke, a prominent philanthropist and creator of the Los Angeles Marathon.
2. Arlene Smith, Singer, The Chantels. “Maybe”
3. Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, better known by his stage name, Bernie Mac, was an actor and comedian. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy.
4. Autherine Lucy Foster, first black admitted University of Alabama. She attended Selma University in Selma, and the all-black Miles College in Fairfield – where she graduated with a BA in English in 1952.
Later in 1952, at the encouragement of and along with a Miles classmate, Pollie Ann Myers, she decided to attend the University of Alabama as a graduate student but, knowing that admission would be difficult due to the University’s admission policies, she and Myers approached the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for help. Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, and Arthur Shores were assigned to be their attorneys. While they started preparing her case, she worked as a secretary. Court action began in July 1953.
On June 29, 1955, the NAACP secured a court order preventing the University from rejecting the admission applications of Lucy and her friend based upon their race. Days later, the court amended the order to apply to all other African-American students seeking admission. The Supreme Court upheld this in Lucy v. Adams on October 10, 1955. On the very eve of the day Lucy and her friend (who had married to become Pollie Myers Hudson) were to register, the University Board of Trustees rejected Hudson on the grounds of her “conduct and marital record”, but reluctantly allowed Lucy to register. However, she was barred from all dormitories and dining halls. At least two sources have said that the board hoped that without Hudson, the more outgoing and assured of the pair and whose idea it originally was to enroll at Alabama, Lucy’s own acceptance would mean little or nothing to her, and she would voluntarily choose not to attend. But Hudson and others strongly encouraged her, and on February 3, 1956, Lucy enrolled as a graduate student in library science, becoming the first African American ever admitted to a white public school or university in the state.
On the third day of classes, a hostile mob assembled to prevent Lucy attending classes. The police were called to secure her admission but, that evening, the University suspended Lucy on the grounds that it could not provide a safe environment. Lucy and her attorneys filed suit against the University to have the suspension overturned. However, this suit was not successful and was used as a justification for her permanent expulsion. University officials claimed that Lucy had slandered the university and they could not have her as a student.
The University of Alabama finally overturned her expulsion in 1980, and in 1992, she earned her Masters degree in Elementary Education from the University that she had applied to decades earlier. In a complete reversal of spirit from when she was first admitted there, the university named an endowed scholarship in her honor and unveiled a portrait of her in the student union overlooking the most trafficked spot on campus. The inscription reads “Her initiative and courage won the right for students of all races to attend the University.” She is a sister of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.
1. Napoleon Whiting, was an American character actor. He played many bit parts, often un-credited, as a menial worker such as the butler, a stereotypical role.
Whiting was best known to television audiences for his work as Silas on The Big Valley, a typecast but highly visible role.
2. Leroy Eliot “Slam” Stewart, was a jazz bass player whose trademark style was his ability to bow the bass (arco) and simultaneously hum or sing an octave higher. He was originally a violin player before switching to bass at the age of 20.
3. Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro, actor, director, dancer, game show host, and comedian. While he received attention for his performance in the title role of the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid and his appearance as a dancer in a Pepsi commercial featuring Michael Jackson, Ribeiro is best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
5. Nicole Camille Richie, fashion designer, author, actress, Singer and television personality. Richie is the adopted daughter of R&B and soul singer Lionel Richie and his then-wife Brenda Harvey. Richie is perhaps best known for her role in the Fox reality television series The Simple Life. In recent years Richie has focused on charity work and environmental issues. In November 2007 Richie and husband Joel Madden created “The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation”.
6. David Jude Jolicoeur, also known under the stage name Trugoy and more recently Dave, is an American rapper, producer, and one third of groundbreaking hip hop trio De La Soul.
7. Cecil Grant Fielder, is a former professional baseball player who was a noted power hitter in the 1980s and 1990s. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He played with the Toronto Blue Jays (1985–88), Detroit Tigers (1990–96), New York Yankees (1996–97), Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians (both in 1998). In 1990, he became the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster hit 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. He is the father of Milwaukee Brewers power hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, who in 2007 reached the 50-home run mark as his father had done.
1. In 1664, Maryland enacted first anti-amalgamation law to prevent widespread intermarriage of English women and Black men. Other colonies passed similar laws: Virginia, 1691; Massachusetts 1705; North Carolina, 1715; South Carolina, 1717; Delaware, 1721; Pennsylvania, 1725.
2. In 1830, First National Negro Convention is held in Philadelphia consisting of Free Men which agreed to boycott slave-produced goods.
3. In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. stabbed in chest by a deranged Black woman while he was autographing books in a Harlem department store. Woman was placed under mental observation.
4. In 1960, The Twist by Chubby Checker, is the #1 pop single
5. In 1962, James H. Meredith Denied Admission to University, Governor Barnett personally denied James H. Meredith admission to the University of Mississippi.
6. In 1984, The Cosby Show premieres on NBC-TV, The Cosby Show, television situation comedy starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. The show “was TV’s biggest hit in the 1980s, and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre. Originally, the show had been pitched to ABC, which rejected it. The show spawned the spin-off A Different World, which ran for six seasons from 1987 to 1993.
7. In 1987, Alfre Woodard wins an Emmy for outstanding guest performance in the dramatic series L.A. Law. It is her second Emmy award, her first having been for a supporting role in Hill Street Blues in 1984.
1. In 1787, U.S. Constitution approved at Philadelphia convention with three clauses protecting slavery.
2. In 1861, Hampton Institute founded.
3. In 1878, W. Lavalette received Patent for Printing Press (variation)
4. In 1962, Fourth Black church burned near Dawson, Georgia. Three white men later admitted burning the church. They were sentenced to seven-year prison terms.
5. In 1968, Diahann Carrol, Actress and Singer, became the first Black in a lead role in the TV Sitcom (Julia).
6. In 1970, The Flip Wilson Show premieres on NBC. It is the first prime time variety show starring an African American male since the Nat King Cole Show.
7. In 1983, Vanessa Williams, Acclaimed recording artist and actress became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America.
1. Jan E. Matzeliger, inventor in the shoe industry.(Shoe lasting Machine). Matzeliger obtained a patent for his invention in 1883. His machine could produce between 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day, cutting shoe prices across the nation in half. In recognition of his accomplishment, he was honored on a postage stamp on September 15, 1991.
2. Silas Hogan, Bluesman (Swamp Blues), blues musician. Hogan most notably recorded “Airport Blues” and “Lonesome La La”, was the front man of the Rhythm Ramblers, and became an inductee in the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame.
3. Julius Nipsey Russell, comedian, best known today for his appearances as a guest panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, especially Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth and Pyramid. His appearances were distinguished in part by the short, humorous poems he would recite during the broadcast. These lyrics became so closely associated with Russell that Dick Clark, Bill Cullen, Betty White, and others regularly referred to him as “the poet laureate of television.” He also had a leading role in the film version of The Wiz. Russell was also a frequent guest on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.
4. James Edward (Snooky) Pryor, Chicago blues harmonica player. While serving in the U.S. Army he would blow bugle calls through the powerful PA system, which led him to experiment with playing the harmonica that way. Upon discharge from the Army in 1945, he obtained his own amplifier, and began playing harmonica at the outdoor Maxwell Street market, becoming a regular on the Chicago blues scene.
5. Bobby Short, cabaret singer and pianist, best known for his interpretations of songs by popular composers of the first half of the 20th century such as Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Noel Coward and George and Ira Gershwin.
He also championed African-American composers of the same period such as Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Andy Razaf, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, presenting their work not in a polemical way, but as simply the obvious equal of that of their white contemporaries.
His dedication to his great love – what he called the “Great American Song” – left him equally adept at performing the witty lyrics of Bessie Smith’s “Gimme a Pigfoot” or Gershwin and Duke’s “I Can’t Get Started.”
Short always said his favorite songwriters were Ellington, Arlen and Kern, and he was instrumental in spearheading the construction of the Ellington Memorial in his beloved New York City.
6. Julian Edwin (Cannonball) Adderley, was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950s and 1960. Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single Mercy Mercy Mercy, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.
7. Jessye Norman, opera singer. Norman is a well-known contemporary opera singer and recitalist, and is one of the highest paid performers in classical music. A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the roles of Aida, Cassandre, Alceste, and Leonore..
8. Claude McKay, was a writer and poet. He was a figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote three novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), andBanana Bottom (1933). McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His book of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922) was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance.