This Day in Miss Black America History: T’KEYAH CRYSTAL KEYMÁH Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree


On May 25, 2011 T'keyah Crystal Kemah received he highest honor, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida A & M University. Miss Black America Illinois and was 1st runner-up in the national Miss Black America pageant contest in 1985. Performer, writer, producer, director, T’KEYAH CRYSTAL KEYMÁH is her name personified: a prism of energy and vision, known worldwide for her acclaimed work on TV’s In Living Color, Cosby, and That’s So Raven. Keymáh voiced Bumblebee on Teen Titans and Trixie’s mom on American Dragon. Stage credits include Love Letters (w/ David Alan Grier), her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Some of My Best Friends: A Collection of Characters, the Moscow production of John Henry Redwood’s drama, The Old Settler, Regina Taylor’s Crowns, August Wilson’s Piano Lesson and T’Keyah Live! …Mostly: A True Variety Show. Her film work includes Tales From the Hood, Jackie Brown and The Gilded Six Bit.

"I'm inspired every time I see a role I'd like to play, an actor turn in a well crafted performance, a story I'd like to tell, direct or produce."-T'Keyah Crystal Keymah, Miss Black America Illinois, 1985

Behind the camera, Keymáh produced the films One Last Time and Circle of Pain, directed an episode of That’s So Raven, produced and directed her own plays and produced Margaret Laurena Kemp’s, Creative Instructions. She co-wrote and directed Keisha Nickole’s show, S.I.S.T.E.R., and directed Amun Ra Theatre’s world premiere production of Route 66: Finding Nat King Cole, starring and written by jeff obafemi carr. Keymáh is currently working on the screenplay for an untitled project and has already enlisted her long-time friend Orbert Davis, founder of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to compose the soundtrack and original music for the film. She debuted her newest self-penned stage show, Don’t Get Me Started, at The Black Academy of Arts & Letters in Dallas on November 11, 2011.

Keymáh has performed on countless stages on three continents. The second edition of her book Natural Woman / Natural Hair will be released this summer. She is an active member of the Century City Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, (CCAC) and Chairman of the Board of Directors for CHARM Outreach and Mentoring Services. She also serves as an Artistic Associate for Stage Aurora Theatrical Company in Jacksonville, FL, and is a long time supporter of The NAACP’s ACT-SO program, and Entertainment Industries Council’s Prism Awards. She established The Keymáh Cultural Fund as well as scholarships at Florida A&M University and Meharry Medical College. The environmental and civic activist has been vegetarian for more than twenty years.She chaired the San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys Habitat for Humanity 2011 Women’s Empowerment Build, and served as Co-Chair the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Her numerous honors include: NAACP Theatre Awards, Vision Award, The HistoryMakers®, The Chicago African American History Makers®, and Who’s Who Among Black Americans. Named one of 100 Most Influential FAMUans of the Century, Keymáh has collected all three of her alma mater’s highest honors.

She received the Special President’s Meritorious Award from then President Dr. Frederick Humphries, and was enshrined in FAMU's College of Arts and Science’s Gallery of Distinction.  When she has time, Dr. Keymáh loves to travel.

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