Patina Miller, Cicely Tyson and Billy Porter at 2013 Tony Awards Patina Miller, Cicely Tyson and Billy Porter at 2013 Tony Awards

6 Black Broadway Actresses You Should Know

Last week, black star power unexpectedly filled the room at the 2013 Tony Awards. With Neil Patrick Harris as MC and all of Broadway's brightest stars in one room, the annual celebration of theater would both celebrate and create history. The legendary Cicely Tyson received a standing ovation while accepting her first Tony in decades, proving that age ain't nothing but a number when it comes to true talent. Courtney B. Vance (Lucky Guy) , Patina Miller (Pippin) and Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) dominated in the acting categories, further solidifying that the Broadway stage can be colorblind.

Get familiar with 6 of our favorite Broadway actresses below.

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America

Condola Rashad

Condola Rashad

She may be the daughter of TV royalty Phylicia Rashad, but Condola is devoted to the Great White Way. In addition to starring in A Trip to Bountiful, she's slated to appear in an updated stage version of Romeo and Juliet alongside Orlando Bloom.

Photo Credit: J. Countess/WireImage.com

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald

A woman of many talents, this TV (Private Practice) and film (Wit) chanteuse is also a stage veteran. She's earned a record breaking five Tony's, one for her leading role in the 2012 revival of Porgy and Bess. Her singing voice is regarded as one of the best in the industry. Watch her close this year's Tony's (below) with Neil Patrick Harris if you don't believe us.

 

Photo Credit: Sarah Crulwich/The New York Times

Patina Miller

Patina Miller

Originally a soap opera actress, Miller made the leap to Broadway as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act. Last week, she earned a Best Actress Tony for her portrayal of "Leading Player" in Pippin, a role originated by the legendary Ben Vereen.

Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch

Valisia LeKae

Valisia LeKae

She's been in multiple shows (Book of Mormon, Ragtime), but 2013 proved to be her breakout year with Motown The Musical. She garnered multiple award nominations for her spot on portrayal of Diana Ross in the Barry Gordy-produced musical.

Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Montego Glover in "Memphis"

Montego Glover

We were introduced to this Vixen by way of Memphis. As the musical's lead actress, she sashays and "sangs" her way into everyone's heart. She continues to portray Felicia to this day, proving that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Photo Credit: Zimbio

Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Da’Vine Joy Randolph

A newbie to the theater world, Randolph originally auditioned for an understudy role in Ghost: The Musical and was instead cast in the principal role of Oda Mae Brown. Last year, she was nominated for a "Best Featured Actress in a Musical" Tony.

Photo Credit: Broadway.com

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Singer Whitney Houston is seen performing on stage during the 2004 World Music Awards at the Thomas and Mack Center on September 15, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Whitney Houston's Close Friend Robyn Crawford Details Romantic Relationship In New Memoir

Whitney Houston's personal life has been explored ten times over since her untimely passing in 2012 but one of her closest friends wants to share with the world the Whitney she knew and ultimately fell in love with.

In excerpts to People Wednesday (Nov. 6), Robyn Crawford presents a strong bond between the two in her new memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston. The singer and Crawford met in their youth while working at a summer camp in East Orange, New Jersey. From there, their friendship blossomed into something more romantic. With homophobia running rampant in the 80s, Crawford says they never looked at labels but enjoyed the experiences they shared together.

“We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay,” writes Crawford. “We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever.”

As their journey continued, Whitney's star began to rise which put allegedly put their romance on ice. “She said we shouldn’t be physical anymore,” writes Crawford. "Because it would make our journey even more difficult. She said if people find out about us, they would use this against us....and back in the ’80s, that’s how it felt. I kept it safe. I found comfort in my silence.”

Whitney's relationship with Crawford was mentioned in the 2018 documentary Whitney. Created by the singer's estate, the film focused on the singer's legacy and didn't include first-hand accounts from Crawford. Family members were weary of their special friendship.

"I’ve never seen them do anything but I know that she was something that I didn’t want my sister to be involved with," Whitney's brother Gary stated in the documentary.

But Crawford is finally ready to tell her own story while "lifting" Houston's legacy.

“I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship,” she tells People. "I'd come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent."

A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston is expected to hit bookshelves this fall.

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Keke Wyatt Announces That She's Pregnant With Her Tenth Child

Keke Wyatt has news to share that concerns expanding her family tree. On Monday (Oct. 14), the "If Only You Knew" singer revealed that she's pregnant with her tenth child.

"My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy!" she wrote on Instagram. "We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family."

The vocalist continued to state that fans can follow her pregnancy journey on her YouTube series The Keke Show where she gives an intimate look at how she balances her career and motherhood.

 

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My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy! We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family. Stay tuned for the release date & information for my new YouTube Series “The Keke Show” where you will see me balancing Wife, Mommy and Artist!!! Trust me.. it’s never a dull moment with my family. Love ya sugars💋💋💋 photo credit: @keever_west Styled/Designed by: @keever_west Asst: @freddyoart

A post shared by Keke Wyatt (@keke_wyatt) on Oct 14, 2019 at 4:43pm PDT

In an interview with The Christian Post, Wyatt said she believes she has "an anointing with motherhood" and looks at her children as fuel to keep striving in her career.

"I just don't believe in shutting down. I believe in that's what the Lord had for me," she said. "Babies don't get in the way of careers, we get in the way of careers. If that's what the Lord had for me from the very beginning, there's nothing nobody can do and nobody can say."

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Summer Walker's Debut Album Inspires Drake To Write New Music

Summer Walker's debut album Over It has everyone's heart aflutter, including Drake.

Off the heels of her debut project, the Atlanta songstress shared Drake's admiration for her project Sunday (Oct. 6) which included collaborations from Jhene Aiko, Usher. 6LACK and Bryson Tiller. Drake had a strong reaction to "Fun Girl," a track that speaks to the acoustic aura of her precious project, CLEAR.

Sharing his love with more than a few emojis, the rapper reveals the song inspired him to pen two new songs at the crack of dawn.

 

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So I guess fun girl is his favorite song on the album, mines isss... BODY🥰 what’s yours ?

A post shared by Summer Walker (@summerwalker) on Oct 6, 2019 at 3:02pm PDT

Summer and Drake worked together for the remix to her breakout hit, "Girls Need Love." In Billboard's  “You Should Know” series, the singer says the two met via Instagram after he gushed about her visuals to the original track. "He said, 'I saw your video on a bowling alley monitor. Thought it was cool,'" she recalled. She added it was Love Renaissance's Justice Baiden who talked her into asking Drake for the remix. The singer is signed to the label along with Grammy-nominated singer 6LACK.

Things have been looking great for the singer. Her album has topped Spotify and YouTube since it's release Friday and is expected to make a nice debut on Billboard's 200 charts.

Get to know the men behind Love Renaissance in our feature, LVRN's Reebok Collaboration Showcases Atlanta's Influence In Fashion.

 

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