2018-2019 Lecture Series

THEIR STORIES
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Amanda Seales
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Amanda Seales is an American comedian, actress, disc jockey (DJ), recording artist and radio personality. Aside from her solo career, she was also a touring member of the musical group Floetry. She graduated from SUNY-Purchase, then acquired a master's degree in African-American studies with a concentration in Hip Hop from Columbia University.

Seales's first film was a minor role as Katy in the 1993 movie Cop and a Half. The next year, Seales was featured on the Nickelodeon sitcom My Brother and Me (1994) as Deonne Wilburn. In 2002 she appeared on Russell SimmonsDef Poetry Jam. Seales became publicly known as "VJ Amanda Diva" on MTV2 Sucker FreeCountdown on Sundays. In 2016, she appeared in a recurring role on the HBO series Insecure, as Tiffany DuBois. Also in 2016, Seales began hosting her own show on truTV called Greatest Ever. 

Attorney Angela Rye

Angela Rye is Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in the nation's capital. She is a CNN Political Commentator and NPR Political Analyst. She has been featured as an influential politico, lawyer, and advocate by several publications and outlets from Marie Claire to Ebony and the Washington Post, Rye has an unwavering commitment to ensuring positive change in the political process. Rye is a prominent strategist who has offered on-air commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, NBC, HBO, ABC, MSNBC and TV One. The depth of her dialogue ranges from political campaigns to more complex legislation and administration policies that have long-term implications nationally and internationally. She currently serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBCPAC), the Seattle University School of Law Alumni, Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, Inclusv, and Wilberforce University. She is a member of The Links, Incorporated, National Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Washington Government Relations Group.

 

Rye served as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress. In her role as Executive Director, Rye was tasked with developing the overall legislative and political strategy for the Caucus. Prior to working for the CBC, she served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson. Upon moving to the Nation’s Capital, Rye co-founded IMPACT, a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Rye learned the importance of advocacy through her family’s political and community activism. She is a proud graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law.

Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad is an American actress, singer and stage director. She is known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92), which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. She was dubbed "The Mother" of the black community at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.

 

In 2004, Rashad became the first black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, which she won for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Her other Broadway credits include Into the Woods (1988), Jelly's Last Jam (1993), Gem of the Ocean (2004), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2008). She won a NAACP Image Award when she reprised her A Raisin in the Sun role in the 2008 television adaptation. She has also appeared in the films For Colored Girls (2010), Good Deeds (2012), and Creed (2015).

Rashad first became known for her stage work with a string of Broadway credits, including Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (she was Sheryl Lee Ralph's understudy until leaving the show in 1982 after being passed over as Ralph's full-time replacement) and playing a Munchkin in The Wiz for three and a half years. In 1978, she released the album Josephine Superstar, a disco concept album telling the life story of Josephine Baker. The album was mainly written and produced by Jacques Morali and Rashad's second husband Victor Willis, original lead singer and lyricist of the Village People. She met Willis while they were both cast in The Wiz.

Rashad received a career boost when she joined the cast of the ABC soap opera One Life to Live to play publicist Courtney Wright in 1983. She is best known for the role of attorney Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. The show, which ran from 1984 to 1992, starred Bill Cosby as obstetrician Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, and focused on their life with their five children. In 1985, Rashad co-hosted the NBC telecast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with Pat Sajak and Bert Convy.

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