Performer, writer, producer, director and educator T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh(Ta-KEE-ah KRIStle Kee-MAH) is enjoying her eclectic life and newest projects, The Cool Crystal Show, Cycle of Love and Black. Best known for her starring roles on the television shows In Living Color, Cosby, and That’s So Raven, T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh has been performing since childhood.She studied theater, dance, voice, and pantomime in high school, then gave up a business scholarship to complete her studies at Florida A&M University with a degree in Theatre, co-oping at Florida State University to graduate, with honors, on time. After college, the Chicago native worked as a singer, dancer, actress, and model. To make ends meet, she served as a substitute teacher. It was a challenging job that she loved and that inspired some of her stage work. She won the titles of Miss Black Illinois and 1st Runner-up to Miss Black America, then moved to Los Angeles after wowing casting directors with her original performance piece, “In Black World...” in an open call for a pilot on a young television network.
That pilot turned out to be Fox's groundbreaking, internationally successful, Emmy and TV Land Award winning sketch comedy show, In Living Color. The only female actress to star in all five seasons, Keymáh delivered hilarious, spot on impressions like those of Whoopi Goldberg and 'Edith Bunker,' created a slew of iconic characters like Hilda Headley (Hey Man), and Shawanda Harvey (Go On Girl), and brought her own characters such as Cryssy (In Black World) and LaShawn to the show. On the heels of In Living Color, she went on to guest star on several live action and animated shows, and to star in six other series, playing: sexy contractor Scotti Decker on ABC's On Our Own; laid back television writer Denise Everett on Fox's The Show; a dozen lead and guest character voices on Damon Wayans's animated series Waynehead; flight attendant turned lawyer, turn pastry chef turned teacher Erica Lucas, on CBS’s Cosby; firm, fun, caring mom Tanya Baxter, on Disney’s That’s So Raven and secretary and chief gatekeeper of late night television icon Johnny Carson in her seventh series, There’s… Johnny.
Wearing her hair naturally on television since In Living Color, when doing so was rare; Keymáh inspired a generation of women to follow her lead. She is delighted that women and men worldwide appreciate her coffee table book, Natural Woman / Natural Hair, and look to her as a natural hair icon.
While working in television, Keymáh has also remained active on the live stage, and in several films. Some of those projects she also produced, including her NAACP Theatre Award winning stage show Some of My Best Friends; A Collection of Characters, which she also wrote, and the WorldFest Houston Silver Award winning independent film, One Last Time. She directed many of her own shows, as well as other stage projects, and helmed a special episode of That's So Raven.
Keymáh's life changed completely when her grandmother began suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Throughout the run of That's So Raven, Keymáh was in charge of the care of the woman who raised her. At the end of her final season on the show, the actress decided to take a break from performing to focus on her grandmother and see her through her transition. “My very first shows were for my grandparents, performed in their living room,” Keymáh recalled. “My grandfather died when I was little. After grandmother passed away, it took a long time for me to get excited about performing for anyone else.” During the years that followed her grandmother’s passing, Keymáh shifted to family life, teaching and mentoring aspiring actors through her Tools of the Trade workshops and classes, and charitable and philanthropic endeavors.Keymáh was also Florida A&M University's first W.K. Kellogg Foundation Artist-in-Residence in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities’ Theatre program where she taught Acting for the Camera, conducted Tools of the Trade workshops, and directed Pearl Cleage’s The Nacirema Society. Her other directing projects include Gee’s Bend, at Gainesville, Florida’s Star Center Theatre, which closed just ahead of the start of the 2020 global pandemic. Keymáh served as executive producer of the star-studded musical feature film, Revival, which was re-released in 2020.In 2019, she reunited with filmmaker Booker T. Mattison for a cameo in his award-winning short film Ungubani, which is enjoying a celebrated run on the festival circuit. She also had a supporting role in For Prophet an independent Christian film, in which she plays Dr. Sharon Fisher, a woman determined to save the community center founded by her late husband.
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh is currently quite busy with her newest project, “The Cool Crystal Show,” an uplifting, solo, magazine-style variety show, written, directed, produced by and starring the versatile, veteran performer.The series debuted on Keymáh’s free, online entertainment platform, Keymáh Studios, www.Keymah.com, to rave viewer reviews. The artist is now working on the second season of the show, which will debut this fall. Keymáh recently released her third book, Cycle of Love: 28 Days of Organization, Rejuvenation & Meditation for Inspired Self Care, a self-help manual with healthy recipes, exercises and meditations. She is also excited about her mentee Flyy Moon's debut single, "Black," which pays tribute to Keymáh's iconic performance piece, "Black World." The song was released last fall on all digital platforms and also includes legendary poet Useni Eugene Perkins' poem, "Hey Black Child." Keymáh "had a ball" recording the classic opening lines of "Black World" for Flyy Moon's song which is already being played around the world.
Keymáh loves to travel and is looking forward to being able to put stamps on her passport again soon. The licensed minister prays daily for world peace and an end to society’s ills.In the meantime, she remains an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and recently served as one of the co-chairs of the sorority's National Arts & Letters Commission. www.TKeyah.com
Awards Romane A. Simon's Lucky Strike Film Festival Achievement Award - 2019 U.N.G. Radio Station Unsigned Artist Hangout Awards 3 - Legendary Icon Honorary Award - 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Recognition for Directing - The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First 100 Years – Florida A&M University (FAMU) Essential Theatre - 2017 Atlanta Black Theater Festival Favorite Performance in a Supporting Role Award – Frat House – 2013 Naming of The T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Rehearsal Room at St. Sabina Academy - 2013 FAMU President’s Award (Dr. Larry Robinson) - 2012 Induction into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation (Entertainment) - 2012 Florida A&M University (FAMU) Doctor of Humane Letters - 2011 Induction into the FAMU College of Arts and Sciences Thomas DeSaille Tucker Hall’s Gallery of Distinction Induction into The Chicago History Makers - 2005 Induction into The HistoryMakers® - 2004 The Bean Soup Comedy Richard Pryor Truth Award Nomination - 2005 FAMU President’s Award (Dr. Frederick S. Humphries) - 2001 National Black Theatre Festival Special Award - 1999 RPI Vision Award and NAACP Image Award Nomination – Cosby – 1999 AUDELCO Award Best Solo Performance Nomination – Some of My Best Friends – 1998 FAMU Meritorious Award - 1997 NAACP Theater Award Best Performance, Actress Nomination – Five Heartbeats Live! – 1995 NAACP Theater Best Actress Award – Some of My Best Friends – 1993 NAACP Theater Best Play Award – Some of My Best Friends – 1993 NAACP Theater Award Best Writing Nomination – Some of My Best Friends – 1993 Temecula Valley International Film Festival, 3rd Place – Circle of Pain Cinequest San Jose Film Festival, Honorable Mention – Circle of Pain Worldfest Charleston Film Festival, Honorable Mention – Circle of Pain Hermosa Beach Film Festival, Honorable Mention – Circle of Pain Saguaro Film Festival II, Outstanding Achievement Award – One Last Time Houston Worldfest International Film Festival, Silver Star Award – One Last Time Induction into the FAMU Playmakers Guild - 1990 NAACP Image Award Nomination – In Living Color Soul Train Comedy Award Nomination – In Living Color 1st Runner-Up, Miss Black America, 1985 – 1986 Miss Black Illinois, 1985 – 1986 Ms. Black & Gold - Beta Nu Chapter, Florida, South Region, and National (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.) – 1984
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