Actress, producer, singer, and prolific songwriter Cynthia Erivo has built a worthy resume of celebrated and well-received roles portraying historic Black women. Her autobiographical portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet alone has earned the actress numerous accolades, including two Oscar nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, and four NAACP Image Award nominations. For her outstanding work in the Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple, Erivo became a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winner.
The critically-acclaimed actress will be honored during this year’s first-ever virtual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood ceremony airing on Essence.com and Essencestudios.com at 7 pm on April 22. In her honor, we’re highlighting these key moments in the petite powerhouse’s career.
Her Role as Celie in the Broadway Musical, The Color Purple
Her Role as Harriet Tubman
Erivo’s performance in the film was well-received by both critics and audiences who praised Erivo for her portrayal, with Rex Reed from the New York Observer, writing: “Cynthia Erivo’s valiant and committed performance is a wonderful achievement.” For her work, in addition to her nominations for the powerful song “Stand Up,” she was nominated for a Golden Globe, Academy Award, and two NAACP Image Awards.
Her Performance of “Stand Up” for the 2020 Oscars
Her Role as Aretha Franklin in Genius
Erivo landed the lead role playing the soul singer in the National Geographic series after singing a portion of Franklin’s hit “Ain’t No Way” during an interview on the red carpet at the 2019 Tony Awards. Erivo’s vocal talents are on full display in the four-part installment centered around the Queen of Soul.
Her Performance of “Imagine”
Her Role as Holly Gibney in HBO’s The Outsider
Erivo shined as Holly Gibney in the HBO thriller series, gaining praise from both critics and audiences alike. In The Outsider, her character is a private investigator who relies on her unusual abilities to help solve a mysterious case. For her work, the actress was nominated for both Critics Choice Television and Critics Choice Super Awards.
Her Ability to Emulate Ella Fitzgerald & Sam Cooke
Her Role As Darlene Sweet in Bad Times at the El Royale
As the character is aptly named, Ervio was able to bring a sort of sweetness to her role as Darlene Sweet in the 2018 film, Bad Times at the El Royale. Although its opening weekend faced some serious competition, it was Erivo’s performance in the thriller that made her yet again a standout.
Her Renditions of Prince, Mary J. Blige & Brandy for Elle Magazine
Starring In The Thriller Podcast, Carrier