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Top 30 Black Influencers



Actor, Director, Activist

Like Vice President Kamala Harris, Ms. PHYLICIA RASHAD is a graduate of Howard University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. An accomplished actor and stage director, Rashad is best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show (1984-1992). 

In 2004, she won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Lena Younger in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun.

The Houston, Texas native gives her mother, Vivian Ayers, credit for being the motivating force in her life.   Whether it was taking her and her siblings (two brothers and sister, Debbie Allen, the actress, choreographer and director) to Mexico, sharing books, or welcoming civil rights activists into their home, her mother, a Pulitzer Prize–nominated poet now in her nineties and living in Los Angeles, inspired them to keep pursuing the arts, despite experiencing racial discrimination.

Rashad and her sister are nominees for 2021 NAACP Image Awards – Phylicia for Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix) and Debbie Allen for the Social Justice Impact Award.


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