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It has only been a mere 15 years since Phylicia Rashad made Tony Awards history. On June 6, 2004, she became the first Black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her role in A Raisin In The Sun.

Rashad, a native of Houston, Texas and a graduate of Howard University, began her career in the ‘70s and is best known as attorney Claire Huxtable from the hit NBC series, The Cosby Show alongside the beleaguered Bill Cosby. With a long career in both film and television, Rashad starring role as matriarch Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play A Raisin In The Sun gained her rave reviews.

In the 2004 Broadway revival of the classic play, Rashad’s win helped bring two Tony Awards to A Raisin In The Sun, with the other award going to Audra McDonald, who won for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Rashad reprised the role in a 2008 film, for which she won a NAACP Image Award.

Rashad continues to bring her elegance and grace to screens, appearing last year in Creed II and will be a series regular on the upcoming OWN series, David Makes Man.

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