I find it more and more difficult to take in the deaths of so many people who have been so important in my life. When MJ, my grandmother, died in 1981 I began to wonder and continue to wonder what does life mean once you've lost your major signposts? In any case, the longer I live, the more it seems as though everybody who really matters is gone but I remember laughing at the elders who I heard say such things when I was in my twenties.
Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, Founder and visionary of the National Black Theatre Inc, made her transition peacefully at home Monday, July 21, 2008. Dr. Teer was an icon in the healing art of Black Theatre. Leaving behind a lucrative show business career in 1967, she came to Harlem in 1968 and founded the National Black Theatre (NBT). This began a 40-year passion that changed the cultural landscape of the theatrical world. She created a new cultural art form by blending cultural appreciation, performing arts and community advocacy. In 1983, she expanded that vision with the purchase of a 64,000 sq ft building located at 125 Street & Fifth Avenue. There she created a thriving cultural and business complex housing the largest New Sacred Yoruba Art collection in the western hemisphere. Through a commitment to her vision and purpose, the National Black Theatre is a world-class institution that inspires cultural transformation, social change, human re-development, historic relevance, and futuristic innovation.
Throughout her life, she was always on the cutting edge as the world paced one step behind her trail blazing vision and provocative stage productions. As a former dancer, actress, producer, director, writer, cultural entrepreneur, and more recently officially an African Chieftain, she has won countless awards and received numerous Honorary Doctorate Degrees. However, what mattered most to her was spiritual, self-empowerment. She was known for providing a cultural incubator and training forum for artists in all walks of life. Her commitment through the National Black Theater was to offer an alternative learning environment where she attracted people from around the world whose work she impacted and showcased.
Dr. Barbara Ann Teer loved Harlem and took a stand for it against the odds. As much as she loved Harlem, she loved her birth home, East St. Louis, Illinois . Dr. Teer leaves in spirit and love two children: Sade and Michael Lythcott and a host of long-term staff, friends and family. Owens Funeral Home will host her transition in New York. She will be released in perpetuity when returned to her home town for her interment with her family who preceded her.In her own words: "The only thing you can take to the bank is love." Love is the currency, the vibratory frequency that Dr. Teer's spirit leaves for us to continue. She's given the world her legacy as a treasure chest of authentic, unprecedented achievements that will stand forever as a tribute to her vision and tireless work. Now and forever more, her legacy and love will live on to impact generations to come.
Contact: Pat Faison, National Black Theatre
For More information: www.nationalblacktheatre.org