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HBCU Actress & Educator, Dr. Tommie "Tonea" Stewart (1443 hits)

Down South in Montgomery, AL. there is a voice and personality as big as all of the state itself. That voice and personality belongs to Dr. Tommie "Tonea" Stewart who is Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University, and the endearing actress you no doubt have seen at some point over the years in film or on television series.

This “journeyman” actress has been professionally acting since the late 60’s and has had memorable performances in such films as, ‘Mississippi Burning’, ‘A Time To Kill’, ‘The Rosa Parks Story’, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers III’, and on television series, ‘In The Heat of the Night’, where she had a recurring role as Miss Etta Kibbee, ‘Walker: Texas Ranger’, ’Matlock’, and many more.

It is her portrayal of Southern women, battered by time and circumstances from the harshness of the South, the by-products of slavery, but with the strength and pride of the African ancestors who walked proud and free in their native homeland that Tonea projects in her acting roles. Much in the way Sidney Poitier projected a sense of dignity and pride exuding royalty from an ancestry of Kings and Queens that made him such a memorable star on the big screen.

Dr. Stewart was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her role in the film adaptation of John Grisham's ‘A Time to Kill’ and won the New York World Festival Gold Medal Award for the narration of Public Radio International's series 'Remembering Slavery'.

After receiving her B.S. degree in Speech and Theater from Jackson State University and an M.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Dr. Stewart completed her doctorates in Theater Arts at Florida State University (FSU), in 1989.

She was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU school of Theater and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theater Arts.

Dr. Stewart has received numerous awards over the years and has gained the respect in academia circles as a tenured professor and educator with a passion to pass along to the next generations the grace and pride found in performing arts as exhibited every Summer with her "Tonea" Stewart Performing Arts Camps.

Young people from Alabama, and around the country, come to Alabama State University to participate in the camps which are designed to enrich, uplift, and empower their lives.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Stewart about her career and achievements and was impressed that like most people with a true passion for what they do, there is no talk of slowing down. She had just completed her 26th year of her Summer Camp, and has several movie projects due out in 2017, including the Queen Latifah / Jada Pinkett Smith movie, ‘Girls Trip’ due out in July, 2017.

To see more of my HubPages feature on Dr. Stewart, please log on at: https://hubpages.com/entertainment/Dr-Tommie-Tonea-Stewart-Actress-Educator

And for more on Dr. Stewart, please visit: http://www.toneastewart.com/
Posted By: Robert Walker
Friday, July 7th 2017 at 11:08AM
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