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  • Wanda Sykes

    Wanda Sykes Inspiring Woman

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    Wanda Sykes Sweetrocks Inspiring Woman

    Wanda Sykes is an American actress, comedian, and writer. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is also known for her roles on CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006–10), HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm (2001–11), and ABC’s Black-ish (2015–present).

    Aside from her television appearances, Sykes has also had a career in film, appearing in Monster-in-Law (2005), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), Evan Almighty (2007) and License to Wed (2007), as well as voicing characters in animated films such as Over the Hedge (2006), Barnyard (2006), Brother Bear 2 (2006), Rio (2011), Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), Ice Age: Collision Course (2016), and the animated film UglyDolls (2019).

    Sykes attended Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, and went on to graduate from Hampton University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. After college, her first job was as a contracting specialist at the National Security Agency, where she worked for five years.

    Not completely satisfied with her role with the National Security Agency (NSA), Sykes began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC, where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience in 1987.

    She continued to hone her talents at local venues while at the NSA until 1992, when she moved to New York City. One of her early TV appearances was Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam in the early 1990s.  Working for the Hal Leonard publishing house, she edited a book entitled Polyrhythms – The Musician’s Guide, by Peter Magadini. Her first big break came when opening for Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club.

    Sykes publicly expressed being devastated when California voters passed state Proposition 8. She said: “with the legislation that they passed, I can’t sit by and just watch. I just can’t do it.”She has continued to be active in same-sex marriage issues hosting events and emceeing fundraisers. She has also worked with PETA on promoting dog anti-chaining legislation in her home state.

    She has been an outspoken supporter of Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center after the organization’s staff sent Sykes a letter asking her to visit during her 2010 tour’s stop in Detroit.

    Sykes has been nominated for ten Primetime Emmys, with one win (in 1999) for “Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special”. In 2001, she won the American Comedy Award for “Outstanding Female Stand Up Comic”. She won a Comedy Central Commie Award for “Funniest TV Actress in 2003”. In 2010 she won the GLAAD Stephen F. Kolzak Award. In 2015 she won the Activism in the Arts honor at the Triumph Awards.

    During a September 19, 2011, appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Sykes announced that she had been diagnosed earlier in the year with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Although DCIS is a non-invasive “stage zero breast cancer”, Sykes had elected to have a bilateral mastectomy in order to lower her chances of getting breast cancer.

    Thank you Wanda Sykes (#WandaSykes) for being an Inspiring Woman!

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