Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Illustrious career in America Entertainment Industry
Dawnn Jewel Lewis is Guyanese American. She was born on 13 August 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, USA to Guyanese parents, Carl and Joyce Lewis, who hailed from Berbice. She grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and sections of Brooklyn. Hers is an illustrious career in the American Entertainment Industry.
Just when you think you have read it all on this famed Guyanese daughter- by parentage- additional information keeps popping up. This column makes no claim to capturing the full extent of Dawnn’s body of work, because it cannot, but offers snippets into an enthralling journey that started as a toddler and at the relatively matured age of 60 seems to only be getting better.
At the age of four Dawnn began singing and at eleven she started acting. She has since built an outstanding career in the industry winning several awards, including the coveted Grammy Award. In 2015 she was bestowed the Caribbean Heritage Award.
Dawnn has written, co-written and appeared in several films, television series and musicals, rubbing shoulders with Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Danny Glover in the 2006 musical film Dreamgirls, among others of equal or senior pedigree during her career. Dawn has also done numerous voices in film and television series.
She played Jaleesa Vinson–Taylor on the NBC television sitcom A Different World from its inception in 1987 until the end of its fifth season in 1992. She also co-wrote with Bill Cosby and Stu Gardner and co-performed the song for the first season. In 2019, Dawnn returned to the famed Broadway, acting as Zelma Bullock, the mother of renowned singer Tina Turner, in the musical “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.”
She has co-starred in the Veronica Mars television series and starred in the “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?”, which is a Netflix series. From August last year (2020) she has been starring as the voice of Captain Carol Freeman in the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks.
This year she appeared in the film, The Good, the Bart, and the Loki, voicing as Ravonna Renslayer. From 2017 to this year, she is also doing various voices on the famed Simpsons television series.
Giving back to society
Apart from working in entertainment, Dawnn is also giving back to society through mentorship or what former First Lady Michelle Obama would often say, ‘looking back and giving others a helping hand up.’
She is the President and Founder of A New Day Foundation, a non-profit organisation, which was founded in 2017. According to the Foundation’s website, its mission is to provide financial and programmatic support toward the empowerment and education of underserved youth; provide capacity building pro bono services to assist small/grassroots nonprofits; and to provide general support services in underserved communities. Further, Dawnn has used her celebrity status and platform to mentor, lecture, give concerts and donate time and talents to causes on behalf of her Foundation.
The Foundation serves youth in America and abroad and organisations that have benefitted from its work are:- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Congressional Black Caucus Against HIV AIDS, American Heart Association., KIS Foundation For Sickle Cell Disease, The Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), SAG/AFTRA, among others.
In an interview with the Amsterdam News, Dawnn said through the Foundation young people are taught about personal and professional growth, in order to help them become financially astute, provide a safe space for mentoring and to have difficult conversations, while providing them with scholarships, computers, and tangible tools to pursue higher education opportunities.
Dawnn has served on the National Advisory Board of the National Center For Civil and Human Rights.
In 1982 Dawnn graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Music degree (cum laude), majoring in musical theatre and a minor in journalism. In 2019 she was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Next Dimension University in California for her decades of philanthropic work. (Source- internet)