Denmark - Denmark Technical College is proud to announce the commencement speaker for 2020 will be Ms. JoMarie Payton, actress, singer, and philanthropist.
Payton was born in Albany, Georgia, moving with her family to Miami Gardens when she was three months old.
Payton's love for arts and education started at an early age, making her first stage appearance at the tender age of six. Since then, Payton has become an internationally acclaimed actress and an accomplished singer with a professional career that spans over forty years on stage, screen, and television.
Payton was one of the original members of the “Theatre of Afro Arts" in the early to mid-seventies. She also performed in numerous dinner and community theatres, including the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and the famous Coconut Grove Playhouse.
She is most noted for her portrayal of ”Harriette Winslow” the no-nonsense mother on the “Family Matters” TV show, which to date is still the longest-running all African American cast show, on a major television network in history.
She is also well known for her portrayal of the ever-popular character “Suga Mama” of Disney’s award-winning show the “Proud Family.” She was nominated eight consecutive times for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a children’s show by the NAACP Image Awards and N.A.M I.C. Association. She was nominated for four NAACP awards, four NAMIC Awards, recipient of the prestigious "Alice" award, to mention a few, for her outstanding achievements in acting.
Her education includes Miami Dade College, University of Miami, Albany State University, and was one of the first African Americans to receive film training through the historical Ivan Tors Studio. She also holds an honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities from Vincennes University.
Payton has an outstand record showing her commitment to education. Some of her achievements have been establishing and raising funds for Albany State University through the "Frankie Payton Scholarship Fund" named for her mother and sending hundreds of students to college on scholarships. She is also a National Black College Hall of Fame Member supporting education whenever she can.
Payton is a committed public servant, community leader and activist receiving numerous accolades from the US Senate, State, and House. She has traveled five continents, including Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, North America/Mexico and much of the Caribbean spreading charity and good will.
Ms. Payton carries many titles, mother, grandmother, wife, actress, singer, teacher, producer, philanthropist, and friend, but the one she cherishes most is student. She believes that a commitment to learning and growing keeps you youthful, excited, and hopeful about the future of this ever-changing, beautiful world. And her zest for life is reflected in her favorite saying, "To LOVE Life is to LIVE Life."
The Commencement will be held on May 1, at 1 p.m. in the William L. McDuffie Student Services Center, and the public is invited to attend.