Performer, writer, producer and director T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Ta-Kee-ah Kristle Kee-Mah) is back on the Hollywood scene. Ten years after 'Tonya Baxter' mysteriously moved to London to study law, the actress who embodied the quirky character, loved by Disney fans worldwide, is acting steadily once again. A performer since childhood, Keymáh studied theater, dance, voice, and pantomime in high school, then turned down a business scholarship to complete her studies at Florida A&M University with a degree in Theatre, co-
Performer, writer, producer and director T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Ta-Kee-ah Kristle Kee-Mah) is back on the Hollywood scene. Ten years after 'Tonya Baxter' mysteriously moved to London to study law, the actress who embodied the quirky character, loved by Disney fans worldwide, is acting steadily once again. A performer since childhood, Keymáh studied theater, dance, voice, and pantomime in high school, then turned down a business scholarship to complete her studies at Florida A&M University with a degree in Theatre, co-oping at Florida State University to graduate, with honors, on time.
After college, the Chicago native worked as a singer, dancer and actress, and won the title of Miss Black Illinois before placing 1st runner-up in the Miss Black America pageant. She moved to Los Angeles after wowing casting directors with her original performance piece, “In Black World...” in an open call for a pilot on a young television network. That pilot turned out to be Fox's groundbreaking, internationally successful, Emmy and TV Land Award winning sketch comedy show In Living Color. The only female to star in all five seasons, Keymáh delivered hilarious, spot on impressions like those of Whoopi Goldberg and 'Edith Bunker,' created a slew of iconic characters like Hilda Headley (Hey Mon), and Shawanda Harvey (Go On Girl), and brought her own characters such as Cryssy (In Black World) and LaShawn to the show. On the heels of In Living Color, she went on to guest star on several live action and animated shows, and to star in five other series, playing: sexy contractor Scotti Decker on ABC's On Our Own; laid back television writer Denise Everett on Fox's The Show; a dozen lead and guest character voices on Damon Wayans's animated series Waynehead; flight attendant turned lawyer, turn pastry chef turned teacher Erica Lucas, on CBS’s Cosby; and firm, fun, caring mom Tanya Baxter, on Disney’s That’s So Raven.
Wearing her hair naturally on television since her days on In Living Color, when doing so was rare, Keymáh has inspired a generation of women to follow her lead. In her popular coffee table book, Natural Woman / Natural Hair, the author lovingly demonstrates how to style African American natural hair and shares her experiences wearing her hair naturally on television. She is delighted that so many young women all over the world look to her as a natural hair icon. “What really gets me though, are the single and weekend dads and interracial families that my book has helped, and the older women that credit me with their natural hair conversions,” Keymáh says.
After more than twenty years of constant work on stage, television and film, Keymáh's life changed direction completely when her grandmother became seriously ill. Throughout the run of That's So Raven, Keymáh was in charge of the care of the woman who raised her, who was then suffering from Alzheimer's disease. At the end of her final season on the show, the actress decided to take a break from performing to focus on her grandmother, and see her through her transition.
Not long ago, however, the multi-talented artist renewed her passion for her first love. Fans cheered her in a celebrity cameo with In Living Color co-star Tommy Davidson in SyFy’s Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens, and watched her as Beverly in Candice Cain’s college romantic comedy, What Happened Last Night? She is currently in production in a starring role on Paul Reiser's new comedy There’s... Johnny, a show set in the early 1970's and is a behind the scenes look of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. There's... Johnny will premiere on NBC's digital platform Seeso on August 24, 2017. On the show, Keymáh plays Roz, Johnny Carson's secretary and chief gatekeeper.
Your words inspired our girls to commit to excellence and pursue their dreams! The students are still talking about your visit and what you said.- Teacher, Santa Monica High School
Your words were inspiring.- University President, Florida A & M University
Creating Your Success
Raised by her grandparents from the age of two; a performer in a crowded house where “that mess” wasn’t tolerated, and the youngest and “least important person” in the house, T’Keyah developed determination, charm, and provable strategies for success at an early age. Throughout her life there continued to be many physical, social and emotional challenges which she overcame, usually, though not always, with style and grace. Her philosophy is that, “All people have hurdles; some just higher than others. Those with the highest hurdles can become the best jumpers.” In this talk, filled with personal and professional anecdotes, T’Keyah reveals the practical survival lessons and success strategies that she learned as a child, honed as an adult and expects to use for the rest of her life; leaving her audience empowered.