T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Ta-Kee-ah Kristle Kee-Mah) wrote her first play in the third grade, her first song in the fourth and, outside of those in her grandparents’ living room, produced her first theatrical show open to the public while still in high school. A National Merit Scholar, she entered Florida A & M University on scholarship from their School of Business & Industry. A business leadership award, two dance companies, four pageant crowns and five plays later she graduated with
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Ta-Kee-ah Kristle Kee-Mah) wrote her first play in the third grade, her first song in the fourth and, outside of those in her grandparents’ living room, produced her first theatrical show open to the public while still in high school. A National Merit Scholar, she entered Florida A & M University on scholarship from their School of Business & Industry. A business leadership award, two dance companies, four pageant crowns and five plays later she graduated with honors from their Theater department taking some classes at Florida State University to finish on time. Back in her hometown Chicago, Keymáh served as an elementary substitute teacher, modeled and taught mime and aerobics. Two singing groups, two (more) dance companies, two (more) pageants, an improvisation company, a children’s theater company, two touring musical productions, five (more) plays and an opera later, she became one of the original cast members of the TV show, “In Living Color.”
During and since her five seasons on the Emmy award winning comedy, Keymáh appeared in dozens of other television, film and stage productions. Other television appearance include starring roles on Fox's “The Show,” NBC's “On Our Own,” Warner Brothers' “Waynehead,” for which she created more than a dozen lead and guest voices. She also voiced Bumblebee on “Teen Titans” and Trixie’s mom on “Jake Long: American Dragon.” Her stage credits include “Love Letters” (w/ David Alan Grier), her critically acclaimed award wining solo show, “Some of My Best Friends,” the Moscow production of John Henry Redwood’s drama, “The Old Settler,” Regina Taylor’s “Crowns,” August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” “T’Keyah Live! …Mostly: A True Variety Show,” and her newest solo piece, “Don't Get Me Started!” Her film work includes “Tales From the Hood,” “Jackie Brown,” ”What Happened Last Night?” “The Gilded Six Bits,” and 'Sharknado 4.' Though fans still remember her remarkable characters and impressions on “In Living Color,” she is equally recognized as Hilton (Bill Cosby) and Ruth Lucas (Phylicia Rashad)’s daughter Erica on Cosby and Raven Baxter (Raven~Symone)’s mom Tonya on That’s So Raven.
Behind the camera, Keymáh produced the films 'One Last Time' and 'Circle of Pain,' and the upcoming musical feature, “Revival.” She directed an episode of 'That’s So Raven,' produced and directed four of her own plays and produced Margaret Laurena Kemp’s, Creative Instructions. She co-wrote and directed Keisha Nickole’s show, S.I.S.T.E.R., and directed Amun Ra Theatre’s world premiere production of Route 66: Finding Nat King Cole, starring and written by jeff obafemi carr.
Keymáh is also the author of the coffee table book 'Natural Woman / Natural Hair,' an active member of the Century City Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a long time supporter of The NAACP’s ACT-SO program. She serves as an Artistic Associate for Stage Aurora Theatrical Company in Jacksonville, FL, as well as a Prism Awards review panelist for Entertainment Industries Council, and established The Keymáh Cultural Fund, as well as academic scholarships at Florida A&M University and Meharry Medical College.
Keymáh chaired the San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys Habitat for Humanity 2011 Women’s Empowerment Build, served as Co-Chair the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, and is a former member of the Board of Directors for Hale House in New York, and CHARM Outreach Ministries in Chicago. Her numerous honors include: NAACP Theatre Awards, a Vision Award, The HistoryMakers® (inductee), The Chicago African American History Makers® (inductee), National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame (inductee), and Who’s Who Among Black Americans. Named one of 100 Most Influential FAMUans of the Century, Keymáh has collected all three of her alma mater’s highest honors: the Special President’s Meritorious Award; the FAMU College of Arts and Science’s Gallery of Distinction; and a Doctorate of Humane Letters. The environmental and civic activist has been vegetarian for more than twenty years. When time permits, she enriches her life and global perspective through travel.
Dr. T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh has spoken at schools, churches, political rallies and other events throughout the country and beyond. She shares with audiences the insights she has gained through personal struggle and triumph.
Your words inspired our girls to commit to excellence and pursue their dreams!Teacher, Coretta Scott King Learning Academy, Atlanta GA
Your words were inspiring.University President, Florida A & M University
The students are still talking about your visit and what you said.Teacher, Santa Monica High School
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.