Critically-acclaimed actress Cicely Tyson took home one of the highest awards of the evening at this year’s EBONY Power 100 event. The Lifetime Acheivement Award was hand-delivered by award-winning actress Regina King, who had some choice words to say about how inspiring Tyson has been to her own career.

Known for her roles in A Trip to Bountiful, How to Get Away with Murder, and Roots, Tyson reflected back on the very beginning of her career, as she spoke of her first encounter with EBONY and JET founder John H. Johnson. She also noted the importance of needing someone to “show us who we are, what we are, and what we can be.”

She also recited Langston Hughes’ famous poem “Mother to Son” using the raspy voice of the title character from one of her most famous performances, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

As a pioneer of her generation in the entertainment industry, there is no doubt that Cicely Tyson has lived some of the best years of her life, and there are many more to come. Watch the full speech of her award acceptance in the video provided above.