Missouri Native Cedric ‘The Entertainer’ Invests In St. Louis, Shares His Thoughts On Ferguson
Cedric Antonio Kyles, better known as Cedric “The Entertainer,” spent several of his formative years in St. Louis.
He was born in Jefferson City and moved to Berkeley, in north St. Louis County, after junior high school.
Kyles got his start in comedy by working in clubs in the St. Louis area and his career took off when he appeared on “It's Showtime at the Apollo,” a show he would eventually host. He also performed on “Def Comedy Jam.” His first acting role was on “The Steve Harvey Show” as the lovable P.E. teacher and Harvey’s sidekick, Cedric.
Since then, he has appeared in numerous films, TV shows and was the 2013-2014 host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Tuesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” Kyles told host Don Marsh that he maintains strong connections to St. Louis, and still, “carries the St. Louis banner.” To sustain that connection, his foundation funds an annual scholarship that goes to qualifying high school seniors in the area. The foundation has given, “close to half a million in scholarships.”
Kyles has not shied away from talking with the media and community members about what happened in Ferguson.
When asked about his thoughts on the events there and the shooting of Michael Brown, he said it touched him on a personal level.
He said in the past it was understood that, “When you go through Ferguson you gotta watch your back. Anything can happen there." Kyles said that over 20 years later the, “feeling hasn't changed."
The entertainer expounded on his experience with segregation in St. Louis.
“St. Louis is a very polarizing city. It's been pretty segregated most my life. But we’ve been a city that has gotten along. It's kind of hard to see these injustices on any level where it feels like the people are now separated again along racial lines.” Kyles does hope for a resolution in the Michael Brown shooting that brings peace to the region.
“I do think it's important that as a community, as a city that we understand that this is about getting some answers and getting some healing, so we're not dealing with these issues every week.”
Advice For Young People
He had advice for young people wanting to affect change.
"I think the key thing is to not only be outraged, and have your emotions on a high level, you also have to really get involved with what can be done to change things,” Kyles said.
Knowing those in authority in your community is also important. “Get in relationships with people who can actually cause some change,” he said.
Making A Difference
Kyles is making his own attempt to affect change and positively influence women’s health.
On Oct. 25th the comedian will host an inaugural gala to benefit the new Rosetta Boyce Kyles Women’s Pavilion at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center. The clinic, named after Kyles’ mother, is intended to, “redefine women’s health.” It will provide varied medical services addressing, “diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease, osteoporosis, breast disease, cancer and dermatological conditions.” It will also offer services for sports medicine and cardiology.
The women’s pavilion will provide a central location for women to receive health care and health education. It is one of the first comprehensive health care facilities for women in the St. Louis area of its kind.
“The building will have my mother’s name, Rosetta Boyce Kyles on the building, in honor of her. She’s just really influenced me and my sister in such a positive way,” Kyles explained. He is happy to provide women in St. Louis with this kind of medical support, and said, “To be able to do that effectively, giving them proper health care and a place to go is an honor. This is what this gala is all about.”
St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.