Black History Month Celebration: 1981

February is a month of celebration in the pop culture community — between the Grammy and the Academy Awards, the best in the music and cinema fields will be recognized in the next month. However, between the awards buzz for those two big nights, we want to make sure not to overshadow February’s significance: Black History Month. So to follow the month’s trend of celebration, we plan to spend all of February going through the most important African-American pop culture personalities of the last 29 years. We continue today with 1981.

Known for his colorful language and fast-paced lifestyle, Richard Pryor has forever left his mark on America’s comedy scene.  And in 1981 Pryor won a Grammy for his comedy album “Rev. Du Rite.”

But in remembering Pryor’s legacy, it is important to not only look at his comedy resume, which includes multiple Emmy nominations and a number of lifetime achievement awards, but also at his upbringings.

Pryor was born in Peoria, IL, in 1940.  He was the son of a prosititute and his mother abandoned him when he was 10-years-old.  From then on, he was primarily raised by his grandmother in her brothel.  Pryor went on to find work as a truck driver, meat packer, and even joined the US Army before starting his comedy career.  For more on his life, click here.  

Pryor passed away on December 10, 2005.


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