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Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad’s Mom Vivian Turns 100

Celebrate a Milestone: A Step-by-Step Guide to Honoring the 100th Birthday of Phylicia Rashad & Debbie Allen's Mom

Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad’s Mom Vivian Turns 100

Vivian Ayers Allen, the mother of renowned actresses Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Vivian is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet, artist, playwright, scholar, and publisher. Her daughters, Phylicia and Debbie, are both successful in their respective fields. Phylicia Rashad, born on June 19, 1948, is an American actress best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the sitcom The Cosby Show, which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. She also played Ruth Lucas on Cosby and was dubbed “The Mother of the Black Community” at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.

Debbie Allen, on the other hand, is an accomplished actress, choreographer, director, and producer. She has been awarded 10 Image Awards for her work in various fields including directing, acting, choreographing, and producing for shows like Fame, A Different World, Motown 25th, The Academy Awards, The Debbie Allen Special, and Amistad.

Vivian’s influence on her daughters’ careers is evident. She taught them choral speech, tumbling, and gave them a real appreciation for art and literature as living things. She instilled in them the belief that they were children of the universe, with no boundaries to what they could achieve. This philosophy was put into practice when she moved her daughters to Mexico to avoid segregation in the United States.

Vivian’s own accomplishments are noteworthy. She was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1952 for her collection of poems, “Spice of Dawns,” and again in 1957 for her poem “Hawk.” She studied classical Greek and received honorary doctorates from Bennett College and Wilberforce University. Despite her age, Vivian continues to support her daughters, often accompanying them to premieres and award shows.


Overview of Phylicia Rashad & Debbie Allen’s Mother’s Life and Legacy

Born in the early 20th century, Vivian Ayers Allen lived through some of the most pivotal moments in history. As an African American woman, she faced numerous challenges but always emerged victorious, paving the way for future generations. A poet and American classicist, Vivian was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for her collection of poems “Spice of Dawns” in 1952. Her passion for literature and art has left a lasting impact on her daughters, Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, both of whom have made significant contributions to the entertainment industry.

Understanding the Importance of Milestones

The Significance of a 100th Birthday

A 100th birthday is more than just a personal achievement; it is a testament to a life well-lived. It signifies a century of experiences, wisdom, trials, and triumphs. As such, celebrating a 100th birthday is a unique opportunity to honor the person’s achievements and contributions, as well as to express gratitude for their presence in our lives.

Why We Celebrate Milestones

Milestones serve as markers in our life’s journey, reminding us of how far we’ve come and inspiring us to keep moving forward. They provide an opportunity to reflect on past achievements, set new goals, and express gratitude for the blessings we’ve received. Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding anniversary, or a professional achievement, celebrating milestones helps us acknowledge our growth and progress.

Planning a 100th Birthday Celebration: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Preparations

Establishing the Budget

Before you dive into planning, establish a budget for the event. Your budget will dictate many aspects of the celebration, including the venue, food, decorations, and entertainment. Make sure to include all potential costs in your budget, from invitations to thank you notes, to avoid any surprises later on.

Assembling the Guest List

The guest list for a 100th birthday party should include close family members, friends, and anyone else who holds a special place in the celebrant’s heart. If the person is well-known or has impacted many lives, like Vivian Ayers Allen, the guest list might extend to include colleagues, students, or fans.

Choosing the Venue

The venue should be a place that resonates with the celebrant’s personality and preferences. It could be their home, a favorite restaurant, a community center, or even an outdoor park. Ensure the venue is accessible for guests of all ages and has necessary facilities, especially if the celebrant or any guests have special needs.

Step 2: Invitations

Designing the Invitations

The invitation sets the tone for the event. It should reflect the celebrant’s personality and the theme of the party. Include essential details like date, time, venue, dress code (if any), and RSVP information. For a 100th birthday, consider adding a personal touch, like a photo collage of the celebrant through the years or a brief biography.

Sending out the Invitations

Send out the invitations well in advance to give guests enough time to plan their attendance. Depending on the celebrant’s preference and the formality of the event, you can send traditional paper invitations, e-invites, or even personally call each guest.

Step 3: Program Planning

Selecting the Theme

Choosing a theme can make the celebration more engaging and memorable. The theme could be based on the celebrant’s interests or achievements. For instance, considering Vivian Ayers Allen’s love for literature and art, a literary or art-themed party would be appropriate.

Deciding the Order of Events

Plan the sequence of events to ensure a smooth flow. You might start with a welcome speech, followed by a meal, a presentation honoring the celebrant, cake cutting, and finally, some entertainment or games. Leave room for impromptu speeches or performances by guests.

Incorporating Personal Touches

Add personal touches to make the celebration truly special. This could include a slideshow of pictures from the celebrant’s life, a reading of their favorite poem, or a performance of their favorite song. For Vivian Ayers Allen’s party, a recitation of her poems or a dance performance by Debbie Allen would be fitting.

Step 4: Day of the Celebration

Setting up the Venue

On the day of the event, ensure the venue is set up according to plan. Arrive early to oversee arrangements and make any last-minute adjustments. Check the seating, decorations, audio-visual equipment, and restroom facilities. Ensure there is adequate signage for parking and the event location.

Handling the Event Flow

As thehost, you’ll need to guide the event smoothly. Introduce the guests, announce the program, coordinate with caterers and entertainers, and ensure everyone is having a good time. It’s also important to check on the celebrant frequently to ensure they are comfortable.

Ensuring Guest Comfort

Make sure all guests feel welcomed and comfortable. Provide clear directions to the venue, offer a variety of food and drink options to cater to different dietary preferences, and ensure there are enough seating and restroom facilities. If there are elderly guests, provide assistance as needed.

Step 5: Post-Celebration

Thanking the Attendees

After the celebration, send out thank you notes to all attendees for their presence and any gifts they brought. Express your gratitude sincerely and personalize each note as much as possible.

Commemorating the Event

Document the event with photos and videos to create lasting memories. Consider compiling these into a photo album or a video montage that can be shared with the celebrant and guests as a memento of the special day. This will allow everyone to relive the joyous moments and reflect on the significance of the occasion.

Tips for Honoring the Legacy of Phylicia Rashad & Debbie Allen’s Mother

Incorporating Her Personal History into the Celebration

Vivian Ayers Allen has lived an extraordinary life, and it’s essential to acknowledge her personal history during the celebration. Share anecdotes, stories, and photographs that highlight her journey, struggles, and triumphs. This will not only honor her legacy but also inspire others who attend the celebration.

Highlighting Her Achievements and Contributions

Vivian’s accomplishments as a poet and activist deserve recognition. Incorporate her poems into the event, display her books or works of art, and create an atmosphere that reflects her creative spirit. Take a moment to acknowledge her impact on literature, art, and social activism during the celebration.

Involving Family in the Honoring Process

Family plays a crucial role in honoring a milestone like a 100th birthday. Involve family members in planning and organizing the celebration. Encourage them to share their own stories and memories of the celebrant, creating a sense of unity and love. Consider including a family tree or a multi-generational photo display to showcase the power of family bonds.


Celebrating a 100th birthday is a remarkable occasion that calls for a thoughtful and heartfelt celebration. By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating personal touches, you can create a memorable event that not only honors the life and legacy of the centenarian but also brings joy and inspiration to all those in attendance. Vivian Ayers Allen’s milestone birthday serves as a reminder of the power of resilience, creativity, and love. As we toast to her century of life, let us celebrate her achievements and cherish the lessons she has taught us. Happy 100th birthday, Ms.

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