Donna Hammond, Contributing Writer
In life, we meet people whose spirits are beautiful, selfless, and full of joy for life. Erica Faye Watson, a brilliant comedian, and entertainer was one of those people. She has been described as strong, grounded, generous, fearless, and funny. Erica Watson was fierceness personified.
On Saturday, February 27, Erica Watson passed away due to complications of Covid-19. At the time of her death, she was living in Jamaica.
A Multi-Talented Force
As a sought-after comedian, Erica’s humorous views on race, gender, and other stereotypes took audiences to a higher plane. Erica wore many hats, including blogger, actress, writer, influencer, mentor, collaborator, and producer. She not only believed in achieving her own dreams, she believed in the dreams of others. Erica never missed an opportunity to encourage and to speak life to projects.
Ms. Watson’s extensive acting talents opened the door to roles in various films, such as “BlacKorea,” “ChiRaq,” and “Precious. She also had roles in Lena Waithe’s “The Chi,” NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” and Lee Daniels’ “Empire.” Erica starred on stage in the Broadway in Chicago and Off-Broadway productions of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” She also starred in a one-woman show, “Fat B#tch!” nominated in 2010 for a Black Theater Alliance Award.
Erica Watson was a commentator for several Black Entertainment specials, including “The Evolution of Mary J. Blige” and “The Evolution of Jay-Z,” and she served as a politics and pop culture panelist on the BETJ talk show, “My Two Cents.” In addition, Erica was a play writer who wrote several plays, most recently, “The Waiting Room,” which was recently selected as a semi-finalist for Definition Theater in Chicago. She had a gift of entertaining and educating audiences of all ages with her quick wit and influence.
Tributes to a Star
Erica Watson was a frequent guest on ABC7’s “Windy City Live.” Recently, WCL hosts, Val Warner, and Ryan Chiaverini hosted a special tribute to Erica. During the tribute, Val Warner, a close friend of Erica’s, noted that “Erica’s beauty and charm made you feel like you knew her a lifetime. She was a friend, confidant, and beautiful person with so much life left to live.” In his tribute to Erica, Ryan Chiaverini recalled her encouraging him to audition for parts. Erica’s brother, Eric, remembered his big sister as his best friend; her death has left a void for everyone.
“Erica’s passing comes at the bridge of two pivotal moments: the end of Black History Month and the beginning of Women’s History month,” shared Patti Gill, of Gill Talent Agency. “It was an honor that God allowed our paths to cross. She played such a significant role in my life by playing the lead role of my grandmother in BlacKorea – all while living Herstory.”
Mary Datcher, who brought her in as a writer for Bronzeville Life, shared on her own Facebook page, “Erica was resourceful and had limitless relationships. I will miss her hilariously raw and real Facebook posts.” “Erica was an amazing energy and light to anyone she came in contact with,” said comedian, Correy Boyd-Bell. “She was selfless, which is one of the reasons why she was so successful. The hole she left in the entertainment community cannot be filled; she will be missed.” Comedian Damon Williams recalled that “Erica had a heart of gold and would offer her expertise to one and all. Her personality was vibrant and her wit was sharp. The world lost a million laughs. May God rest her soul as we keep her memory alive.”
Janie Thomas, a longtime friend, shared that “Erica lived her life on her terms and tried to live fearlessly. She had dreams in the process of being fulfilled. Erica was willing to take chances, and she did, with no regrets.”
Erica Watson had a zest for life and living and valued the success of others. She made a difference in the lives of so many with her encouraging words for those she knew, as well as strangers she came in contact with. Her legacy will live on through her works and the many lives she touched.
Funeral services are pending.
Donna Hammond is a contributing writer and seminarian. Follow her on Twitter: @DeeLois623 and on Facebook, DeeLoisSpeaks.