September 27, 2023

A New Era with Daphne Reid

By Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

Many people know Daphne Maxwell Reid as, Aunt Vivian from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a trendy a humorous sitcom from ‘back in the day’.

Today, Reid is still acting, but is also a respected artist, designer, and an education activist. Over the years, she has worked on numerous projects that she is very proud of.

During a recent interview with the fames actress she shared a few details with me regarding her latest project, the upcoming mini-series Jacqueline and Jilly. The series began airing December 6, on the Urban Movie Channel and will run with new episodes weekly through January 10th, 2019. The film by Victoria Rowell has done. She further declared, “This is the year of the Woman!” “Women are just going to flourish from here on in. They are the source of our humanity, and I am glad they are getting the recognition they need and the opportunities to show how creative and driven they are,” she added.

In addition to the new film project, Reid had recently published a unique mini memoir in the form of a cookbook titled Grace + Soul & Mother Wit. She has been collecting recipes from the people she has worked with and family members for about 35 years.

She expressed, “I just started with what made my family a family, and how a lot of what we treasured was centered around the table.” Since she wasn’t ready to write a full memoir, she decided to create something different and unique, which was to tell stories alongside every recipe is mentioned in the cookbook. There are also pictures, letters, and “the remembrance of people who have embraced [her] along [her] path.” Reid also described her book as a nice training cookbook because “it teaches you a lot of the basics such as getting your kitchen set up, how to set a table, and lots of things you need to know if you want to start cooking.”

Reid is also a photographer as she takes pictures of doors from all over the world. She has published different books with her photos. One of her books is all about Cuba, another one is about different places in Europe, three cities in France, and two in Belgium. She enjoys taking photos of doors because “Doors have come to be a metaphor for life,” she expressed. She further stated, “I found that they represent so many stages in one’s life such as opportunity, curiosity, and adventure. It all happens to deal with doors. As one travels through the journey of life, it is important to pay attention to the details by seeing the doors as I see them showing you the colors and craftmanship from different cultures of the world.”

In addition to her published books, she also has calendars that features some of the doors she has captured.

Being a seamstress is another talent that Reid has as she has created many of her own outfits and costumes over the years. When Reid isn’t acting, writing, or taking photos, she is using her seamstress skills and is working on her clothing line, Daphne Style, which consists of Chinese silk brocade jackets. They are custom made items that can be worn as a topper with an elegant dress or pants outfit, and just as easily with casual jeans or leggings.”

hen Reid isn’t working on her projects, she is also a spokesperson for Virginia State University, which is a historically Black college/university. She is able to participate in outreach, public relations and speaking engagements that gives her the opportunity to work with students of color to place emphasis on the importance of education, and for career prep.

Daphne Maxwell Reid continues to inspire, motivate, encourage and educate people through her various projects, and has a big passion for creativity. If you are interested in purchasing any of her books, calendars, or something from her beautiful clothing line, you can purchase these items on her website at


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