Harlem native Sade Lythcott is the Chief Executive Officer of the historic National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation’s first revenue generating Black Arts complex and one of the longest run theaters by a woman of color. Sade is the daughter of the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of NBT and legendary champion of African-American arts and culture. Sade’s leadership over the past decade builds on the theatre’s 50-year legacy as a cultural destination wholly committed to telling authentic stories of the Black experience. Sade has led the organization to a position of fiscal stability, established a programmatic reach across the nation and abroad (including the launch of the National Black Theatre in Sweden), and bolstered the resources provided to Black artists as they hone their voice. (Recent productions include Dominque Morisseau’s Edward Kennedy Prize-winning play Detroit ’67 and Liza Jessie Peterson’s national tour of the Art for Justice Fund-awarded play The Peculiar Patriot that addresses the scourge of mass incarceration.)
Sade also serves as the Chairperson of The Coalition of Theaters of Color, an alliance of 52 theaters across New York City; founded by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in 2004 to combat the systemic inequities in the field. As Chairperson, Sade has championed the under-recognized, but vital cultural work accomplished by a broad cross-section of the city’s BIPOC-led theater organizations. Collectively, this coalition has nurtured the talents of some of our most celebrated diverse artists and continues to provide vital programming to some of our most under-served communities, while preserving unique theatrical and performance traditions.
As a leader and staunch advocate for the cultural sector, Lythcott proudly serves on the national board of advisors for Art in a Changing America, HueArts NYC and has served New York State on Governor’s Task Force to reopen live performance statewide after its shuttering in 2020. She is Co-Lead for the NYC Mayor-Elect’s Transition Team on Parks, Art & Culture. Lythcott also co-leads Culture @ 3, an unprecedented space that gathers more than 700 non profit cultural leaders from across NYC in regular dialogue with city government leaders to advocate for the arts as a critical component of NYC’s pandemic recovery efforts and long-term economic vitality.
As an activist, Sade’s work has been written about in national publications including the New York Times, American Theater Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and Essence magazine. Sade enjoys guest lecturing at colleges and universities across including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and NYU.
Sade is also accomplished as a writer and artist in her own right, drawing inspiration from her experiences as a life-long New Yorker. She wrote and produced the highly acclaimed musical A Time To Love, garnering three AUDELCO nominations and is currently in development in partnership with the Apollo Theatre.
She has performed with several Off- Broadway theater companies, including productions at the New Federal Theatre (under the direction of Woodie and performing alongside Chadwick Boseman). Prior to joining the world of theater Sade enjoyed a successful career as a television producer – associate producing MTV’s flagship show Total Request Live (TRL), alongside work as a fashion journalist, designer and personal brand manager/stylist with clients including Lenny Kravitz, Zoe Kravitz, Beyonce Knowles, Solange Knowles, Katie Holmes, Jamie Fox and Mos Def.
A graduate of New York University with a degree in art history, Sade is a NY Ambassador, as seen in Vogue Magazine and Piloting the Black Experience on NYC & Co. Sade is the recipient of numerous awards including the Key to Harlem for excellence in the Arts, the Networks Journal’s top 40 under 40 award, the Legacy Award from Black Theatre Network and the Cultural Icon award by Harlem Fashion Week.
She serves on the board of advisors for the Black Genius Foundation.