Tonya Lewis Lee will surely be at the NBA Celebrity All-Star game, with husband Spike coaching one of the teams. The couple have been married since 1993, but she’s more than the wife of a Knicks super-fan.
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. Lee Produced a Documentary on Brown v. Board of Education
In 2004, Lee produced a documentary called I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. The film won Beacon and Parents’ Choice awards, according to The History Makers.
Lee is also the producer behind the movie The Watsons Go to Birmingham, which she also wrote, and That’s What I’m Talking About, a talk show hosted by Wayne Brady, according to her IMDb profile. She also produced the TV mini-series Miracle’s Boys and had an acting role in Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control, and was featured in the 30 for 30 episode, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks”.
2. Lee Works on a Show That Follows Female Entrepreneurs
Lee is a mentor and judge on the show Queen Bee, which follows female entrepreneurs as “they pitch, develop, manufacture and market their products in an attempt to create America’s next big consumer brand,” according to Huffington Post.
Lee says her experience helps her role on the show.
I have had an entrepreneurial spirit for a long time. I’ve been able to make some things happen and others I’ve toiled away on for years without bringing them to fruition. Thus the life of an entrepreneur. As a writer, producer and head of my own start up I know first hand the risks, the ups and downs of building your own business. I’ve had to learn how to weed through good advice and bad. And I’m still learning. I watch the three young women who are our contestants and know what it is like to pitch one’s vision to someone and have them reject it and to have them accept it. Sometimes rejection is the best lesson, but nothing feels as good as getting others on board with your vision.
3. Lee is an Advocate for Gender and Race Equality
Lee uses her work to get her message about gender and race equality out — from the messages in the things she does to the publicity she gains from her work.
In an interview with the Grio, she said it’s important for women to work and be rewarded for it.
I really believe in “God bless the child that has its own,” no matter what circumstance you’re in. I think that it’s really important that we live out our destinies and that we make the best situation for ourselves. I think it’s important for women to work. I think it’s important for women to work to make money. It’s really critical that we have something for ourselves beyond our mates, beyond our children, beyond our home. I do think it’s a double-edged sword for me a little bit. I have gotten to the point that I really don’t think about what anybody else really thinks, I just do.
4. Lee Runs a Blog that Supports the Health of African-American Women
Lee is the founder of the blog Healthy You Now, which is designed to help African-American women stay on top of their health. Readers can register to be sent samples of the products and are given tips through the blog.
She started the blog after she was asked to serve as the spokeswoman for the A Healthy Baby Begins With You initiative, which brings attention to the infant mortality rate in the United States, according to the blog’s About section.
5. Tonya Met Spike After She Graduated Law School
Tonya attended the University of Virginia School of Law after completing her undergrad at Sarah Lawrence College according to The History Makers.
After college, she worked for a law firm in Washington, D.C., working with corporate and First Amendment issues.
In 1992, while attending the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend in D.C., Tonya met Spike. They were married a year later in a private ceremony in New York.
Together, the couple have two kids, daughter Satchel and son Jackson. Satchel is in college and Jackson is a high school senior.