Perryman, a retired speech and drama at Southfield High School, was also a celebrated poet who authored of Mood Swings and Magic Carpet Rides, Moods for You, and Tender Ravings. She also was host of Table Talk with Brenda Perryman on Detroit's WHPR network, where she conducted interviews and discussions with local community leaders and artists.
“I am so saddened by the news of my dear friend Brenda Perryman passing away,” poet and activist jessica Care moore wrote on Facebook. “She was at my baby shower in Detroit & loved on me & my son when we moved back home. She had just asked me to do her tv show to promote my book. An educator, poet & true Detroit lover. We will miss you so much. This is unreal.”
Over the years, Perryman also established herself as an educational speaker on women's inspirational issues, domestic violence, diabetes, and using poetry as a means of catharsis. She was also the recipient of several “Spirit of Detroit” Awards and had been previously acknowledged by the local NAACP chapter as its most outstanding member.
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence also took to Twitter to express condolences.
“Your dedication to building up the community you served will never be forgotten.”
Audra Kubat, singer-songwriter and founder of the Detroit House of Music project, hailed her mentor for her nurturing spirit and credits Perryman for being the first to encourage her to “take the stage” in high school.
“She and I stayed in touch all these years. She would offer guidance when I needed it and she would listen when I had something to say,” Kubat wrote. “We shared a birthday — ‘my Gemini sister’ she would call me. I can’t believe you are gone. Too soon my friend — your laughter, love, and light shine still.”
I’m sure half of Detroit has a pic like this, and with good reason. Everyone had a seat at Brenda Perryman’s table, where she unabashedly lifted up our pursuits. We’ve lost another local champion. pic.twitter.com/zdFwHAQTwY— Aaron K. Foley (@aaronkfoley) April 6, 2020
Simply devastated to hear about the passing of longtime Southfield educator Brenda Perryman. She was a longtime friend of my mom and dad, a lovely person who loved her students and she had a wonderful Tina Turner impersonation! COVID is very real. Please take care of yourselves. pic.twitter.com/zHrR5Yh598— KelleyLCarter (@KelleyLCarter) April 6, 2020
RIP to a true force of nature. Drama teacher. Poet. Communicator. Someone who would tell it like it is with compassion and grace. Mentor. Leader. Class act. Take a bow. You showed us how it’s done. One of a kind. RIP Brenda Perryman. A victim of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/MJjDkgndd2— Robin Schwartz (@RobinSchwartzPR) April 6, 2020
Heartbroken that our Queen, TV Host, and community leader #BrendaPerryman has passed. She was an erudite educator, who poetically embodied brilliance and hope as big as her heart. Whether it was a text, phone call, or sage wisdom she never hesitated to share it with love. pic.twitter.com/CGDBRc2Dmk— Dr. Eddie Connor (@EddieConnorJr) April 6, 2020
Detroit lost another legend yesterday. Brenda Perryman was incredible poet and one of the most encouraging souls I’ve ever met. Rest in Power.— Solomon (@1anjohn) April 6, 2020
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Heartbroken💔 by the sudden passing of “Mrs. Perryman” ❤️as you were known by so many students, young people and mentorees. “Brenda Perryman” to family, friends, the education and artist community. This amazing light spirit 🌺would never allow any student to hold their head down for ANY reason, making sure to help lift it up high no matter what it took. Always a support for many, for me as I left home for the big lights in NYC at a very young age, and so nervous but ready to pursue my dreams. I embraced all the messages you sent through mom and the constant reminders that you were rooting for me which was always a great honor coming from an amazing accomplished artist and Queen such as yourself...You’ve inspired and saved lives and now your warmly in the arms of GOD.🕊 Sending pure LOVE to your family. I and so many others you have touched including my sisters promise to KEEP holding our heads up high no matter what... Rest in Freedom GEM 👑🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊
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