James Harmon “Jimi” Lyons Jr., the son of Buffalo’s first full-time African American disc jockey, the legendary James Harmon “Jimi” Lyons, Sr. and Ruth Frink Lyons, made his transition on October 15 in San Antonio, Texas.
A talented visionary creator, producer and director, Jimi was 70 years young. He grew up on Northland Avenue in a home filled with music, laughter, lively family banter and most importantly, love.
His parents cultivated a nurturing environment for him and his three sisters, JoAnne, Gail and Gwen – that honored education and encouraged their development as visual and performing artists. However it was the purchase his parents made in the early 1960’s of an 8mm Bell & Howell camera, projector and screen that unleashed a passion in Jamie that grew and strengthened with each year of his life; opening a world of creativity that he explored and refined for decades. He began shooting, splicing and editing films before he was 14 years old.
During his Bennett High School days, his moniker changed from Jamie to Jimi. His future as a visionary creator, producer and director was cemented while attending Temple University in Philadelphia. James Harmon “Jimi” Lyons, Jr. Talented Visionary Creator, Producer and Director After Temple, Jimi launched his career at WPVI TV (ABC) in Philadelphia where he co-created, produced and directed an award-winning weekly documentary series “Visions” Whose guests included some of the biggest names in show business, politics and culture.
While at WPVI, he also spent 5 years traveling with the National Football League . Jimi left WPVI to become an independent producer/ director and to creatively tell stories about the intersectionality of race, culture, faith, sports, politics and humor.
His work appeared widely on national TV. He also co-hosted and co-produced the series “Buffalo Beat” at WKBW TV in his beloved hometown. In a career spanning more than 45 years, Jimi, a masterful oral and visual storyteller, worked on productions featuring such notables as President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, Paul Newman, Dizzy Gillespie, Legendary Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson and a host of others.
He was the recipient of many honors including the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award. Jimi had an indomitable spirit. He was not a glass half-full or a glass half-empty kind of guy. His glass was always overflowing! He leaves to cherish his beloved memory, his sisters JoAnne and Gail, his uncles, aunts, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews throughout the U.S.A. and in Mexico; his SGI family (Jimi was a devout, practicing Buddhist for more than four decades); his beloved partner, Gina, and many friends as he joins his parents, Sister Gwen and ancestors in another dimension. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
(Delivered by JoAnne Lyons Wooten during the Celebration of Jimi’s Life on October 24, 2020 in Texas)