ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Lorenzo “Tee” Taylor, News 6′s first Black photojournalist, has been telling the stories of the people who make up Central Florida for 50 years and Tuesday, Orange County officials honored the Orlando TV icon for his decades of service.
In a proclamation, Mayor Jerry Demings declared Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, “Tee Taylor Day” in Orange County.
The honor comes as Taylor, a Florida native, celebrates his 50th anniversary of covering Central Florida and beyond. But as the station’s first Black photojournalist, Taylor’s journey was not always easy. As someone who grew up in segregation, he had to be brave. By doing so, he paved the way to make similar opportunities possible for people who look like him.
“Tee Taylor was hired at News 6 in 1970, becoming the first Black photojournalist at the station. And later recognized as a pioneer in the Orlando market, paving the way for countless reporters, producers and photographers,” the mayor’s official proclamation reads.
Taylor recently served as a panelist during our Black History Month town hall, “Real Talk: Obstacles and Opportunities,” where he sat alongside other Black pioneers in the Central Florida community. You can read more about his story here.
The proclamation goes on to list some of the most remarkable items on Taylor’s resume.
“Tee Taylor has covered 12 NFL Super Bowl Championships, the opening of the Tokyo Disney park and covered NBA games in 28 cities, met Walter Cronkite and covered numerous launches at the Kennedy Space Center,” the document reads. “Tee Taylor has traveled abroad to countless cities, the most memorable being to Senegal, Gorée Island, the home of The House of Slaves.”
Taylor is nearing retirement from News 6, so residents may not see him on the streets of Central Florida with a camera on his shoulder anymore, but the impact he’s made on the communities he’s covered throughout the decades will last for years to come.
For that reason, Demings decided to honor Taylor and his legacy with “Tee Taylor Day.”
“WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Orange County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners to honor Tee Taylor on his retirement from WKMG News 6 and thank him for more than 50 years’ service and dedication to the Central Florida community,” the proclamation reads. “NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jerry L. Demings, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Orange County Mayor, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, February 23, 2021 as TEE TAYLOR DAY.”
Taylor joined the mayor and Orange County commissioners virtually, thanking them for the honor.
“You want your flowers where you can see them. You want your flowers while you can hold them. Most of all, you want to smell your flowers,” he said. “So today, you’ve given me my flower and I humbly appreciate it. I will nurture this day, and I will make sure this flower never wilts.”
The mayor said the honor is rare, but emphasized that Taylor earned it.
“He certainly deserves it,” Demings said. “It’s not often that we actually do a proclamation and name a day after someone.”
Demings also highlighted the different Taylor has made during his many years of service.
“Not many people who were the first in their own right to do the types of things he was able to do, bridge gaps and bring all people together and did it for 50 years,” Demings said.
The mayor said Taylor helped Central Floridians get through some of their hardest days.
“Tee Taylor was always telling a joke sometimes in the most serious situations,” said Demings. “Just so we all could get through the miserable circumstances sometimes.”
Taylor thanked other Black pioneers and women for helping him along the way.
“Thank you all so very much. This is a humbling experience, something I never dreamed of. But I gladly accept it because those who came behind me made it possible for me for 50 years. So thank you all very much,” Taylor said.
News 6 general manager Jeff Hoffman also spoke at the ceremony, saying Taylor deserved to be honored.
“I think everybody in Orange County, and indeed Central Florida, has a Tee Taylor story, probably all of which are better than mine,” said Hoffman, sharing the reach Taylor has had in the area. “But I can tell you that whether you were a rookie reporter or a producer or a manager or a general manager, Taylor’s counsel and Tee Taylor’s presence has really served us all well.
Former Orlando Magic coach and current coach of the New Orleans Pelicans Stan Van Gundy honored Taylor on Tuesday.
“I love Tee Taylor. Always enjoyed seeing him,” Van Gundy posted on Twitter.
I love Tee Taylor. Always enjoyed seeing him. (Love all the Warmoths too — your family is a central Florida treasure.) https://t.co/lq5sLMdy1e— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) February 23, 2021
Hoffman said you sometimes meet people who are considered one in a million, but Taylor, he said, “is once in a lifetime.”
Taylor stays busy working in his yard at home and spending time with his wife, five children and 11 grandchildren.
Once the pandemic ends, he hopes to get back out there in the community he loves and spend time volunteering and giving back.
Until then, Happy Tee Taylor Day!