Hawai’i’ Story Editor Was 42 – Deadline

Upcoming episode NCIS: Hawaii will pay tribute to Yakira Chambers, a story editor for the CBS drama who died suddenly last week at the age of 42.

Chambers’ family told Deadline that the initial cause of death was attributed to acute asphyxiation. She was with her mother outside a mall in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday night when she began having trouble breathing and then collapsed.

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Chambers was promoted to Story Editor for Season 2 NCIS: Hawaii after joining the show as a staff writer in NCIS spinoff’s four-episode debut season. After being selected as a mentee in the highly competitive ViacomCBS Writers Mentoring Program in 2020-2021, she earned the position of staff writer.

A tribute to her will be featured in an episode of the show in January, which will air a week after the three-hour NCIS crossover event scheduled for January 2nd.

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Chambers’ acting credits include HBO Not sure; Saban Films’ John Henry (with Terry Crews); short comedy series The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl (with Issa Rae); and comedy series MO Diarieswritten by Lena Waithe and starring Michelle Obama.

In addition to her work on NCIS: HawaiiChambers has been developing several projects of her own, including a television pilot she wrote about incarcerated gang leader-turned-author and social service advocate Larry Hoover, and My educationtelevision pilot “about her own experiences growing up on the South Side [of Chicago] and attend a majority white high school.”

Chambers was born in Chicago and graduated from the city’s Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School, according to information provided by her family. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Southern Illinois University with a concentration in information management systems and later worked as a software quality assurance manager at St. Louis. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, but was drawn to a career in the entertainment industry, so she moved to Los Angeles.

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She completed the two-year Meisner Intensive Acting Program at the Joanne D. Baron/DW Brown Studio in LA. Chambers also attended the prestigious Midsummer and Oxford programs of the British American Drama Academy; Alumni of the program include Ruth Negga, Paul Giamatti, Tracie Thoms and the late Chadwick Boseman.

Chambers’ first acting credit came in 2007’s feature films Eye See Medirected by Carlton Enoch, and Now I pronounce you Chuck & Larry, directed by Dennis Dugan, starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James. She was a member of both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA.

Chambers is survived by her husband Anthony Welch, stepson André Welch and mother Constance Chambers. Her family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral and other expenses. A memorial service is being planned for Chambers, with a date to be announced.

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Her family said of Chambers: “Her sudden and untimely death has shocked us all. Yakira was a light, a symbol of hope for our community, a custodian of our culture, and a representation of what making your dreams come true.” The family added, “Yakira’s passion transcended her day-to-day work in business; she loved helping others create a way out of nothing. She believed in justice and the demarginalization of blacks to create a level playing field for all. This passion has been actualized in the form of her foundation, the CureConstanceFoundation, an organization born out of the need to find financial options for those in health crisis.”

Constance Chambers, Yakira’s mother, told Deadline: “I miss her and will love her forever. I don’t know what I will do without her.”


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