cast biographies - Starz Play

cast biographies - Starz Play

CAST BIOGRAPHIES JESSIE T. USHER (Cam Calloway) Thanks to his standout performance as Cam Calloway and his work in the feature film When the Game Stan...

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CAST BIOGRAPHIES JESSIE T. USHER (Cam Calloway) Thanks to his standout performance as Cam Calloway and his work in the feature film When the Game Stands Tall, Jessie has just landed perhaps the most coveted role in Hollywood; a lead in 20th Century Fox’s long awaited sequel to Independence Day titled Independence Day: Resurgence. Jessie was inspired to act at an early age. When his family moved to Los Angeles in 2003, he landed guest-star roles in numerous television shows including “Without a Trace,” “Numbers,” “The Mentalist,” “Criminal Minds,” “Lincoln Heights,” “Hannah Montana” and “Summer Camp.” Jessie’s first big break came in 2011 playing the role of Lyle Hugginson in Cartoon Network’s television movie “Level Up.” The project became a well-loved television series and Jessie reprised his role throughout the show’s two seasons. Born a leap year child, he excelled academically from elementary through high school as a top honor student. He graduated class salutatorian before moving straight to the Dean’s List in college, studying the Art of Culinary and earning the honor of being a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. RONREACO LEE (Reggie Vaughn) A Decatur, Illinois native, RonReaco Lee began his career with a small role in the award-winning film, Glory, with Denzel Washington. Later, he went on to star in Guess Who? opposite Bernie Mac and Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail opposite Viola Davis. He was a series regular on ABC's "In the Motherhood," and recurred regularly on FOX's "The Good Guys.” Most recently, he starred in the original comedy series "Let’s Stay Together" on BET. In his spare time Lee enjoys spending time with his family, photography and gearing his focus towards future endeavors that include writing and directing. ERICA ASH (Mary Charles/“M-Chuck”) Erica Ash is an NAACP-Award winning Broadway, film and television Actress currently starring as Brigette Hart (exwife of Kevin Hart) on hit series “The Real Husbands of Hollywood” on BET, in addition to her work as Mary Charles “M-Chuck” Calloway. She starred in the original cast of Broadway’s “Baby, It’s You!” as Addie “Micki” Harris and Dionne Warwick as well as several other Broadway shows including “The Lion King” (Nala) and “Spamalot” (Lady of the Lake).

Erica’s television career started with LOGO’s “The Big Gay Sketch Show” produced by Rosie O’Donnell from which she was recruited to join the cast of FOX’s MADtv where she also contributed as a writer for the show. Highlights of Erica Ash’s film career include Scary Movie V (Kendra), Random (Nicole), I Can Smoke? (Carmen) and Minano Ie (Naomi). She is the creator/writer of comedic advice blog “The Deviled Angel” and writes/produces sketch comedy for The Deviled Angel Network. She has done feature segments for The Daily News online and has enjoyed giving back through various charitable organizations such as Make a Wish Foundation, Broadway Sings for Pride, The Helping Hands Campaign, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Faithful Spouses Ministries; as well as benefits for various theaters including the Rubicon Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and Celebration Theater. TEYONAH PARRIS (Missy Vaughn) With a southern charm, unparalleled drive and a trademark smile, Teyonah Parris is making strong waves in the acting world for roles including her stunning portrayal of Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) assistant Dawn Chambers in AMC’s Golden Globe® award winning series “Mad Men,” to her captivating turn as Colandrea “Coco” Conners in the award winning, critically acclaimed feature Dear White People. Making her debut on the silver screen and the Great White Way in 2011, Parris shared the stage at Lincoln Center alongside Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def in Broadway's, “A Free Man of Color,” while also celebrating the release of her first feature film, Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy, How Do You Know? directed by James L. Brooks opposite Reese Witherspoon. As a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, Parris has already worked with such notable names as Debbie Allen, Spike Lee, and George C. Wolfe, amongst others. She has also trained under distinguished professors Richard Feldman and Wendy Waterman. During her time in undergrad, Parris performed in numerous productions crediting Celimene in Moliere's “The Misanthrope,” as her favorite role to date. Growing up in South Carolina as a middle child and the only girl in her family, Parris was a self-proclaimed tomboy and beauty queen, always thriving on being unique and never adhering to stereotypes. She started her journey in front of audiences by participating in pageants and modeling. An early notable memory is of her winning the title of ‘Ms. Lower Richland High School,’ where she was the first freshman and African-American on record to win the title. In addition to modeling and playing softball, Parris was also active on her high school's cheerleading squad, step and dance teams. In her rare free time, Parris supports causes close to her heart, such as empowering the youth to embrace their natural beauty. Parris also took part in the 'Designers Against Aids,' photo shoot for World Aids Day to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. TICHINA ARNOLD (Cassie Calloway) Tichina Arnold is a two-time NAACP Image Award-winning actress. Her first was for her role as Pam Jones on the hit television series "Martin." Her second was for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her first season starring in the critically acclaimed comedy “Everybody Hates Chris,” a series inspired by the childhood experiences of comedian Chris Rock. Tichina played Rochelle Rock, Chris' (Tyler James Williams) strict, sassy mother, who runs the

household on a tight budget, but is the glue that holds the family together. Tichina worked on another hit television series "Happily Divorced" which starred Fran Drescher of "The Nanny" and Rita Moreno. Tichina played Judi, Fran's best friend who does her best to help guide the newly divorced Fran back into the world of dating after having been married to a gay man for 18 years. Tichina has also appeared on television in “Ryan’s Hope,” “All My Children,” “The Cosby Show,” “Law & Order,” “The Norm Show,” “One on One”, “Brothers," "Raising Hope" and "Let's Stay Together." Her animation credits include “American Dad”, “The Boondocks” and presently the voice of the “Pink Pill” wireless speaker by Beats By Dre. In film, she has starred in Big Momma's House with Martin Lawrence, the critically acclaimed Civil Brand, as well as Dancing in September, Scenes from a Mall, The Little Shop of Horrors and the blockbuster comedy Wild Hogs, starring Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and John Travolta. Her first dramatic role was in The Lena Baker Story, co-starring Peter Coyote, Beverly Todd and Michael Rooker. She plays the title role of Baker, the first Georgia woman sent to the electric chair. Tichina is also featured in Lifetime’s “A Day Late A Dollar Short” starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ving Rhames, based on a novel written by Terry MacMillan, Transformers 2, Stolen Child, Summoned, The Great Divide, Dance Flick and Top Five starring Chris Rock and Kevin Hart. After getting her first taste of performing in front of her family's church congregation at age 4, Tichina began vocal training and appearing on stage at an early age. She first appeared in “The Me Nobody Knows” at Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre, followed by “Hair,” “Romance and Hard Times,” and “Haggadah” at The Joseph Papp Theatre. In 2004, she toured in the lead role of the musical hit “If These Hips Could Talk,” which broke box office records in over 55 cities. In 2007, she starred in a holiday play, written and directed by Debbie Allen called “Alex in Wonderland.” She also appeared in the revival production of “The Wiz” as the villainous Evilene at the City Center in New York and has recently appeared in the Off-Broadway smash “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”. Tichina has also helped lend her time and help raise more awareness and money for those who are sick and in need, having worked with several organizations over the years. She and her sister formed the We Win Foundation which helps individuals, as well as the families/caregivers who support those suffering with Lupus and other related autoimmune diseases. In between acting jobs, Tichina loves performing her music with her band “KNOW Pressure,” which has been playing regularly to packed audiences throughout the greater Los Angeles area. MIKE EPPS (Uncle Julius) Mike Epps is generating an extraordinary amount of buzz among his peers for being not only one of the funniest comic actors in town, but also for his burgeoning dramatic talent. Epps stars in the ABC half hour comedy “Uncle Buck” which will premiere in 2016, and recently completed an arc on the BET show “Being Mary Jane” and the Universal feature Term Life, starring opposite Vince Vaughan and Hallie Steinfield which will be released in 2015. Epps plays a dirty cop who is trying to frame Vaughan’s character.

He was in the HBO bio-pic “Bessie” based on Bessie Smith, played by Queen Latifah. Epps played Richard Morgan, a bootlegger and romantic interest to Bessie Smith. He is also currently developing the script Any Means Necessary for Sony pictures with Neal Moritz attached to produce. He will star opposite Marlon Wayans in the story about two brothers - one a cop and one a criminal. In 2011, he was awarded a Best Supporting Actor NAACP Image Award for for his role in the Sony Pictures film, Jumping the Broom. He continued to receive critical praise for his dramatic turn in 2012 with Sparkle, opposite Whitney Houston and Jordan Sparks. He further pursued his dramatic side with two important roles: starring opposite Forest Whitaker and Anthony Mackie in the Lionsgate thriller, Repentance, followed by the independent Nina Simone biopic, Nina” starring Zoe Saldana. In Nina, he plays the legendary Richard Pryor, who opened for the singer in the early 60’s. He completed his Live Nation national tour “Mike Epps: After Dark” at the end of 2014. In 2009, Mike headlined his hugely successful stand-up special, “Mike Epps: Underrated and Never Faded,” and in 2011 introduced the world to new comedic talent with, “Mike Epps Presents…,” both of which aired on Showtime. He also released his first comedy rap album called “Funny Bidness: Da Album,” which featured Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock and Slim Thug. That year also marked the release of his comedy DVD “Funny Bidness.” With his undying love for hip-hop, Mike hosted the BET Hip-Hop Awards from 2009-2012. He’ll continue comedic hosting duties this fall with Shaq’s Comedy AllStars set to air on Showtime. Since 2000, Epps steadily climbed his way up the stand-up comedy ranks when he was recognized by a national audience in 1995 for appearing on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam (which, years later, he would go on to host). During a performance at LA’s Comedy Store, Epps caught the attention of Ice Cube. This led to the first of three feature films they would do together: the cult hits Next Friday, Friday after Next and All About the Benjamins. Other features include The Hangover franchise, Faster, Hancock, Lottery Ticket, Next Day Air, Roll Bounce, The Fighting Temptations, the Resident Evil franchise, Bait, How High, Dr.Dolittle 2, Talk to Me and Guess Who?