Clifton Powell Hall of Fame for Role Players in The Realm of Black Excellence at the Cinematic Arts » VSB

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Clifton Powell Hall of Fame for Role Players in The Realm of Black Excellence at the Cinematic Arts

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In my head, Clifton Powell is my homeboy. Ever since I first saw Menace II Society in 1993 and Chauncey called Kane a “cockblockin’ motherfucker”, I  knew there was something special about him. Roughly an almost literal hundred thousand trillion roles later, I’m still rockin’ with him. When I fire up Netflix, sometimes I search for his name just so I can add each movie to the queue. Because I’m going to watch it. Because Clifton Powell is good all the time, and all the time Clifton Powell is good. I don’t know how or why he decided to become one of the greatest role players in Black American history, Blacking up the screen in new and innovative ways each time our, but it is an achievement for which he does not get enough credit.

Until today.

Should I ever get a budget big enough to do this, I will personally fund, construct, and smile to the high heavens as Clifton Powell cuts the ribbon on the Clifton Powell Hall of Fame for Role Players in the Realm of Black Excellence at Cinematic Arts. Clifton Powell is deserving. He plays roles that I didn’t even know I’d want to see until he’s in there. He is in movies that I do not know exist until I search his name. Then do you know what I do? I watch those movies. Who Made The Potato Salad? He was there. A Weekend with The Family? He was there.

99 North? Yep. Note to Self? There too. The Marriage Chronicles? The Preacher’s Son? The Undershepherd? The Gospel? Yep. Word. Sho you right. You betta know that. He was there. If there’s a Black movie that didn’t quite hit the mainstream in the past 20+ years, there’s a really, really good chance that Clifton Powell the Great is there, moving along the story, being stoic, Blackin’, ushering in the talents of those around him in order to deliver the best movie possible with whatever material is present. Are all of his movies good? Absolutely not. But will I watch them anyway? Of course I will. Any actor who has put in so much work in so many different ways, all for the art of Black Excellence deserves a few hours of my time.  Clifton Powell is an inspiration.

He is also not alone. There are a lot of actors and actresses who have contributed to Black Excellence in their roles as role players, ensuring that we can heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race. They make Black movies of varying quality, but the truth is, whether a bad Black movie or a not bad one, they are I and I are them, sometimes conflicted, sometimes with lines, but always with Black in my heart. I’m pretty sure that was the original new tag line for TVOne but they somehow ended up at Represent even though the 90s called and want their style back. I’m guessing they asked Ja Rule for advice.

Who are these other purveyors of Black Excellence? I’m glad you asked. Here are 8 inductess into the CPHOFfRPitRoBEaCA, which certain needs to be a thing. Also, I have no idea how to shorten that.

1. Jason Weaver

Nobody has had as storied career as Jason Weaver. Hook Singer. Verse singer.  Album dropper. TV Actor. Movie Actor. Dancer. Gold Teeth Savant. Animated Film Singer. If it needs doing, Jason Weaver can do it. He’s been Michael Jackson AND Simba, easily two of the most iconic Black people to have ever lived. He’s been in Chingy videos with Keisha Knight-Pulliam. Where has he ain’t been? Know what I’m sayin? He shows up in the most random of movies but the key words there are that he shows up. Jason Weaver, I salute you. From bigger films like ATL and Drumline to lesser films like He’s Mine, Not Yours and Note to Self, Jason Weaver, you keep on keepin’ on.

2. Tatyana Ali

Ashley Banks brought you the original acclaim. Little did we know that it wasn’t that you couldn’t stop, it’s that you wouldn’t stop. From roles on the small screen to the big (ish) screen, and starring in meta-ass roles in both Brother and The Brothers, AND dropping an album as well, Tatyana Ali does it like she’s doing it for TV because she still is and always will be. Take that. Take that.

3. Rick Gonzalez

Unless you pay attention, you  might not know the name immediately. And that’s a shame. He was playing basketball then quitting then gangbanging then playing again and taking errant three pointers in Coach Carter (who saved his life), he was a founding member of the Biker Boyz in the movie of the same name, he was in November Rule, a c-level Black movie where he sold shoes, and don’t even get me started on Deuces where he used all of the skills from every movie he’s been in to come up with his character’s (Papers) ethos. Perhaps he’s always the bridesmaid, but he’s getting all the free drinks because he’s always on your screen somewhere. Plus he was in Roll Bounce, easily one of the best movies to ever come out ever.

4. Monica Calhoun

She might always be Ebony from The Player’s Club to you, but she managed to find her a man in Lance in the Best Man though she bought the farm in the sequel. She’s been around in c-level movies and major TV shows, and Love & Basketball ruining Monica’s relationship though I guess she only went to Burger King. She’s put in the time. She got her spot.

5. Meagan Good

This woman  needs no introduction, but I’ll say this and keep it short and sweet, she played the shit out of the role in Waist Deep, which was no easy feat because this movie also stars Game as a dude named Big Meat, which, yeah. Then again all she had to do was be fine. Meagan Good has been around as long as most of us have playing the second banana but excelling at it and making EVERYBODY look good in the process.

6. Wendy Raquel Robinson

Do you know why she’s a first ballot HOFer? Because of her role as Piggy aka Principal Regina Greer, love foil to Mr. Steve Hightower aka Steve Harvey. She single-handedly made it believable that it was possible for him to be a love interest. No work she did as Tasha Mack comes close to being as “actish” as that role. Wendy, you are a true American hero.

7. Christian Keyes

Christian Keyes is a difficult one to nail down. He’s out here creating his own movies, and trying to put positive imagery out there. But he’s also never going to rise to the level that I’m sure he believes he should be at. Then again, maybe he’s exactly where he wants to be, happily in control of his career. Whatever the case may be, Christian Keyes is somebody who is another must watch for me on the Black movie circuit. If he’s in the movie I’m watching it. And he’s usually the guy with a good heart who’s still a nigga so he’s definitely banging your daughter, but ultimately he only wants to do what’s right and love everybody. And even though the majority of his movies have titles that sound like plays that Tyler Perry rejected, they all seem to bring me joy. Christian Keyes is doing what Shemar Moore wanted to do only folks gave Shemar more shots because he was prettier. Yet, I never look for Shemar Moore credits. Only Christian Keyes. Salute.

8. Jazsmin Lewis

While she is not Mike Jones, you might be asking yourself, who? This woman has 64 acting credits on IMDB, three which include Barbershop where she played Calvin’s wife. But she brings so much more to the table. She shows up in movies that you don’t see coming, often times with other inductees into the HOF. Her work in I Do…I Did and Traci Townsend is legendary. It’s not legendary.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    Lamman Rucker is another good pick. If he’s in a movie I’ll stop what I am doing to watch it, no matter how crappy it is. Also, Christian Keyes surprised me in “The Man in 3B”. I wasn’t expecting him to play such a rough character and still manage to keep that “good boy” image.

    • panamajackson

      It was a deviation role for him. And I still was like, look, I’ll bet he carries up some old woman’s groceries.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        I agree. He doesn’t have much range when it comes to his acting, but it works for him for him, for now, because he’s pretty.

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      So last night I was watching Greenleaf and came to the conclusion I don’t like Lamman’s disgusted face. I mean there are levels and he just goes straight for that face.

    • Quirlygirly

      I was surprised too at Christian Keys. That kinda made me like him even more.

    • Hadassah

      I find him sooooo meh, acting and look wise-which is besides the point.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        Which one? Lamman or Christian?

        • Hadassah

          Lamman.

          • Michelle is my First Lady

            Oh yeah, I agree, his acting is mediocre at best.
            But there is a look he does that brings me joy.

  • Me

    Ain’t much going on at work today with all this rain, so sure… let’s google half this list. Black card be damned.

    • KMN

      :Listen they might as well take mine too because I did the samedamnthing

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      You ain’t tellin no lies. I have a separate window open just so I can google their faces.

  • siante

    Everytime I think about Clifton Powell I think about this interview:

    https://youtu.be/GA128VTBSLw

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      I wish I could listen to this right now. But work.

      • siante

        It’s pretty interesting. He reads Spike for filth.

        • Sweet Ga Brown

          I cant wait to listen when I get off!

    • Darkchloe144

      Welp.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    How you gonna forget those two fat brothers Jerod and Jamal Mixon?

    Or Jermaine “JUMP SAMS!! NOOO I DONT WANNA!” Hopkins??

    • panamajackson

      They don’t have enough credits. Neither one of them. Also, stop naming people from How To Be A Player.

      • Dustin John Seibert

        I didn’t even make the connection that all THREE of em was in that movie.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Good call on the fat brothers. I’ve always wondered how long they could milk that same role into adulthood before it becomes downright dangerous healthwise.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I’m nominating Gary Dourdan. From A Different World to Soul Food to Kim Possible, dude has been putting in work since 91. His C level appearances have increased since his AMEX woes came to light but we all benefit from his insufficient funds problems!

    • siante

      This comment has me laughing so hard right now! lol

    • Quirlygirly

      I would agree but Gary Dourdan is known from being on CSI. We called him the black guy on CSI with Grissom.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        It depends on your age. Some know him as the first tv Hotep. Shazza!

        • Quirlygirly

          Yes, I remember him as Shazza. A young Quirly was not hip to the Hotep at the time..all I saw was them locs and I was in luh.

          • Ess Tee

            Girl, you and me both.

      • TheUnsungStoryteller

        RIGHT!!! With his pretty green eyes just glowing…

        • orchid921

          And don’t forget Janet Jackson’s “Again” video!

    • Wizznilliam

      LOL… I had to Google him too. But I definitely concur.

    • Emily Harris

      Now Gary Dourdan I know by name- and he does work hard, and his acting is turrible- but he could just stand there and I’d still watch the performance, soooo…

    • Junegirl627
      • KMN

        This is HILARIOUS and ADORABLE…lmao I love this

        • Junegirl627

          Thanks I love this gif because it’s me My personality everything

          • KMN

            So you’re fucking adorable too lolol…that gif is so cute…

    • GenevaGirl

      I actually saw Gary Dourdan in the Charles de Gualle airport. Actually, I saw a hat with Gary Dourdan under it. He was wearing this big straw hat ON TOP of his hair, not on his head, but above all that hair.

      Had he not been wearing that hat, which called attention to himself, I wouldn’t have have noticed him. If he was trying to be incognito, he was failing miserably. I do think that was intention: to be seen.

      He was coming up the escalator, but all I could see was this hat. I said to myself, “Self, I know his face. Why do I know that face? Is that the guy from CSI?”

      So, to confirm that it was indeed he, I had to follow him, from a distance. This was no easy feat as I had an infant in a car seat, a backpack and a diaper bag. But, curious minds wanted to know. I had to drag all my cr*p with me and when I got close enough to see that it was indeed the guy from CSI. My curiosity was satisfied and I went back about my business.

      Yes, indeed, he looked good, but he did look sort of silly under that hat.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Was he really on meth?

  • Michelle is my First Lady
    • panamajackson

      And we’re all better for that.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        The world is better for that lol.

    • Spicy Kas

      Because I’m old I associate him with Roc

      • Janelle S

        I was so happy to see Rocky Carroll in that Henrietta Lacks movie. I clearly watch the wrong movies because I haven’t seen him in a while.

      • orchid921

        I forgot about that until JUST NOW.

    • Mr. Mooggyy

      This is why we get along well! While Clifton has has many notable roles, this was the first to come to mind! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e280efc69cf4d43c72882882c1fc0d0b8683a160515bb94681d525c249e2a5c3.gif

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        There will NEVER be another Pinky!

        • Wizznilliam

          He was so good that I forgot it was him.. Pinky is just Pinky.

          • Michelle is my First Lady

            Clifton can play Pinky in one movie and then turn around and play a preacher in the next! That man has range lol.

            • Quirlygirly

              Is that range or another side of the same coin?

              • Michelle is my First Lady

                Might be both!

        • KMN

          Wasn’t he in Dead Presidents too?

          • catgee12

            Yes … tried to hem up my boo Larenz …

            • KMN

              Thank you I thought that was him…

            • Spicy Kas

              Didn’t try. As Yoda would say, “did”.

          • Spicy Kas

            Yes.

          • Seymore Cases

            Wasn’t Terrence Howard in that too? Light skint due in the pool hall?

            • KMN

              He was…I think he played Cowboy and Larenz Tate whooped hisass with that pool stick when he came back from Vietnam lmao

      • pls

        I remember getting written up after a teacher overheard us re-enacting this scene. I was a little too good at being pinky, the 2520 teacher thought I was bullying my friend smh

        • BrothasKeeper

          “Say somp’m else!!!!!”

    • Brother Mouzone

      3 girlfriends and a wife on the side, Pinky? Lol. Definitely his best comedic role. He should do more comedy.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        Or another movie starring Pinky.

        • Brother Mouzone

          Sarcasm?

  • Wizznilliam

    Am I the only person who had to plug these names into Google to see their actual faces? After seeing them by face I wholeheartedly cosign this list. Sorry that I don’t know them by name (except for Tatyana of course (and YES I had to scroll up to get the spelling correct))..

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      Rick Gonzalez was the only one I couldn’t recall by name. But as soon as I saw those eyebrows I knew it was him.

      • Wizznilliam

        I only got Tatyana and Meagan. I forgot to mention Meagan initially. I should have remember Wendy because that is my woman crush ever since the Bernie Mac show.

        • Michelle is my First Lady

          She [Wendy] also goes back to The Steve Harvey Show.

          • Wizznilliam

            Right.. I forgot that was her. But on Bernie Mac she stood out to me. I think every black man loved he in that role. An extremely sexy, beautiful, understanding, strong, etc.. black wife.

            • Michelle is my First Lady

              She had Tasha Mack down solid!

              • Sigma_Since 93

                The mere fact she named her son Malik El Debarge Wright puts her on this list!

                • Sweet Ga Brown

                  Zero fuqs.

              • Quirlygirly

                Yes she did..She will always be Tasha Mack

                • Michelle is my First Lady

                  ALWAYS.

              • Wizznilliam

                Ok yall… I’m officially embarrassed.. How in the world did I confuse her with Kellita Smith from the Bernie Mac Show???… Now on Z-Nation. She should be on this list too.

                • TheUnsungStoryteller

                  I was just going to tell you that! Lol…I always get Wendy, Kellita and the actress that plays Pam on Martin mixed up.

                  • Wizznilliam

                    LOL.. Everybody else was just gone let it ride. I have a feeling I’m not the only one I’m just coping to it.

      • Brother Mouzone

        I still don’t know who the hayle he is.

        • Spicy Kas

          You never saw the masterpiece that is Illegal Tender?

          • Brother Mouzone

            Nope

        • BrothasKeeper

          Naps from Roll Bounce.

    • Emily Harris

      I definitely Googled a few and then stayed on the Christian Keyes images for a while. #isaygahtdamb

  • Janelle S

    Rick Gonzalez is currently trying to rise above the material he is being given on Arrow and I wish him all the best. The CW is a low-key modern WPA, so I’m hoping he finds a better vehicle on that network soon.

  • Janelle S

    Can I nominate Keith David?

    • Michelle is my First Lady
      • Sweet Ga Brown

        I had a audiobook not too long ago that featured his voice as the main character and I loved every minute of it.

        • Michelle is my First Lady

          I need that in my life! lol

          • Sweet Ga Brown

            He narrates a lot of books. I cant remember the one I listened to but google shows his whole list.

      • Gibbous

        I though Jeremy Irons was the voice of Scar?

        • NotToday

          He was. There’s talk of a Lion King remake (ala Beauty and the Beast) and twitter wants Keith David to do Scar’s voice.

          I just don’t want them to ruin the movie :/

        • Michelle is my First Lady

          Yes, it was but you cannot look at the man and not see Scar.

    • panamajackson

      Keith David needs his own type of award too.He’s put in that work.

    • THE ARBITER!

    • Brother Mouzone

      He does the voiceover for the Navy commercials.

  • Zil Nabu

    We cannot forget Jason George on this list. He’s the Black dude that always pops up to play the Black friend on White a$$ shows. He does it so the rest of us don’t have to.

    • Hugh Akston

      Lmao is that a compliment or shade?

      • Zil Nabu

        Why do you want me to choose?

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