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.

  • catgee12

    Rick Gonzalez got a few “cross over” hits too … Old School and The Promotion …

  • Sigma_Since 93

    My ladies nomination is Vivica A Fox. From Soul Food and Up All Night to Lifetime movies.

    • panamajackson

      Listen, I almost added Vivica but I kind of feel like she needs an entire piece about her.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        Indeed she does! As much shenaniganery she’s been in, definitely needs a think piece of her own!

        • Sweet Ga Brown

          Like why has she come so far but not really?? How Sway?? Hair weave line to male review reality shows, 50 Cent, chitlin circuit movies…You know her and Lisa Ray are kinda similar may have to roll her in too.

          • Quirlygirly

            Sweet GA..now that I think on it..you right..Her and Lisa Ray have a similar arch in their careers..Only thing is Vivica has done more movies.

            • Emily Harris

              I think when she landed Kill Bill it looked very briefly like she would gain a little career traction. Now with all her plastic surgery and I don’t know what she did to her teeth but it sounds like it involves polygrip… where was I going with that? I got lost. Either way, Lisa Raye’s looking a little better for the wear these days.

            • Brother Mouzone

              I could see those two being on some type of reality/talent competition show as skrippa judges. If this becomes a thing, I want my cut.

              • PhDivaLife

                Vivica is trying to start her own male revue in Vegas. Vivica’s Black Magic. Had a reality show about it recently. That’s exactly what she did… judge the skrippas.

          • I forget they’re different people

        • Eating 50’s booty

          • Quirlygirly

            That was a low blow Malik..

            • I don’t kink shame. They like it, I love it

          • catgee12
          • Sweet Ga Brown

            like groceries…

          • pls

            It’s amazing how much it matters who celebrities get in relationships with. Vivica’s stock went down when she dated 50; it was initially a very odd pairing. I honestly think white folk just stopped being attracted to her because of it and how he basically made her out to be desperate. Same with Lauren London. She was next up until people found out she let uglass lil wayne hit it raw.

    • Zil Nabu

      I feel like Vivica doesn’t fit this category. These are those actors that make you say, “Oh, wait I know that guy/woman from somewhere. Damn it, where did I see them before. Fuck! Now this is gonna bother me all day!”

      • Sigma_Since 93

        If you pull Vivica out then you have to pull Chistian Keys out; they have all the same boxes checked. The only difference is some of Vivica’s movies are held in higher regard than Christians

        • Zil Nabu

          I have no clue who Christian Keys is. Not even a little, not even at all.

          • Sweet Ga Brown

            Lol.

          • catgee12

            Glad I’m not the only one … #WhoDat? #IStillDontKnowHim …

          • Spicy Kas

            Yep

          • Emily Harris

            I didn’t know either but it was worth the Google. Save the janky azz cross tattoo, but it’s forgivable over all…

          • Brother Mouzone

            Thanks, I thought I was the only one! Lol

          • MsSula

            Like I just googled him and still said: “who is this?”

            • Zil Nabu

              Thank you! There are actors who I see all the time but can never remember where I’ve seen them before. He is not one of them.

        • Wizznilliam

          I’m still trying to place Chistian Keys though.. On the other hand Vivica Fox’s a** from Independence Day is forever plastered in my brain.

          • BrothasKeeper

            Ni66a.

            • Wizznilliam

              LOL.. I KNOW I’m not the only one!

      • LMNOP

        They’re the people you’d see in the grocery store and think “he looks so familiar, did I go to high school with him?”

        • cedriclathan

          Went to my first .25 cent peep show where you put the quarter in the slot and the window stays up for a few minutes. Next morning went to get the babies some milk from the corner store. I’m at the check out and the pron mags that used to be wrapped in plastic was right there. I’m looking at the cover of one going,”I know her from somewhere…” sho’nuf, peep show star.

  • Sweet Ga Brown

    Honorable mentions: Gabrielle Dennis

  • siante
    • catgee12

      Still don’t know Christian Keyes tho …

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        *grabs a chair and sits next you in the “who dat negro” corner*

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        He’s from the Tyler Perry plays. He’s also in a lot of Netflix movies. And I think he sings but I’m not sure how well he can sing.

        • panamajackson

          Naw, he actually is in lots of Black movies and produces his own.

          • Michelle is my First Lady

            Didn’t know he produced his own movies now. Guess he is on the come up. Good for him.

          • siante

            any good ones you can share?

        • catgee12

          Thanks … not a fan of Tyler Perry so that’s probably why …

        • Sweet Ga Brown

          Yassss! I first saw him in a Tyler Perry play. When I saw him in movies I thought he was coming up in the world.

          • Michelle is my First Lady

            Yes! I watched him in The Preacher’s Son on Netflix; it was pretty good! I might have to go home and watch it again tonight.

      • siante

        He’s from started out in Tyler Perry movies:
        https://youtu.be/NneVEzEzXRk

        • Sweet Ga Brown

          Never forget!

      • siante

        forgot to add, he sings too:
        https://youtu.be/0CCQyb8Utfw

        • Sigma_Since 93

          I’m waiting for the Alpha jokes……

          • Quirlygirly

            There wont be any..Only Kappa jokes fly in these parts for some reason

          • siante

            didn’t know that. It makes sense though lol

        • Emily Harris

          About 35 seconds in this woman said “I needs my job” and the cornballishness of the delivery irked my soul so much that I could not continue. I wanted to know if he could sing and now I don’t care. I won’t do it. I won’t hit play again.

    • JennyJazzhands

      Thank you! I was reading the names like 0-0 this helps so much.

      • siante

        you & me both! lol

  • Dennis Hayebert
    Woody Strode
    Clifton Davis
    The Harris Brothers (Wood & Stephen)

    I kept waiting for Rick Gonzalez to show up in Luke Cage and get beat down.
    We all know Tasha Mack
    A few of my girl cousins hate Monica Calhoun the way ashy baby daddies hate Russell Wilson. It will always make me laugh.

    • Hsquared

      Woody Strode?!?! Bro, you put the “Old Man” in Old Man Wu.

      • Dude would just randomly pop up in old movies. He fits the parameters.

    • Cheech

      How has Dennis Hayebert not inherited the world from James Earl Jones? He needs a Darth Vader and a Mufasa gig, stat.

    • Quirlygirly

      “A few of my girl cousins hate Monica Calhoun the way ashy baby daddies hate Russell Wilson.”

      This line right here took me all the way out

  • Spicy Kas

    Ya’ll a lie, if you didn’t think of Brass while reading the description for Christian Keyes.

  • IDontKnowAnyMore

    Roger Smith could be on this list.

    And Mel Jackson

    • PhDivaLife

      Roger Smith has been in almost every Spike Lee movie and was on A Different World and no one knows his name. He definitely qualifies.

    • Ess Tee

      Mel Jackson, like Michael Beach, got tarred with the “Ain’t shizz” brush as far as characters go. I ain’t forgot how he told Lem he got him that job at the factory.

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      Roger Smith is up there on the list. He shows up in the darnest movies with the darnest roles.

      • catgee12

        He is a staple in Spike Lee movies …

      • Gibbous

        You have to google “Roger Guenveur Smith.”

        • Sweet Ga Brown

          Yes. When I saw a 2520 come up I typed Roger Smith black actor. Lol. Gotta do what I gotta do.

          • Gibbous

            Yup!

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      That’s Roger Smith!? I only remember him from Eve’s Bayou.

    • RealiT

      Long time reader, 1st time commentor. Mel Jackson used to be married to Jazsmine Lewis. They found love in a hopeless script lol

      • Quirlygirly

        Well thanks for commenting to drop that tea on us.

        • MsSula

          and what hilarious tea it is. Loll.

  • Brooke__

    I’m nominating Angel Conwell for black TV; from BounceTv to TVOne shawty stays working. ALso Omar Gooding since Smart Guy!

    Also love Wendy, her last movie on Netflix Boy Bye was so bad, but so good at the same time. I told my girlfriends to watch it lol

    • Sweet Ga Brown

      Ehhh. Yeah she still be working. Ill give her a pass. A movie that is so bad but so good makes up half the black movies on Netflix. I’ll still add it to my queue tho.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        I’m going to add it to my queue as well. Sounds like it is perfect for this rainy day we’re having today.

  • Ghettoprincess

    Clifton Powell as Pinky is my favorite movie role of his cause it seemed like such a random casting choice. I hope someone in his family is a reader of the site so he can come collect this award.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    Clifton also had a pretty prominent role in Ray as well! The man has put in work!

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