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Obscure Black C-List Actors: Paula Jai Parker

26 October 2007 9 Comments

I know I have been slippin’ on my blogging in general and especially on my black c-listers but I’ve been lacking inspiration and a well-functioning laptop. Plus I have to spend a few minutes actually looking at any c-lister that I post about to have things to say about them – they are, after all, obscure.
This week’s Obscure Black C-Lister was suggested months ago by a reader known as “Jippy” so I have to give her props. She and I agreed that Paula Jai Parker is always playing the loudmouth hoochie in every movie. Remember her in Friday, Sprung, Woo, and My Baby’s Daddy? I’m not trying to accuse you of having actually seen any of these movies except for Friday, but if you saw her once you’ve seen her a million times – she played loudmouth hoochie-types in all of those movies. Not to mention Hustle & Flow and Phonebooth, reputable movies where she played actual prostitutes. I also saw her in 30 Years to Life, which was a pretty weak attempt at black film(it also starred Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison, and Erika Alexander, so you do the c-list math) where she played a fat girl who feels trapped in her body and just can’t seem to find a man because of her size. After a bunch of stereotypical fatchick mishaps (e.g. wearing courdoroy pants and making embarrassing noises) she gets plastic surgery, loses weight and becomes – guess what – a hoochie-type! I like to believe that Parker is actually talented since she started off as a stand-up comedian – which is not at all easy – but while she’s still the most typecast black actress in America I guess we’ll never really know.


  • Jippy said:

    Unfortunately I’ll have to admint that I have seen Sprung, Friday (which I believe I saw in the movies at Cheltenham with YOU, Angela, Terrell Gray, Kortnei Perry, Leon, Ameen, Hadiyah and one of the Chips) and Hustle and Flow but I have managed to avoid the others. (Woo? Come on now…)

  • Thembi said:

    Jippy I refute those claims!

    Are you SURE Kortnei Perry was there?? It was like ’95 after all. I remember some dude kept offering me nachos.

  • My Name Is Marcus Langford said:

    You are absolutely right, EVERY movie that I have seen that has featured Paula she is playin’ some loud-mouth chick with hardly any tact or class. The only movie that I can remember where she was more or less not loud and ig’nant, was Spike Lee’s ‘Get On The Bus‘ which came out in the late-90’s.

    Well at least we can say that she is consistent…LOL.

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  • Invisible Woman said:

    Wow. I have seen every one of the movies that you mentioned…embarrasing and kinda sad, haha. I’ve wondered for the past maybe 4 years why she chooses to play those same roles-does she need the money that bad?

    She used to be on this comedy show years ago called Uptown Comedy Club along with Lisa Nicole Carson of all people when I lived in New York. They were both really funny and talented…wierd how some things work out.

  • Thembi said:

    IW – I LOVED Uptown Comedy Club! Hum to a roar! Now all we got is Comicview – if they even still make those.

  • Q said:

    I favor her prostitutes, very thoroughly well played, I wonder if she is a method actress?

  • Golden Silence said:

    The only role I can think of where she isn’t playing the ghetto hoochie is when she was the voice of Trudy Proud on “The Proud Family.”

  • justjudith said:

    ok, i have to call a bias here. paula jai and i are actually friends. we went to college together and the crazy thing is, she is nothing like that in person. all of her friends are befuddled by these roles…just so you know. and last time i saw her i did my favorite scene from phonebooth (something about a dick hand lol). i love paula jai — some of it is hollywood and some of it has to be her choices. i hate to say that…but it’s true.

  • Malcolm: said:

    My vote for the most typecast black actress in America would go to Jenifer Lewis. Casting directors have her on speed dial in case they need an actress to play a sassy black mother/surrogate mother.

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