Fresh Black Girls: Tisha Campbell!
Tisha Campbell is a perfect example of black entertainers not getting the praise that they deserve. As a veteran in the industry and one of the few triple threat entertainers of any color, Tisha should have an armful of Emmys and Oscars by now. BET and NAACP Awards are great to have, but her talent as a dancer, singer, and actress merits so much more opportunity to shine! While her 1993 debut album Push didn’t do a whole lot on the airwaves, Tisha Cambell can definitely sing, a fact that she showcased at the tender age of fifteen in Little Shop of Horrors and on the sitcom Rags to Riches. Don’t tell me that she can’t dance, because she cuts the meanest rug ever in House Party. Tisha Campbell is unique as an actress because she’s smart enough to not allow herself to be typecast. It would have been so easy for her to have capitalized on her role in School Daze as Jane Toussaint, THE quintessential lightskinned girl of the millenium, but she didn’t. Instead, Tisha Campbell stayed true to her comedic talent. She can be subtle, but if you watch old episodes of Martin or My Wife and Kids and take a moment to focus on how ridiculous she lets herself act and her impeccable comedic timing, her talent is very clear. She’s a born goofball who should be “too pretty” to act like that, which makes her instantly fresh, and I’m not just saying that because she’s married to Duane Martin, who I still have a little crush on from his Out All Night days. One of my favorite things about her is that she is still best friends with Tichina Arnold, another notable fresh blackgirl. Can you imagine hanging out with those two? I couldn’t choose just one Tisha Campbell moment so here are a few:
At Girl Scout camp my friends and I did a dance number to “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone Tonight,” from School Daze but didn’t know nothin’ about not being alone at night. We really thought we were grown, I guess. Note the presence of fellow triple threat Jasmine Guy.
Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite movies ever, and I love seeing young fresh blackgirls Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold in this clip, “Skid Row.” The third girl, Michelle Weeks, is now a gospel singer (of course).
I’ve been trying to learn the step routine from the “Stepping Stone” episode of A Different World (if you recall, Tisha also guest-starred as an HIV positive student to teach us all about AIDS in 1991). My next endeavor will have to be this hotfoot dance number from House Party. Work that, Sidney and Sharane!