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Obscure Black C-Listers: Kelly Jo Minter

14 October 2008 18 Comments

If you consumed a fraction of the black entertainment that I did during the 80’s and 90’s you should recognize Kelly Jo Minter’s face. She started acting as a teen prentending to be a kid in tv movies and educational videos such as Mr. T’s “Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool!” In her early twenties she started playing teenagers, and her “attitude face” brought her movie roles in Mask, People Under The Stairs, and the often-rerun-on-HBO Mark Harmon vehicle Summer School. Her stank-face look also brought her small parts on A Different World, Martin, and House Party (To Bilal: “I’m a bitch? Yo’ momma’s a stupid bitch!”). These credits are all well and good, but then we get into the meat of Minter’s career and what, I suspect, made her leave acting – all of sudden Kelly Jo Minter started playing unhinged women. She was a drug addict in New Jack City and on ER, a “cursing hooker,” in The Rich Man’s Wife, and troubled woman on both Strong Medicine and Stranger Inside. Her last movie credit was the Coolio flick Tapped Out in 2003, which I think pretty much signals the nail in the coffin for her acting career. Today, Kelly Jo runs her own line of handbags called KJO Bags Los Angeles and is looking pretty good.


  • bklyn6 said:

    Wow. Now there’s a face I haven’t seen in years! She always seemed the type of actress who’d be cast to play the tough chick, or the ’round the way girl. I hardly recognize her now. I wonder if she’s got residuals coming in because I never see her old stuff on tv at all.

  • jazzfan360 said:

    Oh, like Thembi said, Summer School is ALWAYS on one of the HBO networks. Amazingly enough, this woman doesn’t look familiar to me at all (and it has been a sadly long amount of years since I saw House Party last). The phrase “stank-face look,” however, has me over here crying.

  • Adrean said:

    She was one of my favorites in the 80s. I remember her so well because I saw Summer School as a premier while working for $3.35/hr at a local movie theater (yep, I was in management!) I had always hoped to see her in better roles.

  • uglyblackjohn said:

    Damn…she looks better NOW.

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    Wasn’t she Denny’s girlfriend on the Cosby Show, too?

  • Thembi said:

    Close but you’re a shade off – that was Troy Beyer. She’s way “softer.”

  • Dara said:

    her absolute best quote, which carried me through much of my adolescence:

    “PLAY! i dont eeeeven appreciate the way you be treatin me…”

  • bklyn6 said:

    Oh, like Thembi said, Summer School is ALWAYS on one of the HBO networks.

    I guess I don’t watch enough tv. I don’t think I’ve ever seen/heard of “Summer School.” :-/

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    Right, right, right. Wow, Troy Beyer looks more like Minnie Riperton than even Maya Rudolph does.

    Those two are like how people thought Chauncy from Menace II Society and Charlie Murphy were the same person for years. Or Rocky Carroll and the dude from Chicago Hope that looks just like him.

  • Thembi said:

    @Reg – that IS rocky Carrol on Chicago Hope, but I can see you mixing up Charlie Murphy and Clifton Powell…

  • Malcolm said:

    Kelly’s “now” picture is a definite improvement over the heavily eye-shadowed stank face version from her younger days. Just the other day I was thinking about “Summer School”. I remember that her character didn’t know how to drive. “Tapped Out” is an ironic title to have for your last movie credit.

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    Wait, no, there’s another dude who’s an actor and looks just like Rocky Carroll. I think I remember seeing an interview on TV where they said they’re actually friends in real life. Now I have to research.

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    It’s Jeffrey Sams. He and Rocky Carroll look alike and they actually grew up togther in Cincinnatti.

    On a side note, Kelly Jo Minter’s ultra 80s’ed-out stank face is captivating me big time. I’m sitting here almost in a trance every time I click on the page. I think it’s the shape of her eyes, combined with her counterintuitively cute gigantor forehead.

  • Mes Deux Cents said:

    Hi Thembi,

    Wasn’t she in Love and Basketball? I think she was a basketball player and then after they graduated they met again in Spain while playing pro ball. Am I wrong?

    (I decided to check and I am wrong. I’m thinking of the actress that played Sidra in Love and Basketball. Her name is Erika Ringor. I think the confusion is because they both have played the spunky smart-alek obnoxious girl in a lot of movies.)

    Thanks for this post; I would have never known either one of their names. :)

  • J said:

    Thembi, this is why i can’t afford to not have you in my life. Whatever’s in your heart that makes it necessary to keep Kelly Jo Minter’s memory alive is something I unfortunately can’t live without.

    Summer School was my shit!

  • THE 78' MS. J said:

    I remember her she was in a freddy movie also. At least she isn’t having her house foreclosed or in some strip club popping it to luke lol glad she is sling bags, well done Kelly Jo, well done.

    Sidebar I changed my blog and if you could update your link I would appreciate that so much. http://bpytsspot.blogspot.com/ new blog thanks.

  • Hampton06 said:

    i love ‘summer school.’

  • ListenToLeon.net said:

    I always had a thing for the girl that cursed out Martin Lawrence in House Party!

    Thanks for the update LOL

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