Fresh Black Girls: Loretta Devine!
One of the most coveted natural talents is the gift of a dictinctive voice, and Loretta Devine’s high-pitched, breathy voice has just that kind of distinction I wish I was born with. She got her start in Broadway musicals, most notably originating the role of Lorell in Dreamgirls alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jennifer Holiday. Her first major television role was as dorm directer Stevie Hallen on A Different World, a role that went to Mary Alice after Lisa Bonet left the show in 1988. It’s hard to believe that aside from starring in two Colored But Canceled sitcoms – Heart & Soul and Sugar & Spice – Loretta Devine didn’t play a major character on-screen until 1995’s Waiting To Exhale. Was I the only person who read this book and imagined Loretta Devine playing Gloria before she was even cast? She parlayed this mainstream success into roles on Boston Public and Greys Anatomy, while continuing to pursue more earthy roles in Down In The Delta (I loved her in this!) and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Loretta Devine has consistently played the same type of black woman – a little bigger, a little sassier, a little bit vulnerable, and always ready to cut her eyes at something. I don’t like to call it typecasting, I’d rather say that she has a niche. Above all else, from The PJs to Beverly Hills Chihuahua, you must need to clean your ears out if you don’t recognize that unmistakable voice! She is a Fresh Black Girl worth admiring!
h/t Afrobella for that Ebony cover photo!