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Obscure Black C-Listers: Clifton Powell

29 January 2009 15 Comments

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I had to wait more than a year and a half to finally post about Clifton Powell because my blog cousin Invisible Woman beat me to it, calling him “the hardest working black man in show business” in a July 2007 post.  She ain’t neva’ lied! Clifton Powell is and will forever be “that dude.” He’s Pinky from Next Friday, that ol’ hatin’ Chauncey from Menace II Society who snitched on O-Dog, the sneering neighborhood gangster Andre on Roc, and Sharane’s brother from House Party. But those were just his early gigs – I could go on and on. I don’t just mean an episode of Cold Case here and a quick job on CSI there. Clifton Powell has also been on every black nineties sitcom you can think of and in a slew of low budget movies. I’m not just talking about run-of-the-mill nonsense like Who Made The Potatoe Salad?, I also mean straight to DVD joints that you don’t even wanna know about like White Men Can’t Rap and R&B Chick. I don’t even recognize half of names on the cast lists, for real. He also directs and stars in a gospel play here and there, and will be starring in the upcoming pilot of the 1970’s cop drama  “Last of The Ninth” on HBO. Clifton Powell’s imdb.com page shows that he’s had 123 appearances on TV and film and 85 of them are from the past ten years. That’s eight or nine jobs per year! Who works that much in Hollywood? Especially a black actor? No one!

15 Comments »

  • jazzfan360 said:

    I love this guy. He has such a great look about him. I primarily remember him from Roc. This dude is ALLLLLLLLWAYS workin somewhere, man. That’s crazy. I can only think it’s a bad thing that he does this many awful-ass low-budget productions (and I’m guessing the reason he does so *many* of these lame-ass fly-by-night joints is that they probably all pay in neckbones and Funions, and dude prolly gotta do nine or ten a year just to get enough of ’em to trade in for real money so a brotha can keep his phone on). The thing that really amazes me, though, is how he can jump back and forth all the time from legitimate big-time like Ray to straight-up project crap like The Rimshop (WTF?? Look up the DVD cover) and it doesn’t seem to keep him from being taken seriously.

    Invisible Woman’s “Big Daddy Kane” thing was hysterical btw.

  • Kim said:

    He’ll always be Doctor King to me. Part of me misses ABC’s random movies.

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, nigga” (c) Clifton Powell as “Cutty.”

    I remember everyone thought he was “Charlie Murphy” for years. he does the best sinister look ever.

    Interesting side note: Chauncy had no real shame in “snitching” on O-Dogg and Caine. He was almost proud to do it, even though it admittedly was for reasons of vengeance. Crazy to see how far down the cline common sense has slipped in just 16 years since Menace came out.

  • Tafari said:

    I have never liked him in anything. He always seems weak & wack. not hating him for getting his acting hustle on though.

    Tafari

  • invisblewoman said:

    Thanks for the shout, girl. I must say I halfway agree with Tafari….

  • Monica said:

    he’s like a cross between adebisi from oz and charlie murphy. hahaha but he is fantastic as a no-count mofo who may or may not rob, cross, or kill you in almost every role.

  • bklyn6 said:

    love this guy. He has such a great look about him.

    Good call! *swoon*

    he’s like a cross between adebisi from oz

    Yeah, I had the hots for Adebisi, too. :-)

  • Mo said:

    Don’t forget he was also in Dead Presidents.

  • Mike said:

    I think he also plays a pedophile who tries to get in the shower with a kid in this hilarious educational video made by the Boy Scouts. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBF_nNHFiTo&feature=channel_page

    Is this him?

  • Thembi (author) said:

    I dont think thats him but WOW is that a freak throwback!

  • Malcolm said:

    One of my favorite lines from any movie is the one Clifton (as Sharane’s brother) delivers in “House Party” when he says to Sidney (Tisha Campbell), “Go on in, with yo’ big nose”. I also love her response… “Punk!”

  • JUDY said:

    CLIFTON WAS MY MENTOR AT NYU WHEN I WAS UNDECIDED WEATHER I WANTED TO CONTINUE IN SCHOOL AT ALL I WAS MESSING UP AND NOT CARING. HE ALWAYS TOOK THE TIME TO POINT OUT AS A MINORITY I WOULD ALWAYS HAVE TO STRUGGLE A BIT MORE AND WORK HARDER HE WAS SO RIGHT. I APPRECIATE ALL THAT HE DID AND ALL THE ADVICE HE GAVE ME. I HAVE NOT SEEN OR SPOKEN TO HIM IN YEARS BUT ALL THAT HE DOES I KNOW HE GIVES 100% YOU CANT HATE ON THAT HE IS AN HONORABLE UPSTANDING MAN.

  • C said:

    Clifton is on his grind for sure! I look forward to seeing where he will show up next or what he was in that I did not know about. From what I can tell he is a good guy who simply embraces the craft no matter what the role. I like him because he is funny, intelligent, inspires and motivates, gives back, is very talented to be able to play the whole spectrum of roles that he does-my favorites being that of the good guy. He is actually my favorite actor.

  • Classick Material said:

    I remember him most for playin the drug dealer on “Rock”

  • Zoe Ali said:

    Cold Case is a nice TV series but the story sometimes does not appeal to me much’;.

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