Audra McDonalds and Other Celebrities Who Appeared on Broadway

Many celebrities have mastered the art of acting with outtakes, replays, and do-overs but few have stepped out their boundaries and ventured to the big lights of Broadway. Audra McDonalds was recently casted in the remake of The Sound of Music. With so many African Americans taking on broadway roles, 2013 isn't just the year for blacks in movies but also those on the stage. Take a look at our list of singers and actors who landed major roles on Broadway. 

Condola Rashad

Daughter of Phylicia Rashad and Ahmad Rashad loves the stage. We first got hip to the buddig actress when she starred in Stickfly. Later she stared in the remake of Steel Magnolia alongside her mother before returning to Broadway to star in Trip to Bountiful and Romeo and Juliet.

Fantasia

The recording artist stepped out of the studio and onto the Broadway stage. The singer starred in After Midnight and The Color Purple.

Vanessa Williams

The former beauty pageant is no stranger to the stage. Outside of her movie and television career she's starred in four broadway plays including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sondheim on Sondheim, Into the Woods, and The Trip to Bountiful.

Photo Credit: Zimbio

Michelle Williams

Most notably known as the third member of Destiny's Child, Michelle Williams is also an avid Broadway actress. In between her music career, she takes time to act in plays like The Color Purple, Chicago, What My Husband Doesn't Know, and Fela!

Taye Diggs

He may be known for his roles in Best Man, Brown Sugar, and Stella Got Her Groove back but he started off on Broadway. He has five Tony awards under his belt for his Broadway appearance in Carousel and Rent—where he met his wife.

Phylicia Rashad

Claire Huxtable is Phylicia Rashad's most notable character, but it was the Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun that got her a Tony award. She was the first African American woman to win a Tony for best actress in a play.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

The Butler actor may be lighting up the big screen but he's also lighting up the stage in Trip to Bountiful. Starring alongside Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams, he's a natural on stage.


Deborah Cox

Early in her career, she had women all over belting out their best renditions of her ballads, "Nobody's Supposed to be here". She took a break from her music to live out her Broadway dreams. Deborah Cox made her acting debut in Elton John's 2004 Broadway rendition of Aida and returned again in 2012 to star in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Photo Credit: Singers Room

Raisin In The Sun, A (US TV Movie)

Diddy

This celebrity isn't exactly known for acting, but that didn't stop him from dabbling into the 2004 Broadway remake of A Raisin in the Sun.

Photo Credit: ABC

Denzel Washington

Denzell may have started off in movies, but that didn't stop the Oscar winning actor to venture into Broadway. In 201o he starred in Fences and he's returning to the stage to star in the 2014 remake of A Raisin in the Sun.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Viola Davis

The women who has learned to embrace all of herself also embraced her stage career. While she shined in the The Help it was her acting debut in King Hedley II won her a Tony.

Photo Credit: Digital Spy

Anika Noni Rose

The FAMU graduate won a Tony for her portrayal as a teenage girl in Carolin, or Change. She stepped away from Broadway for a bit to do Dreamgirls and The Princess in the Frog. But she later returned to star in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and will star in the 2014 remake of A Raisin in the Sun.

Photo Credit: NY Times

Laurence Fishburne

The versatile actor juggled his movie and TV career just to perform in the 1992 Broadway play Two Trains Running. His performance in this August Wilson play adaptation won him a Tony Award and he still takes time to return to the stage periodically.

Photo Credit: Chronicle

David Alan Grier

The comedian and actor took time out of his TV and movie career to star in Porgy and Bess on Broadway.

Photo Credit: Broadway World

Dule Hill

Dule Hill is most known for the TV show Pysch but his talent extends past TV. The actor starred in the 2011 production of Stick Fly and 2013 production of After Midnight.

Photo Credit: Zimbio

Nicole Ari Parker

Nicole Ari Parker not only is beautiful but she's an extremely versatile actress. While she continues to act on the big screen, she's no stranger to the stage. Boris Kodjoe's wife made her broadway debut in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Photo Credit: Broadway

Blair Underwood

We fell in love with him in Set in Off  and throughout his career, he continued to swoon us with his good looks and talent to match. Blair Underwood extended his accolades when he starred alongside Nicole Ari Parker in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Photo Credit: ZapIt

Terrence Howard

The controversial actor off the screen, stepped on the stage for his 2008 debut of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. 

Photo Credit: Menagerie Entertainment

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

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I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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