Kiki Layne is from Cincinnati,Ohio. She attended DePaul University. Her next film is a screen adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son.
Her first acting role was with Lena Waithe in the pilot for the show The Chi, which was shot in 2015. Speaking to Vanity Fair, says she was always acting growing up and that her favourite movie as a child was, The Lion King. I used to watch it every day and create these extravagant stories with my Barbies and stuffed animals.”
Layne began her career attending a performing-arts school in Cincinnati, where she took the flute, then French horn and the trumpet. She later attended DePaul University in Chicago to study acting. After graduating she moved to LA where she landed her breakout role in the Barry Jenkins movie If Beale Street Could Talk.
Layne is outspoken about the injustices African American people face in the USA and the issue of representation of black people in films. Speaking to Vanity Fair, she says, “The black community faced [injustices] in the early 70s and still face them today, issues of wrongful incarceration and what the justice system looks like for black people growing up in poverty. But at the core of it is a really beautiful love story between Tish and Fonny. I don’t feel like I’ve seen this for young black actors—there’s this tenderness that I just don’t see.” She’s really making a big splash in the industry.
From the night in her skin to kink of her hair
The sun in her smile to the stars in those eyes
I know that Melanin is beautiful
The beauty that glows through her
blood like magic
Her melanin drips like honey
Can you imagine a voice so sweet you could taste the diabetes
Can you imagine how the tears of this woman will make rivers
You will find the souls of her sons floating in
Dreams of haunting, of prey, of white of guns of nose,
nose is tight like she is tight like a nose
This kind of melanin
This kind of woman
Makes the worst days worth living for
Makes trying to live some of the worst days
But this type of melanin is strong
Even when the pavement of her heart starts to crack under oppression
She will still bleed love, hope, smiles, and laughter
she will bleed the bloodshed of her father’s death
She will ache the pain of the weight her mother carried on her black
Because of this I know that melanin is beautiful
Is pain, is sorrow, is love, is her
She is love
She is what made melanin so damn beautiful.
Poem by D’Nessa McDaniel