Vanessa Williams(Fine Sistas from the 90’s)

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I thought Vanessa Williams stole the show in New Jack City.  She was beautiful but so deadly in the film.  She held her own with Wesley Snipes,Ice-T and Mario Van Peeples. I’ve always thought she was an underrated beauty.  Williams was born on May 12,1963.

Born and raised in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa Williams became a member of the New York City Opera’s Children’s Chorus at age 11. Vanessa then signed with a talent manager and booked her first audition, a commercial for Frito Lay. Her pattern for success clearly set, her winning streak had only just begun.

After graduating from New York’s famed High School of Performing Arts she earned a Bachelor’s degree in theatre and business from Marymount Manhattan College.

A member of all three actors unions, Vanessa kept busy striking a balance as a professional actress and college student. When she landed a recurring role on The Cosby Show (1984) as (Theo’s scene partner in a school play), a high-strung student/actress named Jade Marsh, she made a friend and fan of “The Cos” Bill Cosby. So impressed with her work, “Mr. C” asked her back to play yet another role, Theo’s girlfriend Cheryl Lovejoy, a sweet young thing from Barbados.

Her New York stage credits grew to include the Lincoln Center production of Death and the King’s Horseman and the Broadway productions of Sarafina and Mule Bone, the Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston collaboration. The opening night celebration for Mule Bone packed a double punch of pleasure, as New Jack City (1991) was released in theaters nationwide that same evening. In this, her first feature film, Vanessa plays Keisha, the gun toting head of security opposite Wesley Snipes as drug czar Nino Brown.

Vanessa arrived in LA in September of ’91, “just to check it out.” A month later she was cast as single mother Anna-Marie McCoy in the Gothic horror film, Candyman (1992). She made her west coast move official in January of ’92, and became a media darling when she hit the media radar as one of the stars in the Fox TV hit Melrose Place (1992).

After residence on Melrose Place (1992) Vanessa traveled to Spain to sing and host the variety show Grand Fiesta on the Telecinco network in Madrid. Back from Europe she was immediately cast as a series regular in Steven Bochco’s critically acclaim television drama Murder One (1995), where she earned her first NAACP Image Award Nomination.

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She appeared opposite Lisa Kudrow in the Albert Brooks feature Mother (1996), then went on location in South Africa to star in A Woman of Color (1997), a film written and directed by Oscar nominated director, Bernard Joffa. She followed these projects with a ten-episode arc on Chicago Hope (1994), where she was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Vanessa starred in two BET original made for TV movies: Incognito (1999) and Playing with Fire (2000), and as guest star on Total Recall (1994), The Pretender (1996), NYPD Blue (1993), The Steve Harvey Show (1996), Malcolm & Eddie (1996), and Living Single (1993), Cold Case (2003) among other others.

She starred (opposite her soon to be Soul Food (2000) costar Rockmond Dunbar) in Punks (2000), the award-winning feature film directed by Patrik-Ian Polk, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2000.

She earned a Daytime Emmy Nomination for her extraordinary work in Our America (2002) a Showtime original movie directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, which also premiered at Sundance the following year.

As hot mama, Maxine Chadway, in the hit Showtime series Soul Food (2000), Vanessa secured the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.

Vanessa is also a talented writer who has written a collection of poetry and prose titled Shine. Her poems and essays have also appeared in Essence Magazine.

As filmmaker, Vanessa wrote, directed, and produced the short film, Dense (2004), which aired on Showtime Television and is a favorite among film festival-goers.

As a singer/songwriter, Vanessa performed her original melodies in the films Dense (2004) and the award-winning short Driving Fish (2002). She recently performed “The Vagina Monologues” along with Star Jones and Sherri Shepherd (from The View (1997)) in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, “Harlot Poetry by Vanessa Williams” at Artpeace Gallery in Burbank, California and “Stories in Song: an evening with Vanessa Williams” at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica, CA.

Sanya Richards-Ross (Athlete Wife edition)

Sanya Richards Ross...

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Track and field athlete Sanya Richards-Ross is married to NFL player Aaron Ross. She is an Olympic gold medalist.  Aaron Ross has played football  for the New York Giants.Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.

N’Bushe Wright

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The beautiful N’Bushe Wright started out as a dancer, trained at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Center and the Martha Graham School of Dance, but then switched to acting, enrolling at Stella Adler’s studio. Within a year, Wright was starring in Anthony Drazan’s Zebrahead (1992). That year, she won the recurring role of Claudia, a black civil rights activist fighting for equal opportunities in education in the acclaimed but short-lived NBC television drama I’ll Fly Away. She received positive reviews for her moving portrayal of the drug-addicted older sister of the title protagonist in Boaz Yakin’s Fresh (1994). The following year, Wright played an idealistic Black Panther in the Hughes Brothers Dead Presidents (1995). A native of New York City, she is the daughter of jazz man Suleiman-Marim and a NYC Board of Education psychologist. Wright attended the Manhattan High School for the Performing Arts.

Osas Ighodaro

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Born and raised in the home of the New York Yankees, Osas Ighodaro is a Bronx Native.  As a first-generation Nigerian-American, Osas strongly values the importance of family, giving back and staying connected to her roots.

Osas graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and dual minor degrees in Entrepreneurship and Theatre. She also holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the Actor’s Studio Drama School at Pace University.

Osas has appeared in theatre productions that include, The Colored Museum, Revenge of the King, and the “Audelco Award” winning, Off-Broadway play Platanos & Collard Greens.  Osas’s film & television credits include, Cadillac Records, 2011 Sundance Film Festival selected Restless City, The Tested, & Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. Osas ranked amongst the Top 3 National finalists in the American Black Film Festival/NBC Universal Star Project – monologue competition. In 2010, Osas was crowned Miss Black USA 2010. Currently, Osas plays the role of Adanna on Africa’s #1 Soap Opera, “Tinsel.”

Osas’ work as an actress, spokesperson and humanitarian carry her throughout the United States and across the globe.  As Founder of the Joyful Joy Foundation, through all of her travels, Osas remains deeply committed to ending hunger, preventable disease and supporting poverty alleviation in Africa. Osas values the giving of oneself to others.  She believes a small token of appreciation sincerely offered to a few can cause and affect a chain reaction of positivity and growth for many.

Osas’s motto: “If you can believe it and your heart conceives it, then surely you can achieve it”

Nia Long

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“I get annoyed because [show] business is so full of sh*t sometimes. But for the most part, I’m very happy with the pace I’m taking to get where I’m going.”

Nitara Carlynn Long was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, a high school teacher, left her mother when Long was only four. She developed an interest in acting at an early age, and got instruction from Betty Bridges, the mother of former child star Todd Bridges.

Long learned the ins and outs of acting while on the daytime soap opera, Guiding Light. Her big screen debut was alongside a stellar cast of young black talents in John Singleton‘s debut effort, Boyz N the Hood. The film earned Singleton two Oscar nominations, and helped launch the acting careers of Long, Cuba Gooding Jr., and rapper Ice Cube.

Long followed up Boyz N The Hood with a comedic turn in Made in America (1993), and Friday(1995), proving that she was adept at both drama and comedy. After a two year stint on Will Smith‘s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as the woman who steals Will’s heart and almost marries him, she was given her first starring role in Love Jones. Although it did poorly at the box office, the film was nominated for a number of Image and Black Film awards including Best Actress for Long.

From Friday to the sleeper hit Soul Food, Long has proved herself a talented screen entity. More recently, she wrapped work on What’s It All About, Alfie? (2004) starring Jude Law, and In Too Deep (1999) and played a starring role in the romantic comedy Are We There Yet? (2004), opposite Ice Cube. She most recently starred in the comedy flick, The Best Man Holiday (2013).