Where Are They Now? 11 Forgotten, Familiar and Favorite Faces From Some Of Our Favorite Spike Lee Joints

September 27, 2012  |  

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge Spike Lee fan (if you’re a Tyler Perry fan, I’d assume you’re not down with Spizike). I own most of his movies, including an awesome five-in-one Spike Lee Collection that has everything from Do The Right Thing to Clockers and Crooklyn in it. And through watching his movies over the years, I’ve seen a few folks give awesome performances; so awesome, I was wondering where the hell they ended up at. As a heads up, because we’ve covered the little girl, Zelda Harris, from Crooklyn a zillion times, she won’t be on here, but you can see what she looks like here. But I have included some of the women from a previous leading ladies “Where Are They Now?” in case you missed out on that one. Everyone else though, they’re some fresh forgotten, familiar and favorite faces. Enjoy, and be ready to click!

The * applies to actors we’ve covered before.

Tracy Camila Johns * and Raye Dowell

Tracy:

My hair idol! And also the heroine in one of my favorite films of all time. Tracy Camila Johns was dope as the sexually liberated Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. She knew what she wanted, and the number of men she wanted it with, and scoffed at the idea of monogamy and being a one-man woman (how do you like that!?). But after breaking through in one of Spike’s first feature films, she kept the momentum going for a second, and then fizzled out. Johns went on to have a tiny role in Mo Better Blues, was the scandalous girlfriend of G in New Jack City, and had a small role in an early Air Jordan commercial, but after ’91, that was it. *sad face* Last we heard, Johns has become a born-again Christian and is keeping her distance from Hollywood.

Raye:

In She’s Gotta Have It, Raye Dowell played Opal Gilstrap, the lesbian friend of Nola Darling. She was a loyal friend, but also an extra thirsty one, consistently flirting with Darling in the hopes of possibly…how else can I say it…well, turning her out. Of course, Opal never got her wish, but her character, who wasn’t too fond of Darling’s male friends/loves, still remains one of Spike Lee’s most interesting ones. Since then, Dowell appeared in a few more Spike Lee Joints (including Mo Better Blues and Malcolm X), as well as showing up on an episode of “Living Single,” but since then, she’s tried her hand more at producing movies (Hounddog, Virgin). After She’s Gotta Have It, Dowell also had a baby with actor Forest Whitaker.

John Canada Terrell and Tommy Redmond Hicks

John: Greer Childs was a mess in She’s Gotta Have It: self-absorbed, rude, condescending, jealous. He literally claimed he changed Nola for the better, even if she preferred to be a “typical Brooklyn tackhead.” But in real life, Terrell isn’t all that bad. Last time we saw him for real, he was a replacement lead singer in the movie The Five Heartbeats, but he’s actually stayed busy. He’s appeared on TV shows, including “Law & Order,” and movies like Boomerang, and The Return of Superfly, and just recently, he showed up in a random movie called White Men Can’t Rap and Leaf in 2008.

 

Tommy Redmond Hicks

For a minute there, we really thought Nola Darling was going to pick and stay with Jamie Overstreet, the fella Mars said had a chicken-McNugget head. He put up with her ish long enough, and after giving an ultimatum that she initially played off, she came back around to get back with him. Of course, Darling dumped him when she realized she wasn’t a one-woman man, and our sweet friend Jamie was back out on the hunt. Since doing the movie, he’s also shown up in The Meteor Man and The Five Heartbeats, and TV shows such as “Seinfeld,” “Men Behaving Badly,” “Charmed,” and “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Currently, he’s a member of the Kuumba Speakers Series.

Giancarlo Esposito

Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito has been in many Spike Lee joints over the years as many eclectic characters. From Julian, “Big Brother Almighty!” in School Daze, to the annoying “Buggin’ Out” in Do The Right Thing, and Left Hand Lacey in Mo Better Blues, your man stays busy. That’s very clear with his hefty filmography. These days he’s best known for his work on the show, “Breaking Bad,” as well as “Bakersfield, P.D.,””Homicide Life On The Street,” “Once Upon a Time,” and the new series,”Revolution.” He’s not “forgotten,” but he’s a familiar and favorite face of ours in Spike’s films.

Kyme Hersi-Sallid

I’m sure you remember Dap’s (Laurence Fishburne) girlfriend, Rachel Meadows. She was the young black sista with the cool high-top fade and the beautiful skin. She beefed constantly with Tisha Campbell’s character of Jane Touissant (which of course culminated in the “Good and Bad Hair” number) and even found herself at odds with Dap when she told him she wanted to pledge Delta. But since doing the movie, Kyme has stuck to smaller television roles in shows like “NYPD Blue,” “Frasier” and “24.” But her true passion has always been dance. She started the Performing Arts Academy at The Charter High School of the Arts in Van Nuys, California, and has also judged many big dance competitions. The fade is gone, but she still looks great!

Joie Lee

Spike’s little sister has been in most of his movies since his career took off, and it wasn’t until Mo’ Better Blues that she had the chance to have a real prominent role in one of his flicks, when she portrayed Indigo Downes, one of Denzel’s girlfriends. Lucky gal, because he was looking tooooo good in that movie! She also wrote and produced, Crooklyn. Aside from appearing in his movies, Joie has been in the movie Coffee and Cigarettes, the show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and last appeared in the movie, Window on Your Present, in 2010.

 

Cynda Williams *

While most Spike Lee joints produce strong female characters, if not leads, with the exception of Kerry Washington, most don’t blow up when the movie ends. If you’ve watched the awesomeness that is Mo’ Better Blues, her first film role, then you probably remember Williams as the very ambitious and beautiful Clarke Bentancourt. She was lucky as hell, playing one of the arm pieces of Denzel Washington’s Bleek, even though he was getting his polyamorous-ness on by seeing other women. She was great in the movie, and afterwards she attained quite a few roles, but none that big or notable. Let’s see, there was one guest role on “New York Undercover,” the film, Black Rose in Harlem, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (the TV movie starring Halle Berry), MacArthur Park, Divine Intervention, and she just finished the movie Turning Point this year. She’s back!

Bill Nunn

Another familiar face from Spike’s joints, Bill Nunn has played an array of interesting characters, but none more interesting and complex than Radio Raheem in Do The Right Thing. His death was the catalyst for a lot of chaos in the movie, and it was sad–all he wanted to do was play his music. Since then, Nunn hasn’t been thirsty for work, he’s been getting more than most can handle. He’s been in everything from Sister Act, and Bulletproof, to Idlewild and the new Viola Davis film, Won’t Back Down. He’s also been in many TV movies, and was on the series, “The Job.”

Lonette McKee

A veteran actress in the game, Lonette McKee has been in a wide variety of movies, and many Spike Lee joints. Her biggest role for him, though, might have been when she played Wesley Snipe’s scorned wife, Drew Purify. A woman scarred by teasing because of her light skin, Purify didn’t appreciate when Snipes’ character of Flipper Purify cheated on her with a white woman. After giving such a great performance, McKee continued on in Spike Lee joints, including He Got Game and Malcolm X, and she also appeared in movies like Men of Honor, ATL and recently the movie, LUV. She had a guest role on “Third Watch,” and appeared on shows like, “Half & Half,” and “The Game.” She hopes to open a performing arts center in New York, and has also performed a one-woman memoir with music around the U.S.

Theresa Randle *

The 48-year-old actress has been acting since ’87 and has starred alongside everyone from Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys, to Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny in Space Jam. But it wasn’t until Spike Lee picked her to play Girl 6 in the movie of the same name as an out-of-work actress who tries her hand at phone sex for a living that we actually got to see her shine in a lead role. She was pretty, had a good voice and pretty good acting talents, so where did she disappear off to? Well, she’s been here and there since the ’96 film. She did Spawn with Michael Jai White, Bad Boys II, appeared in a couple episodes of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and did a short-lived Lifetime show called “State of Mind.” But her last film role was 2010′s S**t Year. It’s 2012, girl, come back!

Savion Glover

Famed and fabulous tap star Savion Glover of course returned to the movie screen after a hiatus to play naive but Hollywood-hopeful Manray, a homeless fella who gets the opportunity to show off his tap skills, but has to do so in blackface. Glover was doing huge things before he starred in the movie, and he’s continued to do so since the 2000 release. He’s been touring and of course choreographed the tap numbers in the Happy Feet movies and has even appeared on a Talib Kweli album: Quality.

De’Aundre Bonds

Most people remember De’Aundre Bond’s face from movies like, Sunset Park and The Wood, but I remember this fella most from his role in Get on The Bus. You know, that one movie with all the black men trying to successfully make their way to the Million Man March in DC? In the movie, Bonds played “Smooth,” who was shackled to his father after getting arrested for theft. He had a mouth and a bad attitude on him, and spoke of his desire to do gangsta rap. But by the end of the movie, father and son had reconnected after years of stress and strife. Since doing movies like that, Bonds was supposed to play Antwone Fisher, but he unfortunately had to serve 11 years in prison after stabbing his aunt’s boyfriend who allegedly attacked him. But since he’s come out, Bonds has already started getting back into acting. He’ll appear in the movie, Gangster Squad, with Ryan Gosling, which comes out next year, and he hopes to start a clothing line and write a book and documentary about his life.

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  • MsWright2U

    Cynda Williams was in a great Phyllica Rashad produced(maybe directed) play here in Chicago called ‘Immediate Family’ and was phenomenal! I believe she is also a singer.

    Great list!

  • baddvixentype

    still love me some STACI!

  • baddvixentype

    so we just gone forget that Lonette McKee played the overly great “sista” in sparkle!?

  • ashley79

    We just saw him at the Emmys, but I’m surprised that the author didn’t mention that he was nominated for Breaking Bad.

  • Negress

    Giancarlo was reaching for an Emmy Sunday night in case you missed it.

  • De’Aundre Bonds is such a great character actor and hope that the business is very forgiving to him. Looking forward to his comeback!!

  • What about Big Brother Dr FEEL-Good? i remember he was on A Different World as Whitley’s other boo-thang…

  • DEAN! Big Brother AL-MIGHT-TY! I’ll forever have a crush on Giancarlo, that’s a handsome brother! He aged very well!

    • cha cha

      Me too! I have had a crush on him for YEARS! He still looks good! And I usually am not really attracted to older men, but he looks GOOOOOOOD!

      • Marco

        Giancarlos’ not missing …he’s on the HBO series Breaking Bad.

        • Negress

          “was” on AMC, now he’s on NBC’s Revolution.