Where Are They Now: The Cast of Gullah Gullah Island
You know I love a good “Where Are They Now” and today I’m going to bring you up to date on the groundbreaking show that was on for three seasons and thrived on NickJr: “Gullah Gullah Island.” Well, enough talking, “come and let’s play together, in the bright sunny weather,” and find out where some of the cast is now:
One half of the central couple of the show. Ron Daise and his (real) wife came with their (fake) family and taught viewers about the Gullah costal lifestyle and also taught life lessons to the viewers.
Ron Daise wasn’t just a performer, but also a historian and author. He started out as a reporter, and began writing articles about the Gullah community in South Carolina that he eventually put in his first book “Reminisces of Sea Island Heritages.” He wrote multiple books and has a blog, The Gullah and African Connection that discusses his lectures and studies at colleges. He released a CD named “Sweet Surprises,” (which was very touching) and he and his wife continue to perform.
Speaking of his wife…
To complete the duo is Natalie Daise. She was the upper pitch when they sang duet who was so loving and always had a smile on her face.
She and her husband continue to release music, write books and tour talking about the Gullah lifestyle. She’s also raising her two children (Sara and Simeon, who were on the show). She designs furniture and art, which is available for purchase (she was featured on HGTV for her decorating skills). She also keeps an amazing blog, GullahMama, she continues to tour with her husband and is an actress in multiple plays.
You see the cute little boy held by the
repulsive yellow creature Binyah-Binyah? That’s Simeon, that is Ron and Natalie’s actual son. He started on the show as a toddler, and as the show went on, you got to watch him grow.
As of now, Simeon has kept it low key, but his mother talks about him in her blog and he’s turning twenty next year.
The actor who played their older son, James (real name James Edward Coleman III) hasn’t acted since the show, and therefore we can’t find a definite current photo of him.
So let’s move on to…
Shaina M. Freeman was a child actress on the show, portraying the Daise’s daughter. Though she wasn’t their actual child, she fit in well with the cast as the first Shaina. She actually had to leave the cast because her family moved and she was replaced.
Since leaving the show, she stopped acting and went off to Auburn College to major in nursing.
Tristan Mays as Shaina #2
When Shaina M. Freeman left the show, she was replaced by Tristan in its last year.
Tristan has stayed extremely active in acting, a shortened list of her credentials are: appearing as a series regular in “Alias,” and the web series “Private.” She also appeared in “Everybody Hates Chris,” and few other Nickelodeon shows like “Victorious,” “Big Time Rush,” and “Zeke and Luther.” She also did a web series, “FAIL,” with her fellow Gullah Gullah star Vanessa, and was in the movie “Thunderstruck.” She was also in the music group “Jane 3” that released the single “Screensaver.”
Vanessa played the cousin who stayed with the family. She was fun, helpful, and slightly sassy.
For those who don’t remember her on “Gullah Gullah Island,” you might remember her as Kenan’s sister on “Kenan and Kel” or for even having a bit part in “My Brother and Me.” Vanessa continued to act, but stopped to go to college. She came back full force after gaining her degree from Florida State University and produces and stars in the hilarious web series “FAIL.”
Ana Christina Randolph as Marisol
Marisol, for some, was the breakout actress. Though she was just a recurring character, there are blogs where people reveal how boys had crushes on her and girls wanted to be like her.
Since ending the show, Ana appeared in the show “Safe Harbor,” which only had one season, but has since focused more on modeling and her music. Her music is really pretty good, with a nod to her multicultural heritage, so check it out.
Greg Davis Jr. as Greg
A friend from the neighborhood, Greg would occasional stop by, sing a song, and participate in a choreographed dance scene.
After the show, Greg continued to act, appearing in shows like “The Shield,” “CSI: NY,” “Lincoln Heights,” and “10 Items or Less.” He has dabbled in voice acting for the video game “L.A. Noire,” and he just appeared in the movie Ghost Soldiers.
Binyah Binyah Polliwog
Binyah Binyah was an integral part of the show. With his hopping and dancing (and occasionally appearing in my nightmares) he was a visual aid for children to encourage them to get into the Gullah lifestyle.
Two actors donned the Binyah Binyah suit. The first was Philip D. Garcia who was a performer who tragically died in a car accident in 1996.
The second was Justin Campbell, a performer who specializes in pyrotechnics, set designing and so forth donned the suit for the last season. Justin Campbell is now a NBC executive who specializes in ergonomics.