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AJ Johnson, Rosie Perez, Jennifer Lopez

Source: Emma McIntyre/Roy Rochlin/Toni Anne Barson / Getty

AJ Johnson is a respected dancer, wellness advocate and lifestyle coach who is also known for her appearances in several groundbreaking films and TV shows including, Skin Deep, The Inkwell, Assassins, Dying Young and Sister Act.

But two of her biggest performances came from her appearance as “Sharane” in 1990’s House Party and for her role as “Juanita” in John Singleton’s critically acclaimed 2001 film, Baby Boy. Johnson is currently re-engaging her acting chops, and stars in UMC’s latest romance series, Stuck With You.

In a recent sit down with Page Six, Johnson revealed another accolade would have been added to her high-profile resume had fate not stepped in. In the early 90’s Johnson claims that she nagged the coveted role of head choreographer for In Living Color, but had to reconsider taking it due to being offered one of the lead role’s in House Party.

“The schedules conflicted between ‘Living Color’ and ‘House Party,’ so [the show’s creator, Keenen Ivory Wayans,] was like, ‘You have to choose.’ And I said, ‘OK. I’ll play the lead in a movie,’ ” she said. “And I said, ‘I’ll do you one even greater — I’ll find you my replacement so you’re not missing anything.’”

Both House Party and In Living Color would go on to become iconic stapes of the culture.

Johnson told Wayans that he should take a look at one of her dancing buddies from the New York club scene, Rosie Perez, and the rest is history. Perez had already gained buzz and exposure from her role in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, but the choreographer gig on one of the pivotal sketch comedy shows of the last 30 years helped catapulted her into the mainstream.

But Wayans had an additional request and asked that she find another dancer to replace her.

Johnson reached out to Perez again and said, “‘Rosie, bring the heavy chick — the Puerto Rican girl’ — and that was Jennifer.”

Kudos to Johnson for looking out for Perez and Lopez as the three of them ascended from Fly Girls and dancers to respected Hollywood icons.

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