It’s the holiday season and that has us thinking about one of our favorite holiday, family movies: Soul Food. It’s black cinema at its best and one of the most authentic and entertaining. So you know we have to highlight the crazy characters and actors portraying them, right? But if we do the movie, we have to do the equally successful series. And with great ensemble casts, we know you’re dying to know where the stars of both the motion picture and series are today after such a highlight in each of their careers. So let’s take a look and see what these characters have been up to since we last saw them on the big and small screen.
Vivica A. Fox
It’s sad actually how her career has plummeted not that long after playing Maxine in Soul Food. She went from being one of the most sought after actresses in Black Hollywood to b-movies. I blame the many (unnecessary) surgeries. She could have been the most successful actor to appear on this list. Well, duking it out with Nia Long and Vanessa L. Williams. Anyways, she still made an impact in mainstream and Black Hollywood films — including Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998), Two Can Play That Game (2001) and Kill BIll Vol. 1 (2003). She’s co-starring on “Mr. Box Office” with some other movie projects in the works, and she recently called out Stacey Dash’s ratchetness — bringing up some good points.
She’s had a pretty decent career in Hollywood prior and post Soul Food. She played the youngest Joseph sister, Bird, who gets herself in trouble with her husband by asking an ex for help. She’s starred in some of our favorite black films of the 1990s and has taken supporting roles in other mainstream motion pictures. She’s doing just fine 20+ plus years into her career — especially with highly-anticipated sequel, The Best Man Holiday.
Vanessa L. Williams
She’s probably the most successful actor on this list. She’s been around since her controversial Miss America pageant days in the early 1980s. But she bounced back and has worked not only in film, but TV, music, theatre and modeling. She’s a well-rounded entertainer. Her latest show “666 Park Avenue” did not make it past its first season. But her broadway play, The Trip to Bountiful is being made into a TV movie. She’s working in more ways than one. Not to mention she looks like she did 30 years ago during her Miss America days.
Irma P. Hall
The heart of not only the film, but the series, Hall, who played Mother Joe, became an actress by accident in 1973. She was a teacher who happened to be reading a piece of poetry by actor/director Raymond St. Jacques who casted her in the film Book of Numbers. Since then, she’s been an actress for 40 years. She has an upcoming role in the film, Uncommon (2014).
His career was still blossoming when he co-starred in Soul Food as Bird’s husband Lem with a troubled past. In those early days, a 20-something Phifer definitely represented young Black Hollywood. Since, he’s grown into a variety of even more adults roles in both film and TV. His next mainstream film, Divergent (2014) is awaiting release for next March.
He played Teri’s two-timing husband, Miles. He was a musician at heart when he started a new relationship in the family. Mmm hmm. But Beach himself has been a working actor for more than 30 years — TV, movies and plays! He’s been recently featured in TV’s “The Client List” and mainstream horror sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2. This brother has been working with more than 100 credits to his name.
Jeffrey D. Sams
Is it just me or was Kenny a lot more goofy in the movie? Anyways, Sams might be on a lower key than his film’s castmates or even some of the series counterparts. But he’d consistently worked in the business post-movie — especially doing PLENTY of TV work. Although he’s fortunately continued to book jobs, many of his TV series seem to not make it past its first season . This has been going on since 1997. However, he’s consistently booked guest appearances on TV, as well — including his first in four years on the new ABC Family drama, “Twisted.”
He’s definitely one of the most recognizable black child stars — featured in other films Menace ll Society (1993), Tales from the Hood (1995), Waiting to Exhale (1995), Strange Days (2005) and Space Jam (1996). Since his starring role as narrator Ahmad, Maxine’s and Kenny’s son, who fights to bring his family back together. Ironically, his last major role was in the TV movie, “Our America” (2002) with Vanessa A. Williams — who would later go on to star in the “Soul Food” TV series. He’s now attempting a career in filmmaking.
He played Bird’s ex and boy stirred up some trouble in the film. Since, he’s done some black plays/musicals, some TV movies and guest appearances on various TV shows. His most notable roles since the Soul Food film were in The Temptations (1998), Deliver Us From Eva (2003) and a starring role, Abduction of Jesse Bookman (2008).
If you had “faith” in her character in this movie. It was faith she was going to cause trouble and she did… with her cousin’s husband. Once again, mmm hmm. But anyways, Ravera played in other notable supporting roles in Kiss the Girls (1997), The Temptations (1997) and a decade later, The Great Debaters (2007). This is before, during and after co-starring and appearing on the small screen in movies and series’ dramas. She’s co-starred on many TV dramas including “ER” (2006-2008) and “The Closer” (2005-2009).
Soul Food: The Series
Williams played the youngest Joseph sister, Bird, in the series — a new wife and mother. After the show ended, she continued to get roles (like prior to the series) — playing more supporting roles like before in black films — like Idlewild (2006), Daddy’s Little Girls (2007) and First Sunday (2008). Then, she went on to co-star in more smaller black films.
Vanessa A. Williams
She’s been around for a minute. Most notably in her earlier career playing the token black girl in “Melrose Place”(1992) until they gave her character the boot, living next door to Candyman (1992) and playing evil, yet bada$$ in New Jack City (1991). Then, she starred in the “Soul Food” series as the most motherly Joseph sister. Since then, she’s done A LOT of TV movies, TV guest starring on “Lincoln Heights” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” and shorts.
Nicole Ari Parker
She took over the role of career-obsessed Teri Joseph in the series. And I remember watching her, thinking this character sure did change from being just an uptight, successful lawyer who couldn’t keep a man to a sex pot with anxiety issues. The hot love scenes between Parker and her co-star Boris Kodjoe sparked a real-life relationship and then, a marriage with two kids. She’s done movies while balancing family life including 35 & Ticking (2011) with Kevin Hart.
His character, Damon, was created for the series. And became every cougar’s wet dream. Then after some character development became an alcoholic and father. Like in the previous slide, Kodjoe has been married to his co-star Parker since 2005. And has been acting regularly since the show ended — remaining eye candy. He’s starring in a film with Sharon Leal called Addicted — coming out next year, and he can be seen on the “Real Husbands of Hollywood” — an improv comedy/reality show on BET.
Playing Ahmad Chadway is his most notable role. He’s done other minor projects, but hasn’t really worked as an actor since starring on the Showtime series. He does have a few current photos of himself on social media. He still looks like the character he played more than a decade ago. Same face (with added facial hair) and almost the same height.
Darrin Dewitt Henson
Henson definitely gave Lem Van Adams even more depth — maximizing on being a new family man always looking out for his family and doing the right thing (although, stumbling along the way). Since his “Soul Food” series days, he’s been working consistently in independent films. His most mainstream film being “Stomp the Yard” (2006) shortly after the show ended. But the dancer/actor has plenty of films in post-production and in production. Just check out his IMDB page.
He’s worked consistently in TV prior to the “Soul Food” series, but then he played the family man — a hard-working businessman, a loving father and devoted husband (with a minor slip up) who showed off his “assets” during love scenes with his wife. But after “Soul Food,” the roles keep pouring in. He did a lot MORE TV series — starring and guest starring. Most notably, he starred on the Fox hit “Prison Break” (2005-2009). After that ended, he still wasn’t finished. “Son of Anarchy” (starting in 2011) is his most recent TV role, but he did a yet-to-be-released film with Eva Marcille and Leon called Busted. After that he married his girlfriend Maya Gilbert earlier this year.