I’m something of a Netflix-head, and I noticed recently that the movie Belly was added to “Instant” watch. Score! Trust me, I know that it isn’t a modern-day classic or anything like that, but the 1998 film, which many would classify as one long and beautifully shot but poorly written movie, definitely was entertaining. I just so happened to watch it last night while nursing a cold and I wondered what the actors had been up to since doing the film. So in case you were wondering, here is an update on the cast of Belly.
Nas as Sincere
Nas didn’t give the best performance as Sincere (I mean, he delivered most lines as monotonous as possible), but who was expecting Denzel-caliber work? After Belly, Nas decided to stick to rapping for the most part, but continued to try his hand here and there at acting. He was in Sacred is the Flesh, “Hawaii Five-0” and most recently was cast as Street Poet Isaiah in Black Nativity. He has been able to fuse both his music and film together with the upcoming documentary on his life, Nas: Time Is Illmatic.
DMX as Tommy “Buns” Bundy
DMX’s portrayal of money hungry Tommy might have been the best acting work in the film, and the rapper enjoyed playing a gangster so much, he did it quite a few times. Remember? Romeo Must Die? Cradle 2 The Grave? Never Die Alone? Exit Wounds? Yeah, Dark Man X’s acting career, like his music career, was doing very well for a while, but his personal troubles, continued arrests, drug possessions and issues with parenting his many kids plagued a once promising future. DMX is back to touring and hopefully getting himself together.
Taral Hicks as Keisha
Many people remember Hicks as Jane in A Bronx Tale, but many others know her as sassy Keisha, Tommy’s faithful lady–even if he’s being far from faithful to her. Hicks was both a singer and actor, and put out an album called This Time that did…well, not that great. From there, she took a break from movies and music. But the wife (she now goes by Taral Hicks-Dawson) and mother has done work here and there. She was in Jaheim’s video for “Put That Woman First,” was in the movie The Salon and is currently working on a film called Where Hearts Lie. She’s also a lover of natural hair, showing hers off on her Instagram page.
T-Boz as Tionne
Belly wasn’t T-Boz’s first go-round as an actress. With the ladies of TLC (and one time without them), the singer appeared in House Party 3 and “Living Single.” But after the movie, she got rid of the acting bug. However, T-Boz knows how to make a good movie! She was one of the producers of the hit movie ATL and helped bring TLC’s story to VH1 as executive producer of CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.
Tyrin Turner as Rico
I can never get that banana chomping scene out of my head, nor that Mary Tyler Moore flip he was rocking. Turner played Big Head Rico in the movie and caused quite a bit of trouble when he called the police on Tommy’s team, as they were trespassing on his drug-selling territory in Nebraska. Turner, who is known for playing Caine in Menace II Society, took on some movie roles here and there after Belly, but is mostly sticking to behind-the-scenes work these days, including doing sketch writing for the work of funny men like Affion Crocket and Jamie Foxx.
Method Man as Shameek (aka Mike Love)
Shameek was down for any and all types of foolishness, and he proved that in Belly when he went after Big Head Rico and Keisha for his friend Knowledge. The M-E-T-H-O-D Man continued playing troublemakers in movies and on TV, including Tug Daniels on “The Wire,” Melvin “Cheese” Wagstaff (was he Randy’s dad on the show and we didn’t know it?) on “The Wire” and Muggsy in Soul Plane. Method Man just completed the movies Seasons of Love and Trainwreck, and recently reunited with Wu-Tang Clan.
Hassan Johnson as Mark
Just like Method Man, Hassan Johnson jumped from playing faithful right hand man in Belly to another trigger-happy character in Wee-Bey on “The Wire.” Johnson, who is still pretty handsome, is still hard at work as an actor, recently doing work on “The Blacklist,” finishing up acting in two films and even doing voice work for “Grand Theft Auto V.”
Louie Rankin as Ox
I personally could barely understand anything Louie Rankin said as Jamaican drug lord Lennox, but what I did hear and agree with was that he was a baaaaaad man, and you don’t want to “romp with a bumbaclot.” We were sad to see Ox go out with a knife to the throat in the movie, but Rankin, a big dancehall performer, continued being a big boss in films, including 2002’s Shottas. He also has a record label and made it know a few years back that he isn’t that big of a fan of Beyoncé and Jay Z…
Oliver “Power” Grant as Knowledge
You rarely got a real good glimpse of Knowledge in Belly, but like Tommy, he was calling a lot of the shots, especially when he was behind bars. In real life, Oliver “Power” Grant really does call a lot of shots, and calls Method Man a friend, as Grant is credited as the one who put the Wu-Tang Clan together and helped brand the group’s clothing line, WuWear. Grant continues to be a big entrepreneur and actor, and has acted in the films When Will I Be Loved and played Wendy Williams’ husband Kevin in the small movie based on her life, Queen of Media.
Vita as Kionna
The former Murder Inc. rapper, born LaVita Raynor, played the underage boo of Tommy. We first get a glimpse of her in the movie when Keisha calls her pink phone to find out that Kionna had been creeping with her man. All these years later, Vita is still out here rapping, working in the studio trying to put out new material. You can follow her on Twitter. Good luck, Vita!
Dr. Ben Chavis as Minister Benjamin F. Muhammed
Who could forget The Minister? He was Tommy’s only way out of jail time (if he took out the powerful preacher) and the only person who could help Tommy get his life together. Minister Muhammed was played by Dr. Ben Chavis, Hip Hop Summit Action Network co-founder, National African American Leadership Summit CEO/co-founder and civil rights activist. Chavis was most recently made (as in June) the interim president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which advocates for the publishers of black newspapers still surviving in the United States.