Paula Jai Parker

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Paula Jai Parker
Born (1969-08-19) August 19, 1969 (age 46)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Education Howard University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Forrest Martin (m. 2004) (1 child)

Paula Jai Parker (born August 19, 1969) is an American actress, comedian and director. She had number of supporting roles in films, including Friday (1995), Sprung (1997), Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998), Phone Booth (2002), Hustle & Flow (2005), and Idlewild (2006). Parker also known for her voice of Trudy Proud in the Disney Channel animated comedy series, The Proud Family (2001-2005).

Early life[edit]

Parker was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Washington, D.C. in 1987 to study at Howard University.[1] After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she moved to New York City and played a number of clubs. From 1992 to 1993, she performed on the FOX comedy program The Apollo Comedy Hour, filmed live at the legendary Apollo Theater, and later was cast member on the short-lived sketch show, Townsend Television.[2]


In 1995, Parker has made her film debut in the F. Gary Gray urban comedy Friday. In same year, she earned a Cable ACE Award for her role in the HBO anthology presentation, Cosmic Slop.[3] Later that year, Parker returned to television in the WB sitcom, The Wayans Bros. opposite Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Throughout the 1990s, she appeared in several short-lived shows, including CBS sitcom The Weird Al Show (1997), and David E. Kelley's ABC comedy-drama, Snoops (1999).[1]

During 1990s, Parker had supporting roles in a number of films. She has appeared in the 1995 horror anthology Tales from the Hood, Spike Lee's Million Man March drama Get on the Bus (1996), the urban comedy Sprung (1997), Jada Pinkett Smith starring romantic comedy Woo (1997), the Frankie Lymon biography, Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998). In the early 2000s, Parker co-starred in 30 Years to Life, High Crimes, Phone Booth, and My Baby's Daddy.[1] In 2004, she played the lesbian woman in the LGBT comedy-drama, She Hate Me, and appeared as Ruth Brown in biographical film Ray. Her breakthrough has in the 2005 independent drama Hustle & Flow starring Terrence Howard. She later was cast opposite Howard in musical film Idlewild (2006).[4]

From 2001 to 2005, Parker voiced the sophisticated matriarch Trudy Proud in the Disney Channel animated comedy series, The Proud Family.[5] She also voiced her role in the 2005 film The Proud Family Movie. She also played the role of Billie Holiday on the episode of Touched by an Angel in 2000, and later guest starred on The Shield, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, My Name Is Earl, and The Mentalist. She co-starred in the 2007 thriller film Cover starring Aunjanue Ellis, and in later years worked in low-profile independent movies.[4]

From 2013 to 2014, Parker had the recurring role in the HBO series, True Blood during show' seventh and final season. In 2014, she was cast as one of five leads on the TV One reality series, Hollywood Divas.[6] In 2015, Parker was cast in the recurring roles on the Amazon drama Hand of God, and ABC Family series, Recovery Road.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Parker married Forrest Martin in 2004. The couple met on the set of Hustle & Flow, where Forrest, who had just graduated with a Master of Fine Arts was working as an intern.[8] Paula almost passed on shooting the critically acclaimed movie and only took the part at the urging of her manager. They have one son, Onederful. [9]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Cosmic Slop Tang Television film
CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Drama
1995 Friday Joi
1995 Tales from the Hood Sissy Johnson
1996 Don't Be a Menace to South Central... Drunk Party Girl
1996 Get on the Bus Jamilia
1997 Riot Lisa Segment "Homecoming Day"
1997 Sprung Adina
1998 Always Outnumbered Melodie
1998 Woo Claudette
1998 Why Do Fools Fall in Love Paula King
1999 The Breaks Ann
2001 30 Years to Life Stephanie
2002 High Crimes Gracie
2002 Phone Booth Felicia
2003 Love Chronicles Sara
2004 My Baby's Daddy Rolonda
2004 She Hate Me Evelyn
2004 Ray Ruth Brown
2005 Hustle & Flow Lexus Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2005 The Proud Family Movie Trudy Parker-Proud Voice
2005 Animal Reecy
2006 Idlewild Rose
2006 The Genius Club Tatiana
2007 Cover Monica Wilson
2011 King of the Underground Elizabeth Gayle
2013 When a Woman's Fed Up Laticious
2013 Life of a King Gina Sanders
2013 Pastor Shirley Pastor Shirley
2014 4Play Linda
2014 Patterns of Attraction Desiree Stewart
2014 You Me & Her Karen Short film
2014 Act of Faith Shartruce
2015 The Summoning Angela
2015 The White Sistas Jordan White Also director
2015 Taco Shop Eve
2015 Last Call at Murray's Danice
2015 Assistant Motives Joyce Miller


Year Title Role Notes
1992-1993 The Apollo Comedy Hour Performer Series regular
1993 Townsend Television Performer Series regular
1994 Roc Jill Episode: "No Place Like Home"
1995 Pointman Udia Episode: "Silent Auction"
1995-1996 The Wayans Bros. Monique Series regular, 13 episodes
1997 The Parent 'Hood Sabrina Episode: "Wendell and I Spy"
1997 The Weird Al Show Val Brentwood-Gal Spy Series regular, 13 episodes
1997 Cosby Tanya Episode: "The Two Hilton Lucases"
1998 NYPD Blue Cara Wilson Episode: "Speak for Yourself, Bruce Clayton"
1999-2000 Snoops Roberta Young Series regular, 13 episodes
2000 Touched by an Angel Billie Holiday Episode: "God Bless the Child"
2004 The Shield Desirae Episode: "Cracking Ice"
2001-2005 The Proud Family Trudy Parker-Proud Voice, 51 episodes
2005 Lilo & Stitch: The Series Trudy Parker-Proud Episode: "Spats: Experiment #397"
2005 CSI: Miami Deana Walters Episode: "Shattered"
2006 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Julia Beltran Episode: "Toe Tags"
2007 Side Order of Life Stargell Grant Recurring role, 7 episodes
2008 My Name Is Earl Sylvia Episode: "Orphan Earl"
2009 Fear Itself Patty Orwell Episode: "Something with Bite"
2010 The Mentalist Astrid Episode: "Red Sky at Night"
2012 Let's Stay Together Sherry Steele Episode: "Inspect Me, Inspect Me Not"
2012 The Exes Amelia Episode: "How Holly Got Her Groove Back"
2013 The Soul Man Drew Episode: "Bride and Prejudice"
2012-2014 Family Time Lori Recurring role, 6 episodes
2013-2014 True Blood Karen Recurring role, 5 episodes
2014-present Hollywood Divas Herself Reality series
2015 Hand of God Ida Congdon Recurring role
2016 Recovery Road Margarita Jean-Baptiste Recurring role


  1. ^ a b c Paula Jai Parker Biography б The New York Times
  2. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 1223. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 
  3. ^ Moon, Spencer. Reel Black talk: a sourcebook of 50 American filmmakers, p. 169 (1997)
  4. ^ a b "Paula Jai Parker Homeless, 'Blackballed' By Hollywood -". Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Everything the Hottest Cartoon Voices Can't Live Without, VIBE (August 2003)
  6. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (16 May 2014). "TV One Expands ‘Diva’ Franchise w/ Launch of ‘Hollywood D - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  7. ^ [ Award-winning Actress, Paula Jai Parker, Discusses Her Lead In The New TV One Film – The Summoning]
  8. ^ (8 August 2005). Happy & In Love, Jet
  9. ^ "Paula Jai Parker: A Mz Mahogany Chic Interview". Mz Mahogany Chic. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 

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