Paula Jai Parker

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Paula Jai Parker
Born (1969-08-19) August 19, 1969 (age 45)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Howard University
Occupation Comedian, Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Forrest Martin (m. 2004) (1 child)

Paula Jai Parker (born August 19, 1969) is an American actress and comedian. She is best known of her roles in the films Hustle & Flow, Friday, Idlewild, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Phone Booth, She Hate Me, The Genius Club, and as the voice of matriarch Trudy Proud on the Disney Channel animated sitcom The Proud Family. She currently stars as one of five members on the TV One's reality show Hollywood Divas.


Parker was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Washington, D.C. in 1987 to study at Howard University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she moved to New York City and played a number of clubs. Her reputation as a comedian earned her a place on the FOX comedy program "The Apollo Comedy Hour," filmed live at the legendary Apollo Theater. She left the show after one year to pursue a film career, taking memorable roles in the F. Gary Gray urban comedy Friday and earned a Cable ACE Award for her role in the HBO anthology presentation, Cosmic Slop.[1]


Parker returned to television in 1995 in the WB television series The Wayans Bros. opposite Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Throughout the 1990s, she appeared in several short-lived shows, including 1997's The Weird Al Show and David E. Kelley's Snoops in 1999. Between television projects, she appeared in a number of films, including the Million Man March docudrama Get on the Bus (1996), the urban comedy Sprung (1997), the Frankie Lymon biography, Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998), the ensemble comedy 30 Years to Life (2001), Cover (playing a woman who is married to a bisexual man), and as a lesbian in the LGBT comedy-drama, She Hate Me (2004).

In 2000, Parker voiced the sophisticated matriarch Trudy Proud in the popular animated series The Proud Family.[2] The series became a success, and has continued to be produced by Disney and gain a positive standing among television critics. Between voice sessions, Parker has continued to take supporting roles in films. She portrayed such characters in 2002's "High Crimes", 2003's Phone Booth and 2005's Hustle & Flow". A Proud Family film was released directly to DVD in late 2005. She also starred in My Baby's Daddy as Eddie Griffin's son's mother, Rolanda. Parker was also featured in the television series Touched by an Angel. Parker played the role of Billie Holiday on the episode entitled "God Bless the Child" which is a song by Billie Holiday.

In 2006, Parker starred in the feature film The Genius Club for writer/director Tim Chey. She plays a genius with an I.Q. of 229 who must solve the world's problems in one night.

Paula Jai Parker appeared in music video "I Belong to You" by singer Rome and in music video "Follow My Lead" by 50 Cent featuring Robin Thicke. In 1999, she made a cameo appearance in the music video "I Really Like It" by Harlem World with Tracy Bingham and Tia and Tamera Mowery. In 2001, Parker appeared in the music video for "Girls, Girls, Girls" by rapper Jay-Z with fellow actresses Tamala Jones and Carmen Electra.

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.[3] 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. [4]


Television Work[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Moon, Spencer. Reel Black talk: a sourcebook of 50 American filmmakers, p. 169 (1997)
  2. ^ Everything the Hottest Cartoon Voices Can't Live Without, VIBE (August 2003)
  3. ^ (8 August 2005). Happy & In Love, Jet
  4. ^ "Paula Jai Parker: A Mz Mahogany Chic Interview". Mz Mahogany Chic. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 

External links[edit]