Paula Jai Parker is a Black American actress, comedian, director, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her appearances in Hustle and Flow, Sprung, Phone Booth, The Wayans Bros., and Idlewild. Parker was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Washington, D.C. in 1987 to study at Howard University. The Howard graduate is Black womanhood personified. With or without a leading role Parker is always memorable. Many may know her from the aforementioned shows and movies, but the following is a list of 5 reasons why Paula J. Parker is a Hood Legend.
5. Why do fools fall in love (1998)
Any movie with a lineup starring the likes of Larenz Tate, Vivica Fox, and Lela Rochon, promises to be a hood classic. Parker played a role in the iconic biopic of cultural celebrity Frankie Lymon. The movie was named after his doo-wop hit Why Do Fools Fall in Love. Pop legend Frankie Lymon’s life would be claimed at the age of 25 as a result of drug use. His story of tragedy and triumph grossed over 12 million in the Box office. Although Parker was not the leading lady here, the entire cast made history as part of an American story that never dies.
4. Tales From The Hood (1995)
If you ever wanted to scare a black man without calling the police or his mother, this is the way to do it. Black people don’t do horror often, but when they do, they do it well. At number 4 on our list of 5 reasons Paula J. Parker is a Hood legend, is the movie Tales From the Hood. With a line-up that includes the likes of Joe Torey, the late actor Clarence Williams III, and David Alan Grier – we can conclude that this is a Black American classic. The 40 acres and a Mule film has Parker cast in the role of “Sissy”, an abused mother of two boys, one of whom had supernatural powers. Sissy was able to free herself and her children from the horrors of her abusive husband by destroying a drawing of him made by her soon with hoodoo powers. It is a must-see but first a word of caution, watch at your own risk, it’s good enough to scare you for years to come.
3. Woo (1998)
Again, the line-up matters. The epic casting call for the movie Woo had come to an end finalizing Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tommy Davidson, Duane Martin, and others along with Parker as the cast. The Rom-Com was full of action, drama, and comedy. It wasn’t the greatest film in the world, in fact, they spent more on making the film than they were able to make back in the box office, but that’s a hood movie for you. Sometimes hood classics are low budget, sometimes they don’t do well, but they are memorable and we quote them as if they are scriptural references.
2. Trudy Proud – The Proud Family
When Disney decided to give the public an authentic black family they gave us the Proud Family with Paula J Parker as the voice of Dr. Gertrude Proud. Dr. Gertrude Parker-Proud is the mother of Penny, BeBe and CeCe, and Oscar’s wife. Trudy Proud is a veterinarian who comes from a relatively wealthy family. The cartoon broke as many stereotypes as it endorsed but we appreciate a predominantly black cast being paid Disney Dollars. Again with the lineup; Kyla pratt, Cedric The Entertainer, and Jo Marie Payton ( the mother from the sitcom Family Matters). This is an incredibly authentically, classically, black lineup of talented actors that made history here.
“Craig you know I love yo’ mama” If you ever wanted to see how a woman with three lines in a movie can make herself as memorable as the leads themselves, consider the movie Friday. Parker played the ghetto-fabulous girlfriend of Ice Cubes character Craig Jones. In reality, Paula J Parker served us one-liners that were as memorable a those of the character Smokey Played by Chris Tucker. Due to the expletives involved, I won’t mention those here, but again I say – mind the lineup when you are considering a hood classic. The Friday movie consisted of the late John Witherspoon, the late Tommy Lister, the late Bernie Mac, Faizon love, Anthony johnson, and all manner of foundational actors and entertainers who built a cultural classic that is referenced until today. To be any part of this is an incredible accomplishment. These are 5 reasons why Paula J. Parker, is a hood legend.