RBW Spotlight : Jennifer Lewis

By just saying her name you may not know who I'm talking about... but if I say she was:

2pac's mother in Poetic Justice

Mama Rose in the Temptations Movie

Whitney Houston's mother in the Preachers Wife

Anna Mae's mother in What's Love Got To Do With It

The boss of the phone operators in Girl 6

The obnoxious, over dramatic sister in Meet the Browns

or maybe you remember her as Dean Dorothy Davenport from A Different World

I could go on forever. She has been in over 80 movies and tv shows since 1987.

She has contributed so much to the film world. She is also a producer and speaks out candidly about the fact that she suffers from Bipolar disorder. To date their has never been a role that I have not completely fell in love with that she has played. There is something about her that reminds me of women in my family and how neurotic they can be at times. She's never nominated for the big awards, but best believe most of these films would not have been the same if she wasn't in them. She's always so full of life, whether on or off camera... and another example of "black don't crack" looking gorgeous at 51 years old.

Her latest role is in Bishop TD Jakes new film Not Easily Broken that will be in theaters on January 9th. Here is the trailer if you haven't seen it

What's your favorite role played by her?


Organized Noise December 16, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Dean Davenport will always be a favorite of mine.

Anonymous December 16, 2008 at 12:04 PM

I love her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think my fav is probably a tie between her roles in The Brothers and The Preachers Wife and Meet the Browns

oh and she was hilarious as Tony's mother on Girlfriends

AND she was hilarious as Aunt Lettie in Dirty Laundry

AND she can sing!! Her one woman show Bipolar, Bath, and Beyond was awesome!

Pocahontaz December 16, 2008 at 12:10 PM

I love jenniferlewis...or as she says JENNNIFUHLOOOIS all together..LMAO...she is indeed one of my favorite actresses and I will be seeing this movie!

My favorite role of her was in Brothers...she is a mess!

Oh and is a Bytch first...LOL

Eb the Celeb December 16, 2008 at 12:17 PM

@AJ - Girl I did not know she can sing... That 1 woman show sounds interesting

@Poca - sorry missy...lol... you were 3rd!

Urban Thought December 16, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Don't recall the name of the movie/show... But it was something like "Jackie's Back." Hilarity all around on that one.

The True Urban Queen aka Sharon December 16, 2008 at 12:42 PM

She played lead role as a Singer/Diva on a Lifetime movie. I have to go look up the name.
That is were I heard her sing myself.

Shy December 16, 2008 at 12:46 PM

I always enjoy her sillier roles, but I think the most memorable for me, that I think she did a really good job with was when she played in "Strong Medicine" as Lana Hawkins.

B December 16, 2008 at 1:10 PM

I love the mess out of this lady. Like..I really need for her to be my Aunt. I loved her as Lana in Strong Medicine and as the Aunt in Fresh Prince. She's wonderful. Loud but knowledgeable. Kinda like me.

RealHustla December 16, 2008 at 1:17 PM

I'm still wanna comment about the Semipro thing, but I don't know how to spell that teeth sucking noise. All I know is that ANY relationship that I know of that lasted any length of time was hard work. Harder work then the couple ever thought they would have to endure. Is this how it should be? I don't know.

Miss B December 16, 2008 at 1:21 PM

I liked her as Toni's mother on Girlfriends and Wills's Aunt on The Fresh Prince.

Ms TooFly December 16, 2008 at 1:33 PM

51? She looks great! I liked her as Toni's mother on Girlfriends

Eb the Celeb December 16, 2008 at 1:37 PM

@Realhustla - It wasn't a "relationship"... and the reason why I didn't allow comments on that post is because I don't want to talk about it and don't want advice. I understand what you are saying but I felt I have put enough time into a situation that ultimately wasn't going anywhere... its been a year and we still weren't exclusive.. that says a lot...FAVORITE vs. ONLY; not that he said that to me but that's just what I was feeling at the moment and I know I deserve better than the minute amount of effort he was showing

Few Redeeming Qualities.... December 16, 2008 at 1:42 PM

lol@orgainized noize, dean davenport was off the chain, You are on my LISTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!

Shai December 16, 2008 at 1:53 PM

She was the mom in the The Brothers movies. She played Morris Chestnut's mom. I love her! Funny and talented.

nikki December 16, 2008 at 2:03 PM

i love "YOU ARE ON MY LISTTTT!!!!"

frankly, i've loved her in every role. she's just real and reminds me of the females in my fam. i wish she received more accolades, but there's freedom in being beneath the radar. she won't be limited by the spotlight.

Monique December 16, 2008 at 2:14 PM

Every role she's been in was awesome. And it was because she called it like it was. I especially love her in "The Brothers". She's the type of single mother I can envision myself being.

Miss Definitely Maybe December 16, 2008 at 2:30 PM

liked her brief appearance in Madea's family reunion as the Weddding Planner, she is sooo overly dramatic in a funny way

Pajnstl December 16, 2008 at 2:42 PM

I always like her characters. She is FOREVER playing somebodies MAMA though.

One Ten December 16, 2008 at 2:51 PM

I'll have to agree w/ a few people above me...I have to say my favorite appearance of her was in The Brothers. LOL. She was HILARIOUS in that movie!!!

'The way you know if he loves you...'


Keith December 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM

I liked her best as Anna Mae Bullock(Tina Turner)'s mother in "What's Love Got to Do with it."
I find it funny that she played Angela Bassett's mother and she's only a year older than Angela Basset...(Just five year's older than Whitney Houston and she played her mother too.)She's a good looking woman..I wish they would write something just for her..Where she could play a sexy cougar or something..I'd pay to see it.

Smarty Jones December 16, 2008 at 3:51 PM

Diva Dean Dorothy Dandridge Davenport has got to be my favorite.
Especially the episode where Lena Horne guest starred and she walked around the whole episode singing, "Stormy Weather."
It's between that and when she played Toni's mama on "Girlfriends."
I absolutely love her and just about everything she does. I could have done without Nora's Hair Salon, but other than that, she's amazing.
I say, she's the only black actress who has played more people's Mama than Angela Bassett. Hell, she played her mama in "What's Love Got to Do With It!" Kudos to Jennifer Lewis!

laughing808 December 16, 2008 at 4:24 PM

*Girlfriends as Toni's mother
*Brothers as Morris Chestnut's mother
*The PJ's (animated)

Kryssy December 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM

OMG... I just watched her on the Temptations last night. lol
The Dean on A Different World and Ms. Childs on Girlfriends were my favs!

Creative1k December 16, 2008 at 6:08 PM

OOh how I love Ms. Jen Lewis!

My favorite role that she played was the mama in The Brothers. I also liked her on Strong Medicine on Lifetime, but that was short lived. I think she's being slept on, but that's usual in the entertainment industry.

Ms. Bar B: December 16, 2008 at 6:21 PM

OMG!!! I HELLA LOVE THIS WOMAN! She is incredible and should have all kinds of awards. You are completely right pointing out the fact that she has been in some of everything under the sun. Its hard to pick just one movie or roles she's done so I wont. I love everything she's done.

Loved her on Fresh Prince... DIVAAAAAHHHHHHS, hahaha. And can't forget her role as the wedding planner on Madea's Family Reunion. She is priceless. Shocked to learn that she is bipolar, but hey, I am sure it adds to her craft. Hell, some of the most talented people have mental disorders!

Dani B. December 16, 2008 at 6:36 PM

Aww man,I love her,she is HE-larious!! lol

Whenever "Madea's Family Reunion" comes on, my family (my mom, dad & I) always repeat this line, "That's why I can't work with black people,ya always late ...and ignint!" lmao

But I love her as:
Will's Aunt in Fresh Prince
Toni's Mom in Girlfriends
Wedding Planner in Madea's Family Reunion
Whitney's Mom in The Preacher's Wife

I feel she just brings life and vibrance to whatever role she plays

Malik December 16, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Ok, whew, for a minute, I thought you were about to say that she died.

She's the best ghetto mom on film EVER.

Consistently Inconsistent... December 16, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Missed your site, stopped by now that I am feeling a little better. Good to see you're still keeping me in the "know"

CJ December 16, 2008 at 7:32 PM

Fresh Prince it was and the crazy mom on The Brothers were my fave. She was barking all that mess and still took the dad back . . .

And girl, we gotta trade stories on Semipro. Must be something with athletes

Eb the Celeb December 16, 2008 at 8:12 PM

I forgot how much I loved her in The Brothers... ya'll got me watching it right now...lol

clnmike December 16, 2008 at 8:17 PM

I am a fan of her but you just named her best work, she is one of those supporting roles actresses never had a break out lead.

ill;kinda December 16, 2008 at 9:18 PM

my fav. role was her being Morris Chestnuts mother

"skank hoe, dumb hoe, french hoe.. dead hoe"

haha , lmao

grown December 16, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Two words. Jackie's Back.

If you have not seen this movie, it stars Jennifer Lewis as a washed up diva that is trying to make a comeback. Seriously should be the next movie you Netflix.

Favorite JL Quote:
"Lester, don't make me get ethnic with you!" - Aunt Helen, Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Darius T. Williams December 16, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Wasn't she Will Smith's Aunt or something?!?! That's my favorite role by her.

Aretha December 16, 2008 at 11:30 PM

I loved her in her sporadic role as the sister on Fresh Prince. She's so sassy.

But, let's talk about that preview and that fine chocolate drop, Mr. Chestnut...mmm.

A.M. December 17, 2008 at 2:43 AM

I like her in that old life time series about the doctors. Can't remember what it's called but she was hella funny and kept all of the docs in the women's clinic on thier toes :)

Eb the Celeb December 17, 2008 at 2:59 AM

@grown - your the 2nd person to mention that... I'm definitely going to have to check it out

MyLoveMyLife December 17, 2008 at 3:02 AM

Oh! when i first started reading this ...i thought u were gonna say she passed away or something terrible. *wipes sweat*. i love her!! she's always so loud and fabulous! lmaoooo@ EVERY roll she's EVER played.

Brothers Blog December 17, 2008 at 12:26 PM

she's played in so many roles to even name.

I loved her as Joan's mom on the show GirlFriends.

contagiouslyCRANKY December 17, 2008 at 1:56 PM

To my Dear Brothers of brothers blog.... She is Toni's mom!!! That is my show..i just had to correct the info.

Lucky December 18, 2008 at 2:32 AM

i LOVE her, she's such a great character actress

my 2 faves are her as Aunt Helen in Fresh Prince and the mom in "The Brothers":

"Men only need 2 things...well, one of them is money..."

Tuotierugif >^..^<© December 18, 2008 at 3:15 AM

I love her, she just steals the scene in whatever movie she is in! lol

Anonymous December 21, 2008 at 11:20 AM

I always enjoy seeing this woman on film but, I never knew her name. I loved her as Toni's mother on Girlfriends too.

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