When you hear the word Hollywood, what immediately comes to mind is the lifestyle of the rich and famous. However, this is not always the case as can be seen in the life of Paula Jai Parker. Parker is an African-American actress who enjoyed a flourishing career back in the day, appearing in numerous movies and TV series. She, however, shocked the world in 2014 when she disclosed that she lacked a home of her own and even had to rely on social welfare at times. The worst is that Parker had to suffer the ugly situation alongside her husband and only child! So what happened? Find out below.
A Peek Paula Jai Parker’s Early Life
Paula Jai Parker was born on the 19th of August 1969 in Cleveland, Ohio which makes her an American. Nothing is known about the entertainer’s parents but from her physical appearance, it is obvious that she is of African origin. Also, no mention has been made of any siblings for the actress but that may not mean that she is an only child.
The Afro-American spent her formative years in Cleveland where she completed her elementary and high school education. She, thereafter, moved to Washington D. C. to study at Howard University. On graduating college in 1991, Paula Jia Parker headed to New York in order to kick-start her showbiz career.
She Appeared in Numerous Movies and TV Series After Her On-Screen Debut On The Apollo Comedy Hour
In the Big Apple, she initially pursued her passion for music and performed at various clubs. The multi-talented Parker also utilized her comic talent to land her first TV gig; this was on the syndicated show, The Apollo Comedy Hour in 1992. After two successful years on Apollo, the Cleveland native joined another sketch comedy TV show, Townsend Television in 1993.
Since her debut in 1992, Paula Jai Parker has featured in numerous movies and TV series. On the big screen, she appeared in Friday which marked her movie debut in 1995. Parker was also part of Get on the Bus (1996), and before the end of the year, she won a Cable ACE Award for her performance in the HBO anthology presentation, Cosmic Slop. In 1997, she appeared in Sprung, Why Do Fools Fall in Love in 1998, 30 Years to Life in 2001 followed by Phone Booth in 2002.
The actress played Sara in Love Chronicles (2003) and was also cast in My Baby’s Daddy, She Hate Me, and Ray (all in 2004). The entertainer’s 2005 role in Hustle & Flow as Lexus marked her breakthrough in the movie industry, earning her the Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Comedic Performance. Parker also became a nominee for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. She showed up in Idlewild (2006), Life of a King (2013), and Patterns of Attraction (2014).
She Played a Memorable Role In Sprung
Sprung is a 1997 comedy about two sets of couples; the sexy gold-digger, Adina, with her flamboyant boyfriend, Clyde, and the shy Brandy with her introverted boyfriend, Montel. While Adina and Clyde quickly crash and burn, Brandy and Montel find true happiness to the envy of their friends.
The movie featured Tisha Campbell and Joe Torry while Parker played the role of Adina. Her portrayal of the loud-mouthed and hard-edged Adina, as well as her unforgettable one-liners, remains one of the funniest characters ever in black film.
Here Are Some Of Her Major Gigs On The Small Screen
On the small screen, Paula Jai Parker has featured in TV series such as The Wayans Bros (1995), Snoops (1999-2000), Side Order of Life (2007), Family Time (2012-2014), and Hand of God (2015). She also appeared in Recovery Road (2016), Black Jesus (2019), Ray Donovan (2016), and The Proud Family (2001-2005). The Proud Family is a Disney animated sitcom about the Proud family and Parker voiced the role of their bossy mom, Trudy Proud. The sitcom ran from 2001 to 2005 and she appeared in 51 episodes of the show.
From 2013 to 2014, the Afro-American had a recurring role in the HBO series, True Blood. In 2014, she was cast among five leads on the TV One reality series, Hollywood Divas. The next year, Parker was cast in the recurring roles on the Amazon drama entitled Hand of God, and Freeform series called Recovery Road. In August 2016, she released an EP Paula Jai & Friends, featuring the single Going Down. Of all her productions, Parker is best known for Friday, Sprung, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Phone Booth, Hustle & Flow, and Idlewild.
Paula Jai Parker’s Husband Is Also Part Of The Entertainment Industry
The actress is enjoying marital bliss with her husband of more than 15 years – Forrest Martin. Parker first met Martin in 2004 on the set of the movie, Hustle & Flow. She had a supporting role in the film while Martin was working as an intern/production assistant after obtaining his MFA. But today he is an actor, writer, and producer.
As the movie progressed, the two got talking and eventually commenced a relationship. They later tied the knot that same year. The couple has one child together; a son named Onederful Vanglorious Jaxon N’Krumah Martin. Parker and her husband are both cast members of Hollywood Divas. This is a reality TV series that chronicles the life, career, family, and love life of five African-American actresses. The show also stars the likes of Golden Brooks, Countess Vaughn, Lisa Wu, Elise Neal, and Malika Haqq.
Despite the Affluence She Has Enjoyed, Parker Revealed She Was Broke
A peek at Paula Jai Parker’s Instagram handle reveals the close and beautiful relationship she enjoys with her spouse and the love is definitely reciprocated on Martin’s side. Parker always takes advantage of special occasions such as red carpet events to share some of their best photos together. One can’t help but notice how committed to each other the couple is as Parker often refers to her husband as her “king”
However, it was miles far from “red carpet and glowing” for the couple a few years ago. The African American actress had to face hard times in 2014 when she became homeless alongside her husband and son. They actually had to resort to putting up in an extended stay hotel room during their trying period.
The actress confessed her difficult financial situation during an episode of Hollywood Divas which left many of her fans in shock, but by then, the family was already coming out of the ugly situation with the help of their strong bonding.
She Blamed her Misfortune On Being Blackballed From Hollywood
While making confessions about her financial misfortune on Hollywood Divas, Paula Jai Parker put the blame on her being blackballed from Hollywood. In the confession room, another diva, Elise Neal, didn’t believe Parker’s revelations at all, instead, she said that Parker failed to take the time to nurture relationships for the business.
Months after she confessed her misfortune, the actress and comedienne, while starring in a role in a horror film, touched on a few important topics concerning the American film industry. She emphasized on the wrong idea that actors make loads of money. She equally touched on the difference between men and women, regarding opportunities and income. Parker also made reference to how difficult it is for women of color to get a jig in the business, admitting that it is something that is not openly said.