Behind The Scenes

#WCW: Reaching For The Stars With Loretta Devine

If you love black television, then you ought to love the Emmy-award winning actress, Loretta Devine. Whether she acts as a mom, aunt, grandmother, or friend, Loretta has a way of making us wish she was our very own.

Loretta Devine’s can-do attitude encourages us to always reach towards our dreams. Read on to learn more about why the ever-inspiring Loretta is our #WCW!

By: Erika Hunter

Considering herself a workaholic, Loretta hasn’t stopped yet.

At the age of 67, Loretta has already starred in a number of films and sitcoms and has made it very clear that she’s not slowing down any time soon.

Loretta Devine remains busy as she takes pride in working with some of the industry’s best actors and actresses, including our own Kimberly Elise in For Colored Girls and Back to School Mom.

Her first accredited role and big break was in the Broadway production of Dreamgirls in 1981. She starred as Lorell, one of the three Dreamgirls, alongside Jennifer Holiday (Effie) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Deena). Beforehand, she made an appearance in the 1977 musical, Hair. Not too long thereafter, she was also in productions like A Broadway Musical and Comin’ Uptown. By the mid-80’s, her career had taken off.

Loretta Devine

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When asked by a reporter of the Los Angeles Times how she maintains such an impactful career, she says,

“I think you have to be so in love with it. I’ve done so many independent movies which are dreams of young people…You don’t make a lot of money, but you work with a lot of fabulous people whose dream it is to get their film made. I’m still doing those till this day. I have so much fun doing those and meeting people with ambition.”

Loretta inspires us to not pursue passions solely for their benefits, but rather pursue them for the sheer love of the passion itself.

No matter your goals, Loretta has proven that success comes from internal motivation rather than rewards. It’s because of her raw love for acting that Loretta still takes on roles and finds increasing success in her career.

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While it is clear that Loretta has grown as an actress, her noteworthy stage presence started early on in church choirs, where she developed her voice. Eventually, Loretta turned to acting and performed in school productions. But this all led to her to desire for more.

Loretta obtained her bachelors in speech and drama from the University of Houston and later attended Brandeis University to receive a Masters Degree in Theater.

From Houston, Texas to Hollywood, Loretta was ready and determined to pursue a full-time acting career.Loretta Devine

While she can keep us laughing with her personality and strong wit, her roles are extremely diverse, ranging from drama to comedy. She even earned an NAACP Image Award for her performances as Gloria Matthews in Waiting to Exhale and the film, The Preacher’s Wife. She has also starred in television series, like State of Georgia, Boston Public, A Different World, and films such as Crash and Jumping the Broom, to name a few.

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These days, Loretta credits those like Jerrod Carmichael, who chose her to play his mother in The Carmichael Show. Though the show was recently canceled, Loretta says that she feels blessed by the young people in the industry.

“A lot of the young kids coming up…are the ones creating work for me at my age. I thank God that they exist because they make it all possible…I started thinking, ‘Oh God, am I aging out?’ because everything is about (being) younger, but someway, I’ve managed to stay afloat.”

Loretta is our Woman Crush this week, not only because she is great at what she does, but because she loves doing it.

Her persistence and dedication inspire those behind her. She encourages future actors and actresses to keep going. And believes that if they remain steadfast and have positive expectations, the sky is the limit.

“Be serious about it. Study and go to where it’s happening. You’ve got to be in it to win it. You can’t just sit back in some little town and wish. Get up, put your big-girl panties on, save your money, and take a trip to New York or Los Angeles or Atlanta, where things are happening. Be smart and be cautious. Be the best you you can be. And pray the wolves don’t get you.”

We’re excited to see what Devine is up to next!

What’s your favorite film or sitcom starring Loretta Devine? Let us know in the comments below.

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