Watch: Jenifer Lewis Is Ready for Her Close-Up

All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up! Well, not me. But Jenifer Lewis is. The self-proclaimed mother of black Hollywood is always ready for her close-up. With a career that spans over three decades, Lewis is easily one of the most beloved on-screen legends.


Name a role and Lewis is guaranteed to have played it. In her book, The Mother of Black Hollywood, she shares that a lot of her roles are based on classic (read: white) actresses she admires. When she played Toni Child’s mother in Girlfriends, Lewis says, she gained inspiration from Lucille Ball. So that got me to thinking: If I could get Lewis to “audition” for roles that were made famous by white actresses, my life would be complete.

As a theater genius, Jenifer Lewis obviously embraced the challenge and effortlessly went from Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard to Margo in All About Eve. Check out the video above of her flawless audition.

Pretty. Witty. Girly. Worldly. One who likes to party, but comes home early. I got stories to tell. Prince (yes, that Prince) called me excellence. Achievement unlocked.

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The Mother of Black Hollywood, eh?—Loretta Devine