Living the Single Life

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  • Single black women on TV didn’t start with “Basketball Wives” and “Single Ladies.” The show “Living Single,” which ran on Fox for five years from 1993-1998, predated those shows, as did “Girlfriends” which started airing in 2000, picking up where “Living Single” left off. For those five years, Queen Latifah, Kim Fields, Erika Alexander and their male foils T.C. Carson and John Henton ruled the airwaves, with the show centering on a group of black female friends who all lived in different apartments in the same New York City brownstone. It was the vehicle that helped Queen Latifah transition from a rapper to a rapper/actress and one that brought Henton and Carson increased visibility. It was also Fields’ return to television as an adult, having spent a good portion of her childhood playing Tootie on another beloved sitcom, “The Facts of Life.”

    While we have a pretty good idea what Queen Latifah’s up to – producing “Single Ladies” as well as many of her many other projects – we thought we’d check in to see what the other folks are up to these days.

    QUEEN LATIFAH (Khadijah)
    Since “Living Single” Queen Latifah, 42, has gone on to an Oscar nomination for “Chicago,” continued her movie and recording career and is now producing “Single Ladies,” a show she and longtime business partner Shakim Compere brought to VH1. She is also an executive producer on “Let’s Stay Together” on BET. She’s starred in “Brown Sugar,” “Last Holiday,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” and “Just Wright” among other films and has recorded two vocal albums and one hip-hop album. Latifah is in pre-production on a possible return to daytime talk but no announcements confirming it have yet been made. Earlier this year, she co-starred with Dolly Parton and Keke Palmer in “A Joyful Noise.”

    ERIKA ALEXANDER (Maxine)
    Erika Alexander, 42, has continued acting and worked steadily over the years since “Living Single” appearing on shows like “Criminal Minds” and others including “Law and Order – SVU,” “Suburgatory” and “Half and Half.” Her recent career has yet to match her “Living Single” fame, but she’s been married for almost 16 years to Hollywood screenwriter Tony Puryear who also writes graphic novels. Alexander hasn’t aged much over the years and it’s great that she’s still acting, but we’d love to see more of her. She does have an indie movie, “The Magic City,” coming out with Jamie Hector of “The Wire” fame this year.

    KIM FIELDS (Regine)
    Since “Living Single” Fields, 43, has married and had a baby and kept busy working in front of and behind the scenes. Fields is part of a multigenerational showbiz family – her mother Chip played her mother on “Facts of Life” and Penny’s abusive mother on “Good Times.” Her sister Alexis was on “Roc.” Fields earned her degree at Pepperdine University in L.A. and has directed episodes of “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Pain,” and BET’s “Let’s Stay Together.” She’s currently in the film “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” starring Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Rock.

    KIM COLES (Synclaire)
    After “Living Single,” Kim stayed in the entertainment business, hosting TV shows and appearing on “One On One” as Spirit’s mother as well as guest-starring on shows like “Let’s Stay Together.” Now 50, Coles has recently gone natural and will be the host of the upcoming OWN TV show “Are You Normal, America?” which uses statistics to determine whether or not contestants are in the normal percentages of various activities. Contestants can win up to $100,000. The one-time “In Living Color” comedienne also authored a book “I’m Free, But It Will Cost You.” “Are You Normal, America?” debuts on June 9 at 9 p.m. on OWN.

    JOHN HENTON (Overton)
    Henton survived a bad car accident in 2000 that left him with shattered legs, broken teeth and a broken eye socket. Fortunately, he doesn’t remember it. Since then, he’s worked in TV, doing episodes of “Hannah Montana,” “The Parkers,” “The Hughleys” and “One on One.” The now 51-year-old actor has maintained his standup career, performing on stages around the country. This weekend, he checks into the Arlington Improv in Arlington, Texas.

    TERRENCE “T.C.” CARSON (Kyle Barker)
    If you’re a sci-fi buff or a gamer, then you likely know that Carson, 53, has been one of the most successful of the post “Living Single” crew working in both TV and the movies. He was in both the TV and video game version of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and was also in “Final Destination 2.”

    Carson has a lengthy list of credits dating back to the end of “Living Single.” He still looks good, like a suave older version of his playboy “Living Single” character. Carson has also been a voice actor in over 20 video games.

    CRESS WILLIAMS AND MEL JACKSON (Scooter and Tripp)
    These two handsome actors were among the show’s most popular characters outside of the main cast. Jackson, 41, was only on the show its last season, taking over the spot in the apartment that Synclaire vacated. Since then, he’s done movies, stage plays and TV, appearing last season in “Reed Between the Lines.” Cress Williams, 42, although he wasn’t a regular cast member, was Khadijah’s love interest and though the two weren’t always on the same page, he was one of “Living Single’s” most memorable guest stars. Williams has done quite well for himself on TV, working steadily every year since “Living Single” starring in “Prison Break,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Nash Bridges.” “Grey’s Anatomy” fans will remember him as Bailey’s husband and he had a recurring role in the last season of “Friday Night Lights.” Currently he stars on the CW’s “Hart of Dixie.”

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