With a star turn in Spike Lee’s new crit­i­cally ac­claimed movie, Chi-Raq, Tey­onah Par­ris is just get­ting started

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - @tey­on­ah­par­ris

Her break­out role was as Dawn Cham­bers, Don Draper’s sec­re­tary, in Mad Men. She fol­lowed that with the part of Coco Con­ners in the 2014 so­cial satire Dear White Peo­ple, be­fore join­ing the cast of Chi-Raq, along with Wes­ley Snipes, An­gela Bas­sett, Jen­nifer Hud­son and Sa­muel L Jack­son.

Tey­onah grew up in a small town in South Carolina in the US. She was the rst black stu­dent to win her school’s an­nual beauty pageant, and went on to study act­ing at New York’s pres­ti­gious Juil­liard School.

Chi-Raq tells the story of a group of women with­hold­ing sex from their part­ners un­til the men agree to stop the in­creas­ing gang vi­o­lence in Chicago. While the lm has re­ceived some crit­i­cism for mak­ing light of gun vi­o­lence in the US, di­rec­tor Spike Lee has em­pha­sized that it’s a satire and not a com­edy. he lm is the rst orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion for Ama­zon Stu­dios, and was re­leased on the video-on-de­mand plat­form Ama­zon Video (not yet avail­able in South Africa). Tey­onah was nom­i­nated for an NAACP Im­age Award for Out­stand­ing Ac­tress for her role as Ly­sis­trata, who in­sti­gates the sex strike.

Next up for Tey­onah is the ti­tle role in The Miki Howard Story, chart­ing the life of the R&B singer. ‘As a young ac­tress, I strive to be the woman Hol­ly­wood didn’t show me when I was grow­ing up,’ she says. While there’s no news yet about when Chi-Raq will show in South Africa, there’s no doubt we’ll be see­ing a lot more of Tey­onah.

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