Living Single, Then and Now
Before the Friends came along, there was Living Single. In 1993 the race for Sunday night ratings was a tight one — critics agreed that the big contenders were CBS’ Murder, She Wrote and NBC’s seaQuest DSV, but out of left field came a sitcom deemed underdog: Fox’s Living Single. The sitcom chronicled the adventures of four single ladies living in New York City. Living Single captured viewers with its on-point comedy and catchy opening credits song. Featuring six African-American comedic stars, the show quickly became the most popular sitcom of its era. Now, it’s available to stream on Hulu. Before starting a fresh binge, see the cast of Living Single then and now.
Queen Latifah (Khadijah James)
Before playing the role of a successful magazine founder in NYC, Queen Latifah was known for her musical talent. Latifah’s career began in the early ’90s with her album All Hail the Queen which featured her hit single “Ladies First.” In ’93, the same year she landed Living Single, Latifah earned a Grammy Award for her single “U.N.I.T.Y.” In 1996 she landed her first film leading role in the critically-acclaimed Set it Off alongside Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox. She became even more of a household name in 2002 after her iconic performance in Chicago, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Since then Latifah has starred in numerous movies and musicals and even created her own daytime talk show: The Queen Latifah Show, which ran from 2012 to 2015. More recently, she earned praise and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie for the film Bessie (HBO) in which she starred as Bessie Smith. Latifah reunited with Pinkett Smith for the movie Girls Trip, also starring Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish, which grossed $137 million worldwide – the only movie to do so in 2017.
Kim Fields (Regine Hunter)
Fields grew up under the spotlight: Her mother, Chip Fields, was a singer, actress, and TV director. Years before landing the role of socialite wannabe Regine Hunter, Fields gained notoriety as Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey in the sitcom The Facts of Life. Her role in the ’80s coming-off age story launched her career. After Living Single was canceled, Fields took on directing and has worked on a few of Tyler Perry’s movies and BET’s Let’s Stay Together. In 2015, Fields joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, although her gig only lasted one season. The actress’ dive into reality continued as she competed in season 22 of Dancing with the Stars in 2016, finishing in 8th place.
Kim Coles (Synclaire James-Jones)
In the early ’90s, Coles found success as part of the original cast of the sketch comedy series In Living Color. Due to the popularity of the show, Coles landed the role of the hilarious Synclaire on Living Single, which cemented her legacy in pop culture. The actress went on to make appearances on shows like Fraiser, Six Feet Under, and My Wife and Kids, and she had a recurring role on The Geena Davis Show in 2000 as Judy Owens. In recent years the actress found success as host of BET’s game show Pay It Off and was part of TBS’ comedy 10 Items or Less. Presently Coles continues acting and making guest star appearances on television.
Erika Alexander (Maxine Shaw)
The actress got her break when she portrayed Pam Tucker in The Cosby Show, a role which secured her ascent to fame as a ’90s sitcom star. Concurring with her role as Cousin Pam was her role alongsige Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990 film The Long Walk Home. After five years of playing Maxine on Living Single, Alexander continued to work on TV, appearing on several shows including Judging Amy. In recent years the actress has made guest appearances on House (2011), Grey’s Anatomy (2015), and Queen Sugar (2016). Even more recently, she took on the role of Tess Shoemaker in Freeform’s sci-fi drama Beyond. Alexander also played a role in the acclaimed film Get Out (2017) and starred in season two of Amazon Prime’s Bosch.
John Henton (Overton ‘Obie’ Wakefield Jones)
Henton’s rise to fame happened by chance — he was discovered in 1991 by a comedy executive for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After his set on the late night talker, Henton’s career took off. Post Living Single, the actor starred on ABC’s The Hughleys next to D.L. Hughley. In 2000 he was involved in a serious car accident that broke both of his legs, 10 teeth, and shattered one of his eye sockets. After extensive reconstructive plastic surgery, he continued his work on The Hughleys. Henton subsequently made a few other guest appearances (in 2009 and 2014), but has seemed to stayed away from television. Today he lives in Los Angeles.
Terrence C. Carson (Kyle Barker)
Prior to his role as the charming and succesful Kyle Barker, Carson performed on stage in musicals like The Wiz and Dreamgirls. He crossed over into comedy when he starred in the film Livin’ Large in 1991. After Living Single, Carson became a succesful voiceover actor, giving life to Mace Windu on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Kratos in the PlayStation game God of War. In recent years, you can catch him on shows like Nashville and OWN’s Greenleaf.
Cress Williams (Terrence 'Scooter' Williams)
The actor played Khadijah’s love interest (a notable music producer), Williams is also well known for his particiaption in the era-defining Beverly Hills, 90210 as D’Shawn Hadell. In the early 2000s, he was cast in another memorable role in Nash Bridges as Inspector Antwon Babcock. Williams’ most notable characters also include Wyatt Mathewson, the hitman from the popular series Prison Break, and Tucker Jones, Miranda Bailey’s husband on Grey’s Anatomy. In recent years, he’s appeared on The CW’s Heart of Dixie and CBS’ Code Black. Currently, Williams landed a plum gig as the lead of Black Lightning, a new action series on The CW on which he’ll star as the show’s titular hero persona.
Mel Jackson (Ira Lee 'Tripp' Williams)
Prior to his role as Tripp on Living Single, Jackson had made minor TV appearances until he landed a role in the film Soul Food in 1997. The actor was part of Living Single’s cast for its last year on air, and it helped push his career through the early 2000s. Jackson appeared in the film Deliver Us from Eva (2003) as well as the TV series The Parkers (2004) and The Division (2004). The actor continued to score small roles in television up through 2015.