The Emmy-winning Jackée Harry brings everybody up to speed The legendary performer on everything from ‘Game of Thrones’ to a ‘Sister, Sister’ reboot

Jackée Harry was glowing. She was at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Sept. 20, 1987, and Bruce Willis presented her with the Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy role, making her the first African-American woman to receive the honor. She won for her role as Sandra Clark on the #BlackGirlMagic standard-setting sitcom 227 (1985-90), beating out Justine Bateman (Family Ties), Julia Duffy (Newhart), Estelle Getty (The Golden Girls) and Rhea Perlman (Cheers). You also certainly remember her as Lisa Landry, the adoptive mother of two long-lost twins named Tia and Tamera, from the timeless Sister, Sister (1994-99).

Harry is still glowing — more than 30 years and countless film and TV appearances later. The woman admired and known to many as Ms. Jackée (who’s superinteractive with her fans on Twitter) makes an illustrious return to the small screen on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as part of the Tyler Perry-created series The Paynes, a spinoff of Perry’s former TBS comedy House of Payne (2006-12). Before the new show’s Jan. 16 premiere, the free-spirited Ms. Jackée previewed her role as JoAnn Payne, confirms a Sister, Sister reboot and details, between infectious laughs, her love for HBO’s Game of Thrones.


How did you get involved with The Paynes?

Tyler Perry said he’d work with me eventually. He called one Sunday … and he said come on down. … It was really that simple, but it took years. I waited years because I’ve always wanted to work with him.

In your mind, what’s the biggest difference between the spinoff and the original show?

Curtis and Ella, they retire and move to Florida. They come down and begin a whole new TV family. Ella [Cassi Davis] is still an activist and involved in the community and Curtis [LaVan Davis] is still a fool. You get to see more of the two of them. It’s funny. They were funny on the House of Payne, but this is their show now.

How would describe your character, JoAnn Payne?

I play Curtis’ first cousin. I’m a crook, but I also am helpful. I’m working up a new scam. We’re sort of like Lucy and Ethel, me and Cassi. We’re always doing schemes. But she knows how to handle Curtis. I’m standing here with her now, looking at her! Ms. Cassi Davis!

Everyone is wondering — is a Sister, Sister reboot actually in the works?

Oh, yeah. We’re planning to do one. I just spoke to Tia and Tamera. They’re busy working on it right now so we can do it for y’all. Everybody is asking for it, and we’re ready to do it.

Are you recognized more for Sandra Clark from 227 or Lisa Landry from Sister, Sister?

Sandra Clark, because the show is on OWN right now. They’ve been playing it every weekend, all weekend long.

What do you remember most from the night you won your Emmy?

Nothing. I don’t remember a thing because I didn’t expect to win. I’ll be honest, I thought I’d just be nominated one time and that was it. But I won the first time out.

What’s your favorite current TV show?

Game of Thrones is my favorite. I love it. Dragons and you know what!

Who’s your favorite Game of Thrones character?

Emilia Clarke’s character, Daenerys. Her and her dragons. I actually love all the women on the show. The little sister, Arya, and Sansa. They’re all fabulous.

Are there any young actors or actresses that stick out to you nowadays that you’d like to work with?

Regina King, of course. She’s my favorite. Zendaya. She’s just phenomenal. … Yara Shahidi. I did work with them, but when they were little kids. Now they’re all grown up, so I’d like to work with them again.

If you could have dinner with one actor or actress, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Bette Davis [laughs]. Uh huh. I wanna hear All About Eve! I would love to because she’s in one of my favorite movies. Or even an Alan Rickman. He’s my favorite villain. I would love to have dinner with him. I think I’ve seen Die Hard about 600 times.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Show up, be on time and know your lines.

What would be your go-to karaoke song, and why?

Boyz II Men, “End of the Road,” because I could get the best harmony with it. I do that at Taco Tuesdays!

What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish in 2018?

To evolve as a person … become kinder and more empathetic … and try not to be as much of a diva!

What will you always be a champion of?

Education. Forever. That’s my No. 1 thing. Formal or informal. Books, computers, however you get it, but it’s gotta be done so we can keep up. Because if we don’t teach these kids, there will be no tomorrow for them.

Actress Tia Mowry’s new cookbook puts a healthy spin on comfort foods In ‘Whole New You,’ she reveals how clean eating helped her with migraines and endometriosis

After years of experimenting with healthy food and clean eating, actress and producer Tia Mowry was ready to share the recipes that have helped her recover from minor ailments in hopes that she can help others.

Even with the success of Tia Mowry at Home on the Cooking Channel, Mowry wanted to reach a wider audience with her personal story about the power of clean eating through her first cookbook, Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You.

The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes Mowry found helpful in healing her chronic migraines, eczema and endometriosis, a disorder that affects more than 11 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44.

Mowry was diagnosed with endometriosis in her late 20s, which left her with debilitating abdominal cramps and at risk for fertility problems. After undergoing two surgeries, Mowry was advised by her doctor to change her eating habits.

“[My doctor] went in, saw the scar tissue had built up, and said this is going to be a repetitive cycle if you do not change the way you eat, and if you want to have children,” Mowry said in an interview with Ebony. “So as I got older, wanting to have kids, I was like, I have got to get this right. So that’s when I finally got on the diet, which are basically the things in my cookbook. I ate these same types of foods. I didn’t have any more endometriosis symptoms.”

Whole New You, released March 14, offers a 10-day menu plan to get readers started. The most gratifying part is Mowry’s ability to keep a wide selection of comfort foods with only slight alterations. Favorites, including buttermilk fried chicken, remain delicious, yet light. The cookbook has received praise from celebrities and athletes, including actor Morris Chestnut, tennis star Serena Williams and actress Naya Rivera.

“This cookbook was really personal for me,” Mowry told BuzzFeed. “As I started to make healthier choices in my own life, I saw things — like my endometriosis or my migraines — be put at bay. And that was amazing to me. So I wrote this book based on the concept that food can be medicine in its own way, that it can worsen or help with an existing condition. That was my experience, and I’m hoping that writing about it can help others too.”