Though born in Boston, actress Jasmine Guy relocated south with her family to Atlanta when she was young.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid in the greater Cascade area, Guy found herself on the church pews often on Sundays at the Friendship Baptist Church where her father Rev. Dr. William Guy was pastor.
As a student of Atlanta’s main performing arts school—then called Northside High—Guy knew there was a voice inside beckoning her creative talents to step forward.
And they did, as she received a scholarship for a New York City acting school right out of high school. She decided to pursue a career in acting despite the lack of opportunities for black women in Hollywood at the time. She credits Hattie McDaniels, Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge as role models in inspiring her to believe she too could make it.
It was 1983 when Guy got her first break in the runaway television hit Fame. She had a reoccurring role as a dancer, where she first met her lifelong friend and mentor Debbie Allen. From there she built her career acting across the mediums of film and television to star in films such as Spike Lee’s School Daze (1988), Harlem Nights (1989) and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1991).
But it was Bill Cosby’s popular spin off series "A Different World" that put Guy on the map as the beautiful Southern belle Whitley Gilbert Wayne. Since the shows cancellation in 1993, Guy has been busy reinventing herself anew.
“It has been an adventure for me; one of my greatest joys is that I do know more than I knew that I knew,” Guy says of taking on additional titles beyond Hollywood’s lack of appreciation for her other creative talents.
To date she has directed "For Colored Girls (Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf)" which starred Nicole Ari Parker and Robin Givens and "I Dream; The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." which was an opera.
Guy’s latest project, "The Colored Museum" is a colorful satire on the state of Black America. Set inside a museum, each era in African-American history is given voice by a character whose account of modern history dating back to the 1920s and beyond is sobering with a comedic flare.
Guy partnered with in 2009 where they now continue to make magic happen on the Atlanta scene giving work to a vibrant local talent pool who work tirelessly in bringing their vision to light.
In returning home after all these years, Guy says, “The life that I’ve had here in the last two years has really been exciting for me.”
You can see Jasmine Guy with the True Colors Theatre Company’s "The Colored Museum" starring Ali Carter, Danielle Deadwyler, Je Nie Fleming, Amber Imna and Enoch King at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center, 3181 Rainbow Dr., Decatur, GA 30034.
The play opens Friday, March 25. For tickets call: 1.877.725.8849; or you can visit www.truecolorstheatre.org.