Variety has learned exclusively that Tony award winner Tonya Pinkins, “New Jack City” director and veteran actor Mario Van Peebles, and newcomer Amandla Jahava have joined the cast of the Lena Waithe-produced project.
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“How to Make Love to a Black Woman” is a half-hour comedy anthology series which tells stories “about connection and rejection that explore our most harrowing – and harrowingly comic – sexual secrets,” according to Showtime.
Van Peebles will play Sam, a kind stranger who connects with Rashida (Jahava), a young woman confronting an unexpected loss. Pinkins plays Rashida’s mother, Florence, who is keeping a secret from her daughter.
The project comes from Waithe’s first-look deal with Showtime which the producer, writer and actor signed last July. Before creating “The Chi” for Showtime, Waithe had written for “Master of None” on Netflix, earning an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
Van Peebles has appeared in many film and TV projects throughout his 50-year career, making his theatrical directing debut with “New Jack City” back in 1991. More recently, he was a director on the History Channel retelling of “Roots.” His other big-screen credits include “Posse,” “Panther,” “Ali “and “Baadasssss!,” in which he portrayed his father, Melvin. On television, Van Peebles has appeared in shows such as “Bloodline,” “Nashville,” “Damages” and “L.A. Law.” He is repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment and Buchwald.
In addition to winning the Tony for “Jelly’s Last Jam,” Pinkins was nominated for the top theater honor on two other occasions for performances in “Caroline, or Change” and “Play On!” Her TV credits include “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Random Acts of Flyness,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Gotham.” She is repped by The Talent House.
Jahava, who attended CalArts and Yale School of Drama, is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and ICM.