From 1996 to 2001, Shar Jackson starred on Moesha as Niecy Jackson, Moesha's (Brandy) best friend. But that was a big change from the original plan for the character. "She was just supposed to be there for the first episode and her name wasn't even Niecy. Her name was Gail," Jackson said in a 2020 interview with Netflix's Strong Black Lead. "I'm happy they changed that. I didn't feel like a Gail."
Jackson said that Niecy becoming a main character "just happened," adding, "Every week there was a new script on my front door." But while she might have been surprised to remain on the show, she was very intentional with her character. "I wanted her to be real. I wanted her to be that one chick that nobody ever gets to see," Jackson explained. She pointed out that while Moesha was the "good girl" and Kim (Countess Vaughn) was the mischievous one, she wanted Niecy to not fit into any box but be the one that "holds them together."
These days, Jackson has fond memories of the show, and she's even reviving her character once again for a new series. Read on to find out more about her career and life today.
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She's still an actor.
Jackson was already an actor prior to Moesha, having appeared in episodes of other TV shows, including My So-Called Life and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. During Moesha, she played the character of Niecy on multiple other series. The character popped up on Clueless, the Moesha spinoff The Parkers, and Girlfriends. The actor also starred in the movie Good Burger during the show's run.
These days, Jackson is still acting. She was recently on an episode of the series Shameless and in the movies Take a Stan, Reboot Camp, and A Polished Soul.
She's starring in a spinoff show.
Niecy the character is going to appear in yet another show. Jackson and Vaughn are reviving their Moesha characters for the upcoming series Kim and Niecy. According to an Instagram page for the show, it's set to air in 15 episodes on Tubi, but a release date has not been announced.
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She's a mother and grandmother.
Jackson has four children—two with her high school sweetheart ex and two with ex Kevin Federline. She also has a granddaughter through her daughter Cassalei Monique Jackson. In her interview with Strong Black Lead, she shared that her family enjoys watching her work a lot more than she does. "I don't even watch my stuff. They watch my stuff. My mom and my kids watch everything," she said.
She said that her granddaughter particularly loves Good Burger. "So I have a granddaughter, who's five today. It's the weirdest thing to even say that," Jackson said. "She watches that movie constantly. She took her tablet to the zoo today so that she could watch it while she's at the zoo. That's overkill, baby girl."
She'd be interested in a Moesha revival.
In a 2021 interview with Hollywood Life, Jackson shared that she would consider being in a revival of Moesha, if it were done the right way.
"I would definitely be down," she said. "It would really have to be strategic on how they would put it together. I think that's what it would come down to… how they put it together, considering we have lost so many amazing people from our show—Yvette Wilson, Lamont Bentley, Bernie Mac, I mean, the list goes on and on, unfortunately. So it would just be a matter of them putting something together that made sense where we could still represent and show love for the people that aren't there anymore, given their amazing talent to that product."
She's proud of the series and its impact.
Not only did Moesha put Black teenage girls in the spotlight, which was rare for a TV show at the time, but it also tackled real issues, including race relations, sex, death, and more.
"I'm so proud of that show," Jackson told Strong Black Lead. "Everything we did was so groundbreaking, and I didn't realize it until I became an adult … To hear the younger kids talk about it, I'm like, 'Well, yeah, we did talk about that, huh? We did touch on that.' … We really touched on things that were happening in our neighborhoods and nobody else was doing that."
She added, "It's good to know I helped girls that look like me realize they could do this. And that they're not trapped in whatever little world or little environment that society tries to tell them that they're stuck in."