Kinloch native and beloved St. Louis daughter Jenifer Lewis joins the latest group of celebrities to be enshrined on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“My heart is filled with love and gratitude,” Lewis said as she announced the news to her nearly 225,000 Facebook followers.
She joins fellow Missouri natives Don Cheadle and Charlie Parker as well as Marla Gibbs, Nick Cannon, Judge Greg Mathis, The Chi-Lites, Missy Elliot, Salt-N-Pepa, radio personality Big Boy and August Wilson as the African American artists whose contributions to music, television, film, media and theater will be cemented as part of the Hollywood legacy.
“Straight outta Kinloch,” Lewis said when she announced that she would be releasing her debut book, the acclaimed memoir “The Mother of Black Hollywood”. “The roads were rocky, but the hearts were full.
Lewis has close to 100 film and countless television credits to her name in the more than four decades since she caught the attention of the entertainment industry as a Broadway performer.
She currently stars in the hit ABC show “black-ish.” In recent years she has been recognized as much for her activism as for her work on film, television and stage.
“I’m in the trenches,” Lewis told a sold-out hometown crowd on stage at her alma mater Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts when she performed a special show as part of her book tour in 2018. “Twenty-five percent of my life is show business, but 75 percent is now the resistance,”
Lewis became an advocate for mental health by way of openly sharing her life with bipolar disorder. She marched in Ferguson during the unrest following the police killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Her YouTube videos have garnered more than 45 million views – and include songs dedicated to the people suffering through the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“The mayor of Flint thanked me, because that song got 20 million views on YouTube,” Lewis said. “See, a little colored girl from Kinloch, Missouri gets 20 million views now.”
She has also used her viral YouTube clips to encourage viewers to get to the polls and vote and most recently delivered a creative response to the fatal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“All hands on deck… take your knee and your privilege off my neck,” Lewis sang in her latest YouTube original “Take Your Knee Off My Neck,” which went viral soon after it debuted three weeks ago.
The performance received more than a quarter-million likes on the Instagram account of popular urban entertainment news and gossip outlet The Shade Room.