Why Tiffany Haddish Is The Star of The Decade
Girls Trip starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish may have been one of the highlights of the summer of 2017, but for the breakout star of the illustrious ensemble, it was the launching pad that she has successfully parlayed into earned superstardom.
Tiffany Haddish is no ordinary A-lister.
Her dramatic rise to the top wasn’t aided by the immediacy that births overnight sensations who are more palatable to this shifty climate, that reserves its unfathomable expectations for the lucky bunch who are worthy enough to gain the loyalty of starry-eyed worshippers.
This merciless age of influencers who clicked their way to verified fame can only accommodate the magic tricks of learned tricksters, who didn’t have to learn life lessons the hard way.
But that’s precisely why the trajectory of Tiffany Haddish is so fascinatingly appropriate as the perfect antidote to unrealistic themes that are used to shame the good old fashioned compass, that guides the pathway of spirited fighters who never take the victories for granted.
When you examine the remarkable hurdles that threatened to derail the ordained route to the bosom of Tinseltown’s elite, and how Haddish could’ve easily been the poster child for what occurs when all the odds are stacked against you, it’s hard not to be blown away by the prime attributes of an inspirational true Hollywood story.
To read about the harrowing details of a turbulent childhood, in her book, “The Last Black Unicorn,” that includes the near-fatal car crash that left her mother with debilitating brain damage that resulted in schizophrenia, and the eventual deposit into the foster care system along with her half-siblings — is to truly appreciate the formidable traits that shaped this Black woman.
She’s a survivor!
Haddish who was raised in South Central LA, was born to an African-American mother, and a father who was a refugee from Eritrea, and a member of an Ethiopian Jewish family. After her late father left the home when she was only three, Haddish’s mother remarried and had more children.
Her stepfather was a menace who cruelly admitted to his stepdaughter that he had tried to kill her and her siblings along with their mother, after messing with the brakes of the car that ended up crashing with just his wife as the occupant.
Once it was established that their household wasn’t a safe environment for Haddish and the little ones that she was responsible for as an over-burdened twelve-year-old, who also had to care for her incapacitated and often times volatile mother, the only solution was foster care, until the timely rescue by her grandmother.
It was during this painful and chaotic period, that Haddish honed in on her comedic skills, and became reliant on this very rewarding coping mechanism that seemed to be an equally joyful experience for recipients.
Her transition from the turbulence of foster care to middle school and eventually high school in Woodland Hills, CA was anything but smooth, but Haddish found solace in creative outlets that allowed her to disappear in the high-tempo verses of Shakespeare.
Her track record of misbehavior in high school forced her social worker to task Haddish with the choice of either therapy or mandatory attendance at the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp.
Thankfully and expectedly, Haddish took the opportunity to polish her comedic repertoire, and that led to the big break as a memorable contestant on Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?
The much-needed exposure gave the burgeoning comedian and actress enviable access to the prominent talents in the game, who dominated the late 2000s and early 2010s. She was able to book guest appearances on a roster of vehicles like That’s So Raven, Chelsea Lately, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Def Comedy Jam, New Girl, and much more.
Her growing slate of high-profile alliances led to the recurring role on the popular BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood in 2013. The “reality TV parody” also featured Kevin Hart, who was on the cusp of superstardom. Hart would also serve as a mentor for Haddish by casting her projects like 2018 comedy movie, Night School.
Haddish was becoming a household name with additional gigs on OWN’s beloved soap opera, If Loving You Is Wrong, where she stayed until the end of the first season before heading over for an extended run as a series regular on NBC’s The Carmichael Show.
Before the meteoric rise to A-list status, courtesy of the runaway hit, Girls Trip, Haddish was invited to co-star in the 2016 action movie, Keanu, alongside iconic comedic duo, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.
And of course the box office prowess of Girls Trip, which ended up being “the highest-grossing film of 2017,” thanks to the signature moves of the funniest girl in the squad that contained enough big names to threaten her shine — was what sealed the deal for the future movie star.
Hollywood came calling fast and furiously, as her reputation got the boost from being compared to the likes of Melissa McCarthy, who was greeted by similar fanfare after her star-making role in the critically-acclaimed Bridesmaids, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Haddish won a BET award for Best Actress for her breakout performance in Girls Trip, but didn’t get the deserved recognition from the Academy. That snub was evidence of how older White voters weren’t “woke” enough to appreciate the comedic genius of Black women in the same way that their counterparts in Bridesmaids were recognized.
History was made when the offer came to host Saturday Night Live in late 2017, as Haddish became “the first African-American female stand-up comedian” to fulfill that duty.
The following year in 2018, Haddish joined renowned comedian and actor Tracy Morgan in his comeback hit show for Netflix, The Last O.G., which marks her first ever lead in a sitcom.
Haddish is sublime in the hilarious comedy series co-created by Jordan Peele, where she holds her own next to Morgan, who plays Tray, a convict, who is released after serving hard time, following a drug bust. Tray returns to his old Brooklyn neighborhood and tries to reconnect with his two children, who are being raised by ex-girlfriend Shannon, played by Haddish, and her husband, a White dude named Josh.
But that’s just a sliver of what Haddish has going on when you consider that she also made time to co-star in Tyler Perry’s 2018 romantic comedy, Nobody’s Fool, alongside Tika Sumpter, Amber Riley, Omari Hardwick and Whoopi Goldberg, where she once again stole the show.
There’s also the high-powered Netflix comedy specials that permit Haddish to spread the wealth by taking a pay cut in exchange for inviting fellow women comedians to spotlighted venues, that enhance stalled careers suffering from under-exposure.
She recently signed a first-look deal with HBO, and provided voice work for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
The impressive array of goodies includes her latest hosting and producing assignment for ABC’s resurrected gem, Kids Say The Darndest Things, where Haddish is in her element, displaying the winning qualities that emphasize her viability.
And of course she has another movie coming out after the new year, Like a Boss, with co-stars, Rose Byrne, Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell, and Salma Hayek, and the trailer is enough proof of why we can’t wait to head to the theaters on the due date of Jan. 10, 2020.
Tiffany Haddish is the appropriate pick for the title of “Star of the Decade.”
It’s because of the slew of reasons listed above, and so much more to come from this Black woman warrior, who signs multi-million dollar deals with Netflix for the pleasure of bringing her crew of favorite comedians along for the glitzy ride to the top.
And how can you not be awed by the celebratory vibes of her recent bat mitzvah ceremony in honor of her fortieth birthday. It turned out to be a lavish and touching homage to her father’s Eritrean Jewish roots, which was further cemented when Haddish took a trip to her adopted homeland to reunite and bond with her relatives.
Tiffany Haddish is living her best life with the humility and grace that was borne from the early years of unimaginable strife, that didn’t produce a bitter and hateful character who wants the world to burn for her wave of bad luck.
She channeled her emotional scars into the healing that comes from laughing out loud, and getting others to happily do the same, even at her own expense.
When she finally peaked, with fame and fortune for the taking, the initial response was to embrace and praise the star of the moment. But almost immediately Haddish became the favored subject of mockery and outright rejection on Twitter.
The crowd of disapprovers, who adore the authenticity of Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B, inexplicably can’t stand the same characteristics blossoming in the Black woman comedian, who’s apparently too “ghetto” for her own good.
They don’t hold back their scathing reviews in viral tweets that almost always hit below the belt with unsightly and unnecessary references to slavery, and how Tiffany Haddish’s epic success is somehow coerced by how she specifically appeals to a White audience who love the caricatures of Black entertainment.
But my love for Haddish is rooted in all the reasons why those who can’t stand her, wince at what she represents.
She’s supremely unbothered, and while she has taken the time to fight back her detractors by “killing them with kindness and a smile,” her best revenge has to be the star-studded endorsements from industry legends who know the real deal when they see it.
We shouldn’t ever minimize the endeavors of true artists who symbolically embody the grittiness of street smarts, and the polished entry into the echelons of notability, that can’t alter the original settings of natural born hustlers, who don’t rely on the erratic consensus of social media for their self-worth.
Tiffany Haddish didn’t just appear out of nowhere.
She did the hard work, and maintained the focus and ravenous passion for what saved her from the direness of an existence that now fuels her soulful journey to the sky without limits.
Her fairytale come true couldn’t have happened to a better person, and the next decade will undoubtedly be her best yet!