Niecy Nash-Betts Expands Her Range on the Small Screen

Where did you first meet Niecy Nash-Betts? In the movies, she had an early role in guys on the side (1995) as “Woman at Diner” only to get a role Selma (2014) as civil rights activist Richie Jean Jackson. But these roles are few and far between. The movies don’t have that special something that Nash-Betts finds on television. If you first saw them on the big screen, maybe it’s the small screen that you keep finding them on. At HBO, she’s done Reno 911! and Get in. She’s been unstoppable lately. In 2018 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is a repeat Emmy nominee. And why? Nash-Betts excels at playing a wide variety of women. She can provide comic relief, be a badass boss, or a mix of all rolled into one.


She did horror comedies. No, in none Scream guess but see Courtney Cox and Niecy Butt Heads is an energy the franchise could capitalize on. The next best thing is that she shares scenes with the horror icon Jamie Lee Curtis in scream queens (2015-2016), where Nash-Betts plays Denise Hemphill. Even though Denise is more of a support than a main character, especially in the second and final season before cancellation, she’s a great thing at every moment. Miss Hemphill is always on the hunt for the slasher, be it the Red Devil or the Green Meanie, even when she doesn’t catch the right suspect. There’s a change that the actress has to accept, playing a horny security guard turned police chief, housewife and FBI agent.

She can be clumsy, she can also be intelligent. She plays Brokeback Mountain’s (2005) cowboy lovers with her boo for One Strange, Hot Night. Niecy Nash-Betts takes the material and never ceases to surprise, providing laughs and a sense of authority. Your line delivery is spot on right from the start. “Shondell!” She yells at her dead security guard partner, “Why do you have a knife in your throat?!” Logic is free fall in this universe, the outrageous happens galore. Denise Hemphill and Nash-Bett’s acting take it up with ease.

In Claws we see Niecy Nash-Betts Shine as a complex character

On to the dark comedy-crime claws (2017–2021), Nash-Betts has a starring role as Desna Simms, a manicurist with exquisite acrylic claws who deals with shady people. That’s because she uses her Florida salon to launder money with the Dixie Mafia. Regarding “exquisite acrylic claws,” they’re a veritable art form per episode. They won’t gouge your eye out if you approach them wrong. They’ll catch your eye like daggers or – like the series’ namesake, claws. Key Nail Artist Morgan Dixon and a team of fellow artists did their part to add detail to the characters’ nails to tell a story of their own. Because the characters are as extravagant and complicated as the nails. Beware of older women. Butterscotch candies might not be the only thing they have in their purse, if any, but an automatic weapon certainly will. In an interview with NPR, Nash-Betts said, “Playing these women who are very sexually open and aggressive. They are unapologetic in their behavior and femininity.” Desna and the girls are, “Everyone’s trying to claw their way under some or all of these men — in our underworld.”

Take Niecy’s Desna, who can be sexy, jaded, determined, cute and vicious. Since she is an ensemble, she gets great scene partners. On the softer side, Desna lives with her autistic brother Dean (Harold Perrineau). As Desna tries to be siblings and parents, they grow to care for each other as equals. In the saloon, her girls all play into the criminal activities. This is Desna’s family and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for you. The villains she encounters push our main girl to find her strengths. After being attacked by flamboyant mob boss Uncle Daddy (Dean Norris) too many damn times, Desna rises to a power she never thought possible. “Thank you for underestimating me. That shit taught me a lot,” she tells him. She’s growing into a dangerous opponent.

When They See Us follows Niecy Nash-Betts as she navigates emotional drama

Denise and Desna are two very different female characters, although Niecy Nash-Betts doesn’t get caught up in repetition. But creating a character is in stark contrast to portraying a real person. Selma isn’t the only time she’s done that. in the when they see us, she is Delores Wise, mother of one of the Central Park Five. The Netflix limited series is poignant and focuses on the horrific racism and injustice faced by the titular youth. It also humanizes them and their families for a fuller exploration beyond the headlines. For Delores, she struggles with her feelings as her son Korey (Jharrel Jerome) is unfairly tried and convicted as an adult. Visiting him takes a toll. The journey is long, she does not have the time available for frequent trips. She also has no extra money to help him. In a burning memory, Kevin recalls being separated from his sister when Delores couldn’t accept their older child Marci (Isis King) because he is transgender. When tragedy strikes, Delores’ true feelings surface for a heartbreaking moment of clarity.

Speaking to Collider, Nash-Betts explained her own thoughts on handling the intense scene. Delores was a terrified mother, and “she didn’t know how to properly communicate that fear and vulnerability, so she masked it with anger and frustration.” It’s a scene that hurts, but she, like the other actors, understands the responsibility and sensitivity of playing these people. At one point, Korey reaches over to make physical contact with his mother during a visit and is taken away by the guards. Delores struggles to keep up with him until he’s out of sight, straining her voice to be heard: “They can’t break you, Korey!” The performance is raw and unabashed, and it wasn’t the last time she entered the true crime genre.

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Nash-Betts is the true star of Dahmer

Niecy Nash-Betts offers the same responsibility and sensitivity in Dahmer – Monsters: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer (2022). This is a tricky task. The first half of the show revolves too much around the killer. Only in the second half do victims, families and other victims get their money’s worth. On the latter is Glenda Cleveland, a woman who lives next door to Dahmer and knows something bad is about to happen. But what can she do? Your concerns are ignored by the police. She frequently calls 911, a number of which would justifiably concern anyone. Power tools are used at all times of the night. Screams and sounds of battle can be heard in shared vents. From the same vents, odors penetrate and stink in their apartment. For too long Glenda has lived next to a monster she knows is capable of atrocities.

Glenda’s story is infuriating. She forces herself to “calm down” so as not to upset the police officers, the few she meets. She has to collect herself so as not to be too angry with colleagues who eagerly gossip about Dahmer. In the safe hands of Nash-Betts, performance is grounded. It brings to life a woman who cares for others, who has to live with the fact that her alarm calls were completely correct, but failed to save the young men and boys at the hands of the killer. Glenda has nearly an hour to herself in Episode 7 and is living through an endless nightmare witnessing real things go wrong in the night. In a featurette, Nash-Betts explained what she wanted: “People should know that Glenda Cleveland was special. This was a special woman to go on and on and on to get someone to do something. She deserves a lot more than a little tacky plaque on a boardroom floor somewhere.”

Niecy Nash-Betts shines on TV, but she should be in the movies too

Under these selected roles, you can also add police procedures. As claws, The Beginner: Federal Agencies is a lead actor for Niecy, starring in the comedy and drama she can pull off. Simone Clark is the senior FBI recruit, a former high school counselor who used her time to delve into abnormal psychology and advanced driving skills while teaching Driver’s Ed. It follows the path of The beginnerand who can pursue the charisma of Nathan Fillion as line? Leave that to Niecy. She got a backdoor pilot in Season 4 of The beginner for a spin-off.

Simone is a black woman in law enforcement and that is a key issue being addressed. Wanting to make good change, she brings them into conflict with her activist father, Cutty (Frankie R Faison), who has been unjustly imprisoned in the past. The Presidency proceeds in its work according to fixed rules and conservative methods. Simone is here to really shake things up. The way she drifts her vehicle in a test scenario makes one wonder: why the hell wasn’t she invited into the Fast and Furious Franchise? Nash-Betts’ real-life queer sexuality becomes a part of Simone’s life. All of this comes together to enhance a character that moves away from the typically white, typically straight males who are taking the lead in the genre. And there’s more Niecy for her fans, old and new, to tune into each week.

The actress’ career is far from limited to these five shows. But how they form a sequential path and harness the talents of Niecy Nash-Betts is remarkable and a joy to watch. The big screen has shed significant parts, but not nearly as much as the small screen. The diverse selection and collection of characters on her belt sells her as a powerhouse. Before you stop a replay or first play scream queensmay be claws, get ready for the next project she has planned. With the fast-paced way Niecy Nash-Betts is collecting roles on the small screen, the movies better catch up. Niecy Nash-Betts Expands Her Range on the Small Screen

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