Television

Jenifer Lewis dishes about her ‘children’

Jenifer Lewis (right) with (from left) Yara Shadihi, Marcus Scribner, Anthony Anderson, and Raven-Symoné on “Blackish.”
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Jenifer Lewis (right) with (from left) Yara Shadihi, Marcus Scribner, Anthony Anderson, and Raven-Symoné on “Blackish.”

With 68 movies, 300 TV shows, four Broadway shows, and various cabaret and musical shows around the country, Jenifer Lewis has been busy since booking a role in the musical ‘‘Eubie!’’ in 1979, 11 days after arriving in New York after college. The title of her memoir, ‘‘The Mother of Black Hollywood,’’ is a nod to her career of maternal roles in Hollywood. In an interview, she shared her thoughts on some of her on-screen babies:

Will Smith, aunt, ‘‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’’ (1991-96): ‘‘Happy. Bouncy. Very disciplined. I love him. He was very protective of me on the set. I know I played his aunt, but he treated me like his mom.’’

Angela Bassett, mother, ‘‘What’s Love Got to Do With It?’’ (1993): ‘‘I’m proud of her. One of our most dramatic actresses. One of our finest.’’

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Tupac Shakur, mother, ‘‘Poetic Justice’’ (1993): ‘‘Genius. Lots of weed. And well-raised. A total gentleman. He had such respect for me.’’

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Whitney Houston, mother, ‘‘The Preacher’s Wife’’ (1996): ‘‘All I wanted to do was hold her and rock her and love her. Protect her. Sing her lullabies. Tell her it was going to be all right,’’ Lewis said and began wiping tears that ran down her face. ‘‘She scored our lives. Our souls soared when she sang. And she was beautiful.’’

Jill Marie Jones, mother, ‘‘Girlfriends’’ (2002-06): ‘‘Who?’’ she said as her thunderous laugh filled the room. ‘‘I’m just kidding. I don’t know what to say about Jill Marie. The girls on ‘Girlfriends’ were all my babies.’’

Raven-Symoné, grandmother, ‘‘That’s So Raven’’ (2004): ‘‘She’s quick. She doesn’t miss a beat. She was trained well. I love her professionalism. She’s a bundle of joy on set. Like I said, on set.’’

Taraji P. Henson, mother, ‘‘Not Easily Broken’’ (2009): ‘‘She’s a bad bitch. Real. Amazing. Brilliant. We love each other. She has showed me her strength. Taraji don’t have time for no kind of [expletive]. She wears her heart of gold. That’s the kind of bitch she is.’’

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Anthony Anderson, mother, ‘‘Blackish’’ (2014-present): ‘‘A damn fool. We have chemistry like I have had with no other actor. I guess cause I’m a fool, too.’’

Keith L. Alexander