Kym Whitley is one of those rare individuals to whom the phrase “renaissance woman” might be applied. These days, most people know her either from her frequent appearances on Larry David’s groundbreaking HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm or from the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a nationally syndicated radio program. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kym is actually a comedienne, actress, activist, author and — perhaps most importantly — a mother.
Originally from the Cleveland area, Kym has been based in Los Angeles for years. She was a schoolteacher in Compton back in the day but always loved performing and, especially, comedy. A chance encounter with the legendary Redd Foxx (who told her she had “the comedic goods”) led her to pursue acting more seriously. Her first real job was in the Shelley Garrett play Beauty Shop, which started in L.A. and did a national tour.
Kym’s TV career began a few years later. One highlight was when she launched the first female panel talk show, Oh Drama, on BET. Kym has appeared in Moesha, The Wayans Brothers Show and many others. Of the latter series, she says, “My favorite was The Wayans Brothers Show. I laughed through the whole thing!” She was also was nominated for both a Daytime Emmy Award and an Indie Series Award for her portrayal of “Big Candi” in The Bay, The Series.
Kym is also no stranger to the big screen. Her first big role was as “Auntie Suga” in Next Friday. Since then, she has appeared in The Nutty Professor, Along Came Polly, College Road Trip, the upcoming Young & Hungry and dozens of other films. She also voiced the characters “Honey Bee” in Black Dynamite and “Melonee” in the popular computer-animated feature Rango.
As of late, some of Kym’s projects have become more personal. She and her adopted son Joshua became the focus of Raising Whitley, which ran on the Oprah Winfrey Network a few years back. She just completed what may be her most exciting project yet: the novel The Delusion of Cinderella, which became available last summer. Kym says the book is “not for the faint of heart!” Indeed, the tag line is “Love and lust feel the same but you can only trust one of them.”
In addition to all her work as an entertainer, Kym is a dedicated activist. Her ‘Don’t Feed Me’ campaign began as something she did for Joshua but evolved into an ongoing, high profile project to raise awareness of food allergies for children and adults. Kym holds an honorary doctorate from UVa — Lynchburg, as well as a Bachelors of Science from Fisk University. She serves on the board of directors for both The Special Needs Network of L.A. and The Jefferson Memorial Home for Foster Children.