Nicki Minaj has found the young actress to play herself in her upcoming ABC Family comedy, titled “Nicki.” The cable network — which will be Freeform when the series is on air — announced the full cast on Friday.
Ariana Neal will play the title character. Most recently, she played Kevin Hart’s daughter in “Get Hard,” the comedy with Will Ferrell. She also co-starred in “Fruitvale Station” with Michael B. Jordan and “Repentance” with Forest Whitaker. Coming up, she will appear in the ensemble film “Mother’s Day,” which includes an A-list cast of Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston.
Aside from Neal, model Selita Ebanks (“Real Husbands of Hollywood”) will play Grace, Minaj’s mother. Wesley Jonathan (“The Soul Man”) will play Vincent, Minaj’s father; and McCarrie McCausland (“Army Wives,” “The Originals”) will play Jaylen, Minaj’s older brother. Whoopi Goldberg will guest star as Nicki’s neighbor, Miss Martha.
Minaj, who is attached as an exec producer, will also appear in the 30-minute, single-camera series.
“I am honored and excited to announce that I’ve literally hand picked the main characters of my scripted series ‘Nicki,” Minaj posted on Instagram today. “I’ve been going to the auditions falling in love with some incredible people. Looking forward to unveiling this groundbreaking new show for you guys in 2016!”
“Nicki” focuses on Minaj’s life from growing up in Queens with her vibrant family after immigrating from Trinidad to her personal and musical evolution that led to her eventual rise to stardom. Along with Minaj, Kate Angelo (“Sex Tape,” “Will and Grace”), Aaron Kaplan (“Life in Pieces,” “Kevin From Work”), Stella Bulochnikov, Brian Sher (“Boss”), and Gee Roberson will also exec produce. Angelo penned the pilot and will serve as writer on the series.
Neal is repped by Babes N’ Beaus and Industry Entertainment; Ebanks is repped by Global Artists Agency, Spektor Entertainment, Emancipated Talent and Rothenberg, P.C; McCausland is repped by Luber Roklin and CESD; Jonathan is repped by Abrams Artists Agency, Sherry Marsh of Marsh Entertainment and attorney Mark Temple.