Rock A Bye Baby: Vanessa Williams on Being “Keisha” in “New Jack City”


While I am a New Jack City fan and see it as a hood classic like most, I watched it so young I paid little attention to the Alpha female “Keisha” played by Vanessa Williams.I ran across a blog online where they were doing a sort of “where are they now” feature on Williams. While the piece was more so focused on how hot Williams looks at age 52 (she does look awesome), but what I found most interesting is how Williams discusses the movie and getting into character.

Williams says years later, people still ask her to say “Rock a bye baby” her infamous line after killing the dreadlocked dealer on the streets and taking over his territory.  She went on to say the following about getting into role.“My preparation was modeling and emulating the tough folks I saw in my hood. Knowing what it was like and what the posture was like helped the character. I gave myself a back-story as to why this family meant so much to me, and what my emotional relationship was to Wesley’s character and everyone in CMB. It was like, “Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. I am!” For the longest time, when ever we ran into each other, especially Mario, that’s how we would greet each other. “Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. I am.” It was an amazing time to cultivate as an actor. I had no idea that the movie would become such a cult classic that it has. I feel wonderful to be a part of it,” Williams says.


Well 23 years later, Keisha, the character, is still very popular and dominates in hood classics, while Williams looks damn good due to her vegan lifestyle.



me in yellow headshot

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