Before there was Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union or Tariji P. Henson, there was Stacey Dash. Musings on the age-defying 44-year-old beauty raises questions around her descending acting career. We first came to know the Bronx bombshell in her primetime debut on “The Cosby Show.” Showing her dramatic chops as a shy 19, Stacey played Denise’s friend Michelle, a high schooler who didn’t want her parents to know she was sexually active. From there, the actress’ career was on a steady rise. Starring in several roles on both small and silver screens, Stacey played opposite Damon Wayans in the comedy film Mo Money and made an appearance on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” with actor Will Smith. In the iconic Clueless, Stacey fabulously repped the brown girls in her celebrated portrayal of the gorgeous and rich, Dionne Davenport. Partnering with Alicia Silverstone (Cher), the two ushered in a new phase of fashion-obsessed teens and a slew of popular phases like, “as if!” Looking back on the influential film, what many of us can’t believe is that Stacey was nearly 30.
At the start of a new millennium, the actress reasonably sustained her career appearing in several straight-to-DVD flicks like Gang of Roses, Getting Played and Nora’s Hair Salon II. It’s kind of safe to say Stacey Dash slipped into a Hollywood oblivion. In the past decade, what could easily rival her film career is her very own videography. Today, the actress manages to stay relevant in black popular culture for her slew of steamy men’s magazine covers and her constant portrayal of the sexy video “it” girl. Most actresses get their start in music videos, but Stacey continually serves up the prototypical bad chick, holding her own against 20-something newcomers in videos by Carl Thomas, Marques Houston and Kanye West. Most recently the actress hops on the back of Rick Ross’ motorcycle in his upcoming video, “Super High.” Altogether now, what in the hell happened to Stacey Dash?! It’s awful. It sucks. It’s just not fair. How could a woman this stunning and talented, in the game for over 20 years be consistently reduced to mere appearances in rapper’s music videos? For many of us who overstand the game, it’s just not that surprising.
Stacey, much like Vivica Fox, Lisa Raye and Tamala Jones are caught up the endless dilemma of the Hollywood black actress. Stars like Nia Long are vocal on the scarcity of roles for black women. And when these women are called on for major roles, they find themselves playing the ever supportive sassy black friend. And let’s be real, Jada Pinkett-Smith would certainly belong in this pool if she wasn’t married to the box office king himself. When Stacey Dash appeared on the red carpet with Jamie Foxx at the Oscar’s Vanity Fair after-party, many of us secretly wished they would become the new “it” couple, if only to give Stacey the exposure she deserves. Desperate? Well, she wouldn’t be the first. Talks of her reality show are ironically welcomed– at least she’ll be regularly appearing on TV. Ump! But this no Tinseltown pity soiree. Thank God in heaven for second chances a.k.a ‘the video chick’– without it, it seems we’d hardly ever see black actresses like Stacey.
Will Stacey Dash remain the eternal video chick or will she revive her acting career?