She’s also made viewers laugh as Monica Charles Brooks on “Girlfriends” (for which she was nominated for an NAACP Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress); and as the next door neighbor Sheila Ridenhour on “Everybody Hates Chris.” You may also recognize her from the big screen, too, where Sharp has appeared in several blockbusters, including Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married.”
The multi-talented actress not only captivates viewers weekly on the TV screen, but off screen, Sharp is a dynamo. The Rochester, New York native has dazzled audiences in a number of Broadway plays, is a accomplished musician (clarinet, piano and cello) who graduated Cum Laude with a B. F. A. from the Boston Conservatory, has co-written a screenplay and has a TV pilot in the works.
Sharp recently achieved another accomplishment—Sharp has been tapped to direct an episode of “Are We There Yet?” on Dec. 13.
Actresses rarely get the opportunity to make the transition to director, especially actresses of color. According to recent statistics from The Director’s Guild of America, African American female directors only made up 1% of the shows directed during the 2010-2011 season. Sharp will be the first woman—black or white—to actually direct segments of the popular “Are We There Yet” sitcom.
Sharp said she is looking forward to yelling “action!” on the set. “I’m excited,” said the TV veteran, who talked to EURweb during a filming break.
“The segment I’ll be directing is called ‘Concussion.’ I can’t reveal the plot yet, but trust me, it’s a very entertaining script.”
Sharp said directing has always been a goal:
“Whatever set I was on, I was constantly behind the scenes asking questions about props, lighting and editing,” she recalls. “I’m usually very vocal during shooting,” Sharp said candidly. “I was always offering little suggestions here and there to try to make a scene better. In the meantime, I was busy doing all the behind the scenes homework that I could.”
Little did Sharp realize that her keen interest in directing had already been noticed by the “Are We There Yet” producers.
‘I wasn’t aware that Ice Cube, Ali LeRoi and the other executive directors had discussed the possibility of me directing early in the season,” Sharp revealed. “One day Ali LeRoi and I were having a discussion, and I suddenly asked him if I could direct one of the shows. And without hesitation, he said ‘Yes!” recalls Sharp, who added that directing the “Concussion” storyline is a cliff-hanger in two-parts.
“I had no idea they respected me that much,” said Sharp with a tinge of awe. “Somehow they sensed I could possibly have a director’s eye.”
Asked how it is to work with “Are We There Yet” executive director Ice Cube, Sharp responded:
“Ice Cube is wonderful—he’s a great professional man, a father, a husband, a superb actor and a wonderful producer. Not only that, but many people might not know that he’s quite hilarious—and he improvises a lot on the set.”
Sharp’s other projects include bringing a biopic of singer Eartha Kitt to the big screen and she hopes to portray the legendary performer.
“Portraying Ms. Kitt’s life story is something I’ve been passionate about for years,” she said. “She endured so much in her life—for instance, she was blacklisted in Hollywood after vocally speaking out against the Vietnam war. Ms. Kitt was definitely a fascinating woman.”
And there is more — Sharpe, an admitted health addict, promotes better nutrition on her website, FishersofHealth.com. But for now, directing is firmly in the thespian’s sites.
“I definitely would like to pursue more directing in the future,” Sharp revealed. “I also want to pursue more writing and producing. And I would really like to see other black women directors open doors for other women.”