Los Angeles — Nzinga Imani stars in Tyler Perry's hit show "Sistas" and the spin-off "Zatima," which can both be streamed on BET+.
She shared with YR Media her journey to the big screen as well as her role when it comes to spreading body positivity!
Imani always wanted to be a performer and a singer, but she did not know how much her life would change when a high school teacher asked her to join a musical. "I didn't know anything about musicals at the time, and I absolutely fell in love, got completely immersed in that and theater in general," she said. She even studied theater in college and became involved with it on campus, including being the drama club president.
When it comes to picking a major that you want to study for the next four or so, it can be a struggle for some people to understand why attending college or higher education to study the arts is sustainable. She explained that she didn't even tell her mom when she switched her major to the theater due to her mom expecting her to go a traditional route, such as being a doctor. "She found out at the end of one of my plays because it was in the brochure that I was a fine arts major. I just had a big solo, and people were all around me congratulating me, telling me how great I did. And then she comes clumping down like, "What is this?" she said.
Although her mother always supported Imani, in true mom fashion, she saw it more as a hobby than a career. Growing up her mom kept her in singing, dance and other performative art classes, essentially introducing her to her passion. "She always came to my plays, always was front row center, but didn't really truly believe like this is something that can sustain you for life," Imani said.
While this is the reality for people who are passionate about the arts, she advises people to do what makes them happy and what they are passionate about. She tried other majors and lanes, such as communications, and even picked up American Sign Language. However, her heart has always led her back to the stage. "I was interested in other things, but there was nothing that really got to my core the way the theater does," she said.
She has been in front of the camera for some amazing roles, including her most recent in the show Zatima where she plays Angela, a friend of Zatima. Her character is known for being quite messy. However, Imani describes her as "a very caring friend. Somebody who sympathizes and always wants people to, always wants to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her friendships," she said.
Angela on Zatima is the worst kind of friend omg 😂
— griselda b (@ohhhdessy_) May 21, 2023
While I won't ruin the show, I will say if you like juicy drama, plot twists, and mess with a little bit of tea, then this may be the show for you! It will definitely keep you glued to the screen as you navigate the relationships and situationships that transpire.
Renewed my BET plus account and been watching Zatima day n night im almost finish in 2 days 😭
— 🤝🏾 . (@LonggLiveChop) May 19, 2023
Imani is a plus-sized model and actress who is an advocate for body positivity. She has gained a community that supports and uplifts them, and she is happy to do that for others. "I'm On billboards for plus size bikinis, and now I have my own plus size store. All of this happened within the past four years, and it was a community I was totally oblivious to before," she said. She explained the importance of visibility and diversity when it comes to being in front of the big screen and how it opens the doors for more people.
She dropped some gems for those interested in entering the entertainment industry; she advised that you practice often and get involved where you can. "It's not gonna be handed to you. You have to fight for it. And the skills that you learned from even just doing that by recording yourself and watching it back are things that you're gonna need when it comes to getting these auditions. Once you get these auditions, you don't want that to be the first time that you have gone through a script on camera," she said.
Ariyana Griffin is a graduate student at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a California native and graduate of Clark Atlanta University. Follow her on Twitter: @Ariyanaaganee and Instagram: @ari.yana.g.
Edited by Nykeya Woods