Angela Means made it in entertainment. She walked runways for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Betsey Johnson, did stand-up and opened for Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and Sinbad, and appeared in the Nickelodeon show Cousin Skeeter and the movie Friday. (She’s Felicia.)
If you already think she sounds like a Renaissance woman just from that, check this out: She’s currently unleashing her creativity at the King’s Donuts on Crenshaw Boulevard in the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles. Means is using the kitchen there to operate a plant-based restaurant called Jackfruit Cafe.
“All I can say is that the spirit led me. And now I have a vegan cafe in the ’hood.” That’s the short version. The longer version involves a lifetime love of cooking, a football-playing son (soon-to-be pro athletes eat so much food) and a family tragedy that jump-started Means’ interested in health.
Although she always loved to cook and enjoyed plant-based cuisine — she was vegetarian as a kid, and is now vegan — she’d never considered combining these two passions professionally until several years ago. She had stopped pursuing acting roles when her son was born so she could focus on raising him; when he got older, she started experimenting with cooking gigs. With no prior professional experience, she got hired as a personal chef and then moved on to preparing her own line of raw puddings and desserts. She started selling them at RAWkin Juice in Burbank, where she’s now a shareholder.
Last year, Means stumbled upon King’s Donuts. The space wasn’t even for rent, but she felt like it was meant to be hers. Her instincts panned out, and she opened Jackfruit Cafe on Sept. 1.
Means reports a pretty warm reception right off the bat. “People were like, ‘Oh my God, thank you. Where have you been?’” she says. “People are waking up now, watching films like What the Health. A lot of younger people are getting their older relatives to come in.”
Means describes her cuisine as soul food, and it has global influences. The Thai green curry jackfruit is rich with coconut milk and garlic and galangal. There are Jamaican jerk flavors and plays on Korean barbecue. If you’ve never had jackfruit, know that, despite the name, it doesn’t have to be sweet. When canned and brined, it’s perfect for savory dishes and shreds very much like pulled pork or crab. (There’s a cornmeal-crusted vegan fish cake on the menu that is a standout. It comes with a side of tartar sauce — vegan, of course.) You can get the jackfruit in tacos, slathered in hot sauce and slaw, or with rice and beans and collards. Prices hover around $9 for most plates.
When asked how she came up with the jackfruit concept, Means says, like so many other adventures in her life, it came to her. Now 54, she often works 13- to 14-hour days, seven days a week. (Her schedule happily fits around that of the doughnut maker, who comes in for the night just as she’s closing up.) Jackfruit Cafe is currently a one-woman show, but Means plans to bringing on prep help after the new year.
She says she couldn’t be happier. “I leave here and I can’t wait to get back. I love what I’m doing.”
2959 Crenshaw Blvd., Jefferson Park, Los Angeles, CA; (818) 694-3050, jackfruitcafe.com.
It’s hard to think that after roughly 30 years in the music industry and blessing the culture with hits like “F**k the Police” and both the Barbershop and Friday series’, that Ice Cube hasn’t already gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But in reality, he actually hasn’t. That is, until today (June 12), when the hip hop icon was honored with his very own star on Hollywood Boulevard.
Director of Boyz in the Hood, John Singleton, was one of people who spoke at Ice Cube’s star ceremony Monday afternoon. “The mark of a true man is how many people he influences in his lifetime,” Singleton said. “That’s how I see Cube.” Dr. Dre was also in attendance to watch his longtime friend and former N.W.A partner be honored. While the multi-faceted artist has definitely influenced many, he suggested the honor was still somewhat surprising.
“When you coming up doing music, movies, just trying to be creative, you never figure you’ll be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one day,” he said.Ice Cube’s Walk of Fame ceremony comes only three days after the release of the 25th anniversary edition of the rapper’s politically-charged album, Death Certificate. Coincidentally, it is only three days before his 48th birthday.
“Rush Hour” and “Friday” star Chris Tucker is getting back in the comedy game with his first ever stand-up special, which launches exclusively on Netflix today, Friday, July 10th. In the special, Chris Tucker shares experiences from childhood to present day, as well as doing his always-anticipated impersonations. To watch the trailer for “Chris Tucker Live,” click below:
Reynaldo Rey, an actor and comedian whose dozens of credits include big-screen comedies Friday and White Men Can’t Jump and a recurring role on TV’s 227, died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke last year. He was 75. His manager Vanzil Burke confirmed the news.
Although a staple on the African-American comedy scene for years, the Oklahoma native got a late start to his screen acting career, earning his first credit at 41 for the Sanford & Son spinoff Sanford, starring Redd Foxx. He appeared in the 1982’s Young Doctors In Love and the Eddie Murphy-Richard Pryor gangster flick Harlem Nights before landing a recurring role as Ray on the popular NBC sitcom 227. He appeared in nearly 20 episodes during its four-year run and also wrote a pair of episodes.
Born Harold Reynolds, the actor went on to appear in several film comedies during the 1990s including White Men Can’t Jump with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, The Breaks, House Party 3. He perhaps is best known for playing Red’s father in 1995’s Friday.
Rey also did episodes of such TV comedies as The Wayans Bros, The Parent ‘Hood and later The Bernie Mac Show and Everybody Hates Chris. He continued to appear in small films throughout the 2000s. His final project was “Hollywood P.O.”, a play he wrote, directed and financed.
Chris Tucker’s first stand-up comedy special Chris Tucker Live will premiere exclusively on Netflix on Friday, July 10. Tucker produces through his banner, Chris Tucker Entertainment with Phil Joanou set to direct.
Filmed at the Historic Fox Theatre in Tucker’s hometown of Atlanta, GA, the special will showcase Tucker’s comedic chops, including impersonations, as he shares his experiences from childhood to the big time.
“Chris Tucker is a true global movie star and a one-of-a-kind talent whose remarkable energy, delivery and original style make him one of the funniest comedians of our time,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. “We cannot wait to share his distinct and hilarious voice with our members across the globe.”
Tucker is possibly best known for playing Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour films. He appeared on Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s and landed his first starring role in the 1995 film cult classic Friday opposite Ice Cube.
Chris Tucker Live joins Netflix’s other comedy stand-up specials including Aziz Ansari, Craig Ferguson, Nick Offerman, Chelse Peretti and Chelsea Handler among others.