Raising Whitley

Raising Whitley

Raising Whitley on OWN is a humorous, poignant docu-series following actress and comedienne, Kym Whitley, and her riotous collective of friends – whom she calls “The Village” – as they attempt to do something none of them have ever done before: raise a baby… together.

When Kym signed up to mentor a trouble young girl, she never imagined she’d get a call from the hospital saying, “your baby is ready.” After learning that her mentee exited the maternity ward leaving only Kym’s contact information, Kym had only one hour to make a life-changing decision and she chose to become a mother. The Village banded together to help Kym bring up baby Joshua, but sometimes it’s hard to tell who is more mature, Joshua, or the adults who are raising him.

Participants

  • Kym E. Whitley
    Kym E. Whitley

    Kym E. Whitley

    Kym E. Whitley

    Born in Khartoum, Sudan, raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and introduced to the world via Hollywood, Kym E. Whitley is a funny, talented, and driven quadruple-threat ­actress, producer, director and stand-up comedienne.

    After a scene stealing run as the hilarious wisecracking secretary on the UPN comedy series Sparks, Whitley became a staple on television guest-starring on popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which got her Emmy nods, Lifetime’s Missing, Disney’s That’s So Raven, ABC’s My Wife And Kids, UPN’s Love Inc., The Parkers, The Boondocks on the Cartoon Network, Fox’s The Cleveland Show, Til Death, BET’s Let’s Stay Together and ABC’s Animal Practice. Currently, Whitley voices Honeybee on Black Dynamite: The Animated Series.

    Proving she isn’t just another pretty face, Whitley created and co-hosted her own evening talk show on BET entitled Oh Drama! Other hosting credits include the syndicated Brian McKnight Show and the NBC show School Pride.

    These same qualities have made her an in-demand big screen player, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s elite such as Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Martin Lawrence, Ice Cube and Eddie Murphy. Whitley’s past credits include box office hits We Bought A Zoo, Rango, Fun with Dick and Jane, Along Came Polly, The Perfect Man, I Love You Man, Deliver Us From Eva, College Road Trip, Next Friday, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Black Dynamite and Transformers 3.

    In addition to her television and film appearances, Whitley continues to perform sidesplitting stand-up routines throughout the world. Presently, she hosts Ladies’ Night Live at The Comedy Union in Los Angeles. She also owns and operates Kwick Whit Productions and has produced several projects including Love Chronicles, Cruising for Love with Kym Whitley, and the feature length film, 35 and Ticking. With all this talent, it comes as no surprise that Whitley’s career continues to flourish with several upcoming television and movie projects.

    Whitley’s personal passions include raising her adorable son that she adopted in 2011, as well as giving back to her community and causes that touch her heart. As a result, she donates her time and talents to as many fundraisers that her schedule permits. A few of her passions are HBCU’s (Historically Back Colleges and Universities), women shelters, victim’s rights and anything having to do with children. Whitley started her own non-profit called Comics 4 Kids, which she has used to host toy drives during Christmas and celebrity basketball on the east coast.

    Kym E. Whitley maintains true love and dedication to her industry. Look for this phenomenal and talented woman to be around Hollywood for a long time to come.

  • Rodney Van Johnson
    Rodney Van Johnson

    Rodney Van Johnson

    Rodney Van Johnson

    Rodney is an Ohio native, like fellow Raising Whitley cast members Kym and Wendell. Rodney attended the University of Cincinnati, and is in their Hall of Fame in Track and Field. He still holds the record in both the high jump and the 100-meter dash. Rodney is the father to two boys, Quincy and Alexis, who he says are both “amazing.”

    Rodney began acting twenty-five years ago and is best known for his soap opera roles, appearing in The Young and the Restless, Port Charles, and Passions. Kym and Rodney met in an acting class decades ago, went out on a date that did not work out, and instead became close friends.

    Rodney is very handy with tools, loves to fix things, and is a master in the kitchen so it’s no surprise that he is a real charmer with the ladies. He loves inventing and developing new products, most recently a “Don’t Feed” t-shirt line alongside Kym Whitley that alerts caregivers of children with allergies of what they should and should not eat. He is hoping the shirts will prevent many allergy-prone children from exposure to foods and items that trigger dangerous allergic reactions.

  • Wendell James
    Wendell James

    Wendell James

    Wendell James

    Like Kym Whitley, Wendell was raised in Ohio but felt California was a perfect fit for him to pursue his dreams. Wendell’s unique style along with his fun, but often blunt, personality can turn a head or two. Wendell and Kym met in 2004 and became instant friends, enjoying vacationing and shopping together. Wendell and Kym often attend red carpet events and parties together, fondly referring to each other as “Hollywood Husband and Wife.”

    Even though Wendell has great hair (and a Bentley), he also has a PHD in counseling and has run a business working with developmentally disabled adults for 30 years. Wendell resides in Palm Springs, California with his dog, Tony. Although he does love style and flair, beautiful clothing, and fancy jewelry, Wendell is not about superficiality. He expects others to be as real as he is, and his compassion combined with his intelligent wit, keeps the other villagers on their toes.

  • Samantha Cha
    Samantha Cha

    Samantha Cha

    Samantha Cha

    Samantha aka “Sam” was born in Muncie, Indiana. She moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and parlayed her natural athletic ability into a successful personal training career, landing a job at an exclusive, private gym that happened to have a strong celebrity clientele. That is where she met Kym Whitley and they became fast friends.

    Although Sam has a successful personal training business, she actively pursues acting and singing as well. Sam is often the poised and balanced voice of reason amongst Kym’s friends. She attempts to enforce a workout regimen with Kym who doesn’t always stick to it, sneaking snacks in front of Sam who also encourages her to eat a healthy diet. Sam may have a graceful demeanor, but she has an opinion she is not afraid to share with Kym and the other members of The Village.

  • Val Chandler
    Val Chandler

    Val Chandler

    Val Chandler

    Val was born in Washington, DC and has been living in California for 22 years. Val is an Employee Benefits Consultant and her area’ ‘of expertise is Health Care Reform as well as wellness, which is a key concern for employers.

    Val is bright, doesn’t sugarcoat anything and is very protective of her close friend, Kym Whitley, who she met 17 years ago at the party of a mutual friend.’ ‘Their friendship has developed over the years, growing into the sisters they are today. Val considers herself Joshua’s “auntie” and is as protective over him as she is Kym. Val is an expert at balancing a glass of wine in one hand, while waving her finger in the air on the other hand. Like the other villagers, Val is not at all scared of speaking her mind. Watch out, because this woman can bring it in an argument!

  • Stacey McClain
    Stacey McClain

    Stacey McClain

    Stacey McClain

    Stacey McClain is a writer/producer who originally hails from the South Side of Chicago. She met Kym while on the stand-up circuit where both talented ladies of comedy were performing in various clubs in and around Los Angeles. Stacey and Kym instantly became friends and even went to film school in New York together. Stacey says her valuable friendship with Kym has lasted longer than her marriage!

    Things people may not know about Stacey is she admits to keeping her weaves the same length as her real hair and never goes anywhere without her purse, noting it is a “Chicago thang.” She has two dogs, Dezzi and Diego. Stacey is a down-to-earth person who shoots from the hip. Her hobbies include traveling and baking desserts. One day she will have to share her butter cookie recipe with the world but until then she makes us all laugh with her fantastic observations and quick-witted one liners on Raising Whitley.

  • Demetrius Jones
    Demetrius Jones

    Demetrius Jones

    Demetrius Jones

    Demetrius was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was the first person to attend college in his family and is very passionate about education. Demetrius is a practicing entertainment attorney as well as an entrepreneur who owns several companies in both apparel and health and wellness.

    He met Kym through his girlfriend, Sam. Kym wanted an attorney that specialized in entertainment who could also provide business advice. They developed a friendship as well as a working relationship. When Demetrius’ father passed away, he called Kym and she talked to him, actually making him laugh and feel inspired through a hard time.

    Demetrius admits he can appear aloof at times, but he believes this is because he is the last person to panic in a situation. He sits back and analyzes before he reacts. In the village, he is sarcastic and level-headed, often wanting to mediate an argument rather than elevate it.

  • Harold Bell
    Harold Bell

    Harold Bell

    Harold Bell

    Harold is a Los Angeles native who attended Hollywood High School Magnet for the Performing Arts. During his time at this school, his love for singing and dancing blossomed. Harold is loyal and honest and, like many other members of the village, he is not afraid to speak his mind. He is a patient person and often has the most colorful insight into a situation.

    Harold can often be found watching the clock in anticipation of “happy hour.” He dislikes drama, lying, cheap shoes and clutter, which makes his career as a professional organizer a perfect fit for him. He met Kym through a friend, organized her house, and soon became her part-time assistant. In need of constant organizing, the pair has developed a working relationship and friendship spanning many years.

Comments

Oprah Winfrey Network

Schedule

Saturday January 16th, 10/9c PM

Telling Joshua

Saturday January 9th, 10/9c PM

Movin' On Up

Saturday December 12th, 10/9c PM

My Baby's Turning Four!

Saturday December 5th, 10/9c PM

To Z or Not to Z

Saturday November 28th, 10/9c PM

The Whitley Intervention Part 2

Saturday November 21st, 10/9c PM

The Whitley Intervention Part 1

Saturday February 21st, 9/8c PM

Beauty Shop

Saturday February 14th, 9/8c PM

Harold’s Big Break

Saturday February 7th, 9/8c PM

My Baby's Going to School!

Saturday January 31st, 9/8c PM

Runaway Bride

Saturday January 24th, 9/8c PM

Rodney's Remorse

Saturday January 17th, 9/8c PM

One Night Only

Saturday January 10th, 9/8c PM

Wendell's Struggle

Saturday January 3rd, 9/8c PM

Growing Up Whitley

Saturday March 8th, 9/8c PM

What's Best For Joshua?

Saturday March 1st, 9/8c PM

Joshua's Birthmother

Saturday February 22nd, 9/8c PM

The Last Straw

Saturday February 15th, 9/8c PM

Enough Is A Muff

Saturday February 8th, 9/8c PM

Here Today, Gondola Tomorrow

Saturday February 1st, 9/8c PM

Cleveland Roots

Saturday January 25th, 9/8c PM

The Blind Leading the Blind

Saturday January 18th, 9/8c PM

A Stuffer's Kerfuffle

Saturday January 11th, 9/8c PM

Move Out of My Man-Space

Saturday January 4th, 9/8c PM

Momma Sexy is Back

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