Let's Stay Together
Actress Joyful Drake, sometimes credited as Joyful M. Drake and Joyful M'Chelle, has appeared in the films “Hair Show” (2004) and “Phat Girlz” (2006, with Mo'Nique) “Beauty Shop” (2005, with Queen Latifah) and “Get Him to the Greek” (2010), with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. She has also guest starred in “Soul Food,” “One on One,” “Cuts” and “The Game” and plays the role of Tasha in “Let's Stay Together” (BET, 2011).
Childhood and Family:
Joyful Drake was born on September 24, 1976, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Joyful Drake made her television acting debut in 2001 when she landed the recurring role of Tamara in the Showtime hit series “Soul Food” (2000-2004). She also portrayed Rhonda in an episode of the now defunct UPN sitcom “One on One” called “Creepin' (2003). It was also in 2003 that Drake made her feature acting debut in “The Look,” which starred Carrie Southworth, Andersen Gabrych and Neal Dodson. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 8, 2003.
Following her move to Los Angeles, the Wisconsin native was cast as Stephanie Cole in “Hair Show” (2004), an unsuccessful comedy directed by Leslie Small that starred Mo'Nique and Kellita Smith. She then portrayed Mercedes in “Beauty Shop” (2005), a spin-off of the “Barbershop” film franchise. “Beauty Shop” starred Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Andie MacDowell, Djimon Hounsou, Kevin Bacon and Mena Suvari.
Drake returned to the small screen when she landed a recurring role on the UPN sitcom “Cuts” (2005-2006), a spin-off of “One on One.” As Lani, she appeared in the episodes “On The Road Again” (May 23, 2005), “Welcome Back, Barber-rino” (September 22, 2005) and “The Turkey Triangle” (November 24, 2005).
In 2006, Drake was reunited with Mo'Nique for the comedy “Phat Girlz.” Directed and written by Nnegest Likké, the film was heavily panned by critics and grossed over $7 million worldwide against a budget of $3 million. The next year, she worked with Tony Todd, Debbie Allen, Shakira Bryant, Keana Jackson and Robin Bobeau in “Tournament of Dreams,” a film directed by Don Abernathy that was co-written by Abernathy and Lisa King. In 2008, Drake appeared as Sheila in an episode of The CW series “The Game” called “A Delectable Basket of Treats.”
After almost a three year absence, Drake revisited the big screen with a featured role in “Get Him to the Greek” (2010), a comedy film written, produced, and directed by Nicholas Stoller that starred Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. The film earned generally positive reviews from critics and opened at No. 2 at the U.S. box office. Drake then appeared in the BET romantic comedy series “Let's Stay Together,” which premiered on January 11, 2011. Recently, Drake completed filming the television film “Glass Heels,” which she co-wrote with director Bennie R. Richburg Jr. The comedy is set to air on August 7, 2011.
Drake has also appeared in several off-Broadway productions and was a cheerleader for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team for three years.