Name: LL Cool J
Born As: James Todd Smith
Birth date/place: January 14, 1968 in Queens, NY
Claim To Fame: Pioneer in the hip hop genre
LL Cool J (the name stands for “Ladies Love Cool James”) is a pioneer in the hip hop genre with his songs Headsprung, I’m Bad and Mama Said Knock You Out. He is also know for romantic ballads like I Need Love and Hey Love. Cool J has sustained his success as recording artist for more than two decades. He has released 12 studio albums and a greatest hit album. His many music awards include: Two MTV Music Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Soul Train Music Awards.
Cool J began a film career in the late 1980s and has appeared in over twenty movies and several television series episodes. A NCIS spinoff is in production with LL Cool J as Special Agent Sam Hanna.
Name: Lenny Kravitz
Born As: Leonard Albert Kravitz
Birth date/place: May 26, 1964 in New York City
Claim to Fame: Hit single Let Love Rule
Often playing all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and percussion instruments himself when recording, Kravitz is, among many things, a singer-songwriter, actor, interior and clothing designer. His worldwide album sales have been estimated at 38 million. Kravitz’s musical talents have earned him 4 Grammy Awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. He has also won the American Music Award, MTV Video Mucis Award, Radio Music Award, BRIT Award, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Between 1989 and 2008 Kravitz released 9 albums, all of them (except 2008s It Is Time for a Love Revolution) have been certified either Gold or Platinum with 200s Greatest Hits being a 3-time platinum album.
Kravitz did a voice role in the 1998 The Rugrats Movie. He played himself in Being Bick and Zoolander and the character “John” in the 2009 film Precious.
Name: Marques Houston aka Batman
Born As: Marques Barrett Houston
Birth date/place: August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, CA
Multitalented Houston is a singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. His first solo album, MH , was released in 2003, followed by Naked (2005), and Veteran (2007). Houston’s fourth solo album, Mr. Houston, will be released in the summer of 2009.
Houston’s film and television career include: “Roger Evans” in Sister, Sister, and “Kevin Barnes” in Cuts. In his new film, Boogie Town, Houston has the starring role of “Micha”.
Name: Tiki Barber
Born As: Atiim Kianbu Hakeem-Ah Barber
Birth date/place: April 7, 1975 in Roanoke, VA
Claim to Fame: Running Back for the New York Giants from 1997-2006
Barber played as running back for the New York Giants for his entire football career. During that time he was a 3-time Pro Bowl selection and a 3-time All Pro Selection.
After retiring from football he became a correspondent to the Today Show and Football Night in America/Sunday Night Football.
Barber’s endeavors as a writer have produces several books. His autobiography, Tiki: My Life and the Game Beyond (co-written by Gil Reavill) was published in 2007. He published a second book in 2008 titled “Tiki Barber’s PureHard Workout. Barber and his identical twin, Ronde, have published 5 illustrated children’s books: By My Brother’s Side, Game Day, Teammates, Kickoff! and Go Long.
Born As: Omari Ishmael Grandberry
Birth date/place: November 12, 1984 in Inglewood, CA
Claim to Fame: His 2005 solo album ‘O’
Originally with the multi-platinum group B2K, he split from the group in 2005 to do his first solo album, ‘O‘. Omarion’s second album was titled 21, which was his age when he recorded it in 2006. His third album was a collaboration with rapper Bow Wow and was titled Face Off.
Early 2004 saw Omarion playing the role of “David” film You Got Served. Omarion began his film career when he was the voice of the bully “Reggie” in the animated film Fat Albert later that same year. He appeared in the film Cuts which starred Marques Houston in 2005. Somebody Help Me, a 2007 horror film, also starred Houston with Omarion co-starring as “Darryl Jennings”.
Name: Boris Kodjoe
Born As: Boris Frederic Cecil Tay-Natey Ofuatey-Kodjoe
Birth date/place: March 8, 1973 in Vienna Austria
Claim to Fame: As Damon Carter in Soul Food
Multi-lingual Kodjoe is a former male model. In the role of “Damon Carter’ he was one of the 7 regular cast members of the Showtime drama, Soul Food, which aired from 2000-2004. He appeared in several episodes of Second Time Around as “Jackson Muse”. Kodjoe will play “Anthony Stone” in the film Surrogate, a sci-fi thriller to be released in late 2009.
Name: Craig David
Born As: Craig Ashley David
Birth date/place: May 5, 1981 in Southampton, Hampshire, England
Claim to Fame: Debut album Born To Do It
After his debut album, David released four more albums to include: Slicker Than Your Average, The Story Goes…, Trust Me, and a Greatest Hits compilation. His music videography includes 7 Days, Walking Away, Rise & Fall, Unbelievable, This is the Girl and Insomnia.
David has made numerous personal appearance on television programs such as Top of the Pops, GMTV, Live from Abbey Road and Star Academy.
Name: Busta Rhymes
Born As: Trevor Smith
Birth date/place: May 20, 1972 in Brooklyn, NY
Claim to Fame: Former NFL wide receiver turned Hip Hop artist
As a member of the crew “Leaders of the New School” Rhymes, and fellow members Charlie Brown, Dinco D. and Cut Monitor Milo released their debut album A Future without a Past in 1991. The group release a second album in 1993 titled T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye) in 1993. Soon after, the group broke up and, in 1996, Rhymes released a solo hit single Woo Hah: Got
You All in Check. The single was from his platinum album The Coming. Another hit single “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” came from his second album When Disaster Strikes released in 1997. Rhymes has released 5 more solo albums.
Rhymes’ music has appeared in over 30 films and television episodes.
Name: Ngo Okafor
Born As: Ngo Okafor
Birthdate/place: Decemeber 30 in Framingham, MS
Claim to Fame: 2008 Heavyweight Golden Gloves Champion
Okafor has achieved many goals in his life. Not only is he the 2008 Heavyweight Golden Gloves Champion, he is also a highly recognized male model and an actor. Okafor has been featured in several magazines such as Vogue, Fortune magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Vibe, The Source, ESPN magazine, W, among others. He just completed his first feature film, Rebound, with Catherine Zeta-Jones, to be released next spring. He has also worked on episodes of One Life to Live.
Born As: Lemar Obika
Birth date/place: April 4, 1978 in Tottenham, London
Claim to Fame: Soul, R&B performer
In 2002, Lemar competed on the BBCs talent quest/reality television show Fame Academy where he finished third. However, he was noticed by sould singer Beverley Knight who invited him to sing a duet with her during her concert at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Lemar’s first album, Dedicated, released in 2003, was followed by Time to Grow (2004), The
Truth About Love (2006) and The Reason (2008), A Greatest Hits album is scheduled to be released in late 2009 or early 2010.
Name: Mekhi Phifer
Born As: Mekhi Thira Phifer
Birth date/place: December 19, 1974 in Harlem, NY
Claim to Fame: Dr. Greg Pratt on ER
Phifer is best known as “Dr Gregory Pratt” from 2002-2008, on the long running, successful television hospital drama ER. He has made brief appearances in episodes of Homicide : Life on
the Street, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the 2009 drama Lie to Me. Phifer is presently working on the film Hunter’s Moon which he will produce and star in.