Actress Tichina Arnold has been in the acting game for quite some time. Since she was a teenager, she's been part of Hollywood, appearing in films such as Little Shop of Horrors and How I Got Into College.
From there, she transitioned to television with small roles in the soap operas Ryan's Hope and All My Children. Her breakthrough role came as the funny Pamela "Pam" James in the iconic '90s Fox sitcom Martin.
Over the years, Tichina has starred in several hilarious television shows, from Everybody Hates Chris to comedian Cedric the Entertainer's sitcom The Neighborhood. In both of these, Tichina plays a not-to-be-messed-with mother. Tichina's character, Tina Butler, is married to Cedric the Entertainer's character, Calvin Butler. They are the parents of two children, Marty (Marcel Spears) and Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney).
For three seasons, the 50-year-old has been bringing laughter to her fans with the quick-witted, loving Tina. Is Tina on The Neighborhood actually based on a real-life person?
Tina Butler from 'The Neighborhood' is not based on a real person.
Although Tina's character is not based on a real-life person, the role was inspired by someone. In an interview with Where Is the Buzz, when Tichina was asked whom she's inspired by when she's acting, she at first said, "Nobody!" Then she shared, "I mean, I'm a little bit of my mom in all my characters whenever I play the mother roles."
Her mom isn't the only one who influences all of her mother's roles. Beyond channeling her own mom, Tichina says that two more women in her life have helped influence both her Everybody Hates Chris and The Neighborhood characters.
She said, "I insert my grandmother, my aunt, and my mom. [They] were the three matriarchs of the family." One of the major reasons the actor uses her older family members as inspiration is that early on, according to Tichina, the script for The Neighborhood called for an older Tina. Tichina said that Jim Reynolds, the executive producer and creator of the show, "wrote Tina as a kind of 'Holy Roller.'"
She had other ideas about her character, however. Tichina suggested lowering her age by a few years. When they decided to take a few years off of Tina, a little less of her older family members made it into the role, but she did leave in certain aspects of them.
When they first started shooting the pilot she commented, “I didn’t really think about who she was. I just tried to insert a little bit of myself and my matriarchs in her."
The Neighborhood airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.