The cast of A Black Lady Sketch show broke the glass ceiling for Black women in comedy when the series premiered on HBO Max in 2019. Headed up by creator Robin Thede, the series has appearances from a number of celebrated and up-and-coming Black actresses.
Among them are Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Issa Rae, and the newly promoted series regular Skye Townsend. Skye joined the cast as a guest star shortly after Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson exited the series. After making her debut in A Black Lady Sketch Show’s sophomore year, she quickly became a fan favorite.
The actress returns for Season 3 — which is set to feature guest stars Ava Duvernay, Raven-Symoné, Wanda Sykes, and more. But Skye isn’t new to the spotlight. In fact, the actress is pretty much an honorary member of Black Hollywood thanks to her dad’s contributions to the industry.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Skye got candid about the impact he’s had on her career.
Meet ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ star Skye Townsend’s dad, Robert Townsend.
Robert Townsend walked so that Skye could run. He got his start in the industry after booking a role as an uncredited extra in Spike Lee’s Cooley High. The actor auditioned to join the cast of Saturday Night Live in the early '80s but was passed over for the role, which ultimately went to Eddie Murphy. Luckily, the rejection didn’t deter him from his dream.
In the years that followed, Robert went on to direct Eddie’s second feature-length comedy film, Raw. Since then, Robert has acquired a long list of film credits and worked alongside industry icons like Beyoncé, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Halle Berry. Now, it’s Skye’s mission to make sure his legacy lives on. "I definitely credit my work ethic to my dad,” she told us.
Skye Townsend told us the best advice she’s ever gotten from Robert Townsend.
Decades after Robert’s industry debut, his daughter is ready to ascend the throne.
On Skye's rise to stardom, the Hollywood Shuffle director offered her words of encouragement that put her in a position to win. But he never sugarcoated the truth. “One of the greatest things he could have ever done for me was being honest when I needed work,” Skye told Distractify.
Skye’s father would tell her, "'You're close, but you ain't got it yet.'"
"I think by watching him work and be so diligent about what he created, I was like, 'Oh, I have to pay attention to the details with everything that I do,'" she said.
Skye's more than 220,000 followers on social media prove that Robert's advice was effective. And according to her, he is "so proud." Skye gushed, "I think it's just been really surreal for him to watch me follow in his footsteps."
"I was a young performer, and a young kid telling everybody, 'One day I'm gonna be a star!’ And they were like, 'Yeah girl, keep going.'"
She added, "But my dad saw it. And so I think for him, it's a lot to take in. It's like, wow, my baby. She's doing it."
You can watch Skye in new episodes of A Black Lady Sketch Show at 11 p.m. EST on HBO Max.