If you've been watching P-Valley, the new series on Starz, which follows the life and times of a strip club named The Pynk, then your new favorite TV character is probably Uncle Clifford, the owner of The Pynk. Uncle Clifford is unapologetically bold, goes by she/her pronouns, and does not mess around. Uncle Clifford is fabulous, fierce, and very much celebrates her Black non-binary queerness and gender fluidity on the show.
Who plays Uncle Clifford on 'P-Valley'?
Nicco Annan, a Detroit native, portrays Uncle Clifford, and many agree that his performance is award-winning good. You may have seen Nicco in shows like Claws, This Is Us, and Shameless, but Uncle Clifford is Nicco's biggest role yet.
Before pivoting to TV, Nicco was trying to make it big on Broadway, which is where he met P-Valley's show creator, Katori Hall, who cast him in her play, Pussy Hall — as Uncle Clifford. This was more than 10 years ago, and he still had to audition to prove himself worthy of Uncle Clifford in the Starz series.
Nicco has had some time to get Uncle Clifford and what makes his character so unique and important — not only for P-Valley, but television in general.
"I was very specific on what I wanted, and what I did not want. I found that it was helpful to be able to show the designers things that I did not want, just as much as the things that I wanted to see. Because I wanted to really get to the humanity of Uncle Clifford," he told Digital Spy. "I wanted her to be reachable and for people to understand, 'Oh, she's not a drag queen. Oh, she's not trans.' You know? And explore what gender fluidity looks like, or could look."
The actor is very much loved for his dedication to Uncle Clifford and how he's brought more attention to not only queer Black men, but queer Black men who have sexual relationships on screen. In the show, Uncle Clifford is in a relationship with closeted rapper Lil Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson) and Nicco wasn't shy about undressing their more intimate moments.
"I turned to that producer [who asked if he was comfortable with nudity] and I asked her, 'When was the last time you saw a full-figured Black man or woman be made love to on the screen? If I'm a vessel to tell that story, so be it. I was excited to be honest," he told Vanity Fair.
He told Essence how excited he is to play such a pivotal role in TV right now. “As a Black man and as a Black gay man, it’s very seldom that I get the opportunity to tell such a rich, lush story that really means something and that I really feel speaks to my community and can uplift us,” he said.
Even a high school friend of Nicco's told him his Uncle Ryan (who generally doesn't talk about LGBTQ issues) said that Uncle Clifford "is a motherf---er!"
Nicco told Vanity Fair, "For a man that is of a certain age, like Uncle Ryan? He is hyper masculine. He typically does not talk about LGBT and trans identity...and he was so enthralled with the show. That makes me happy because he sees Uncle Clifford for who she is. And whet they told me that he was using the right pronouns? There's revelation, y'all! There's revelation! Change is coming."