What The Cast Of Moesha Looks Like Today

While the '80s took a massive step toward making Black-centric sitcoms a part of prime-time television, the '90s became its well-known successor, introducing us to several cult classics we all still adore. With shows like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Martin" making their exit, UPN — a network formerly built around white viewership — devised a plan to expand its audience. Though UPN later became home to black sitcoms, one comedy, in particular, led the pack and allowed other shows to follow suit. In 1996, "Moesha" premiered on the network and quickly became its most popular franchise.

Its success was primarily due to Brandy Norwood's portrayal of a black teenager navigating life in Los Angeles, California. According to co-creator Vida Spears, there wasn't enough representation of young black women on television. Although Brandy was a successful music artist at the time, she told People that she was grateful to have been a pillar of what young black women modeled themselves after. "It was such a fun and cool experience," she revealed. "And to play such a character that touched so many black girls ... when I look back, it's like, 'Whoa' — you know — 'What a great feeling. I could share this with my daughter.'" Throughout its five-year run, "Moesha" gave us several memorable characters alongside a successful spinoff. What's more notable, however, is what each cast member did following the show's demise. From overcoming depression to becoming well-known humanitarians, here is what the cast of "Moesha" looks like today!

Brandy Norwood remained a multi-faceted figure in entertainment

From background vocalist to solo R&B sensation, Brandy Norwood experienced the taste of fame far before and has since stated that having an acting career wasn't on her radar. Despite playing the short-lived Danesha Turrell in "Thea," Brandy's portrayal of the good-willed and ambitious Moesha Mitchell in "Moesha" helped her establish credibility as a talented actor. So much so, that it launched her into projects such as "Cinderella," "The Game," and "Star." Though she'd keep herself busy filming various movies and sitcoms, Brandy didn't let her music career fall by the wayside. Since her departure from sitcom success in 2001, Brandy released several studio albums.

From two-stepping her way onto "Dancing with the Stars" to making her Broadway debut in "Chicago," all seemed well for Brandy. This all came to a head when Brandy began struggling with depression. In an interview with People, Brandy stated that her daughter, Sy'Rai Smith, was the driving force that helped her overcome her mental struggles. This, in turn, inspired Brandy to make her 7th studio album, "b7," and return to the big screen as Naomi "Xplicit Lyrics" in "Queens." In 2019, Brandy revealed to "Hip Hop Since 1987 TV" how she managed to keep pushing herself to new heights. "I'm not a person that gives up," she stated. "I felt many times that I should stop because, you know, it's hard ... but I'm not a person that sit down so, just keep moving. Keep running."

Countess Vaughn opened up about her issues with self–image throughout her career

In "Moesha," Countess Vaughn portrayed the bright-eyed Kim Parker. As Moesha's best friend, we saw Vaughn successfully bring life to the well-needed secondary character. So much so that it caused the network to launch a spinoff titled "The Parkers," which was heavily based around Kim and her mother, Nikki Parker. From starring in over 100 episodes, Vaughn went on to find work in several projects ranging from "Cuts" to "According to Him + Her."

Like some of her acting counterparts, Vaughn found herself on reality television. During her time on "Hollywood Divas," it was revealed that despite her success, she had several issues she was dealing with behind closed doors. In an episode of "Hollywood Divas," Vaughn shared that she had an abortion during her run on "The Parkers" (via BET). This, coupled with an ongoing battle with vitiligo, a thyroid disorder, and a severe scalp infection, led Vaughn to struggle with her self-image. Luckily, Vaughn appeared to have overcome those challenges. In addition to becoming a dedicated mother, Vaughn underwent a weight loss procedure in 2015. "I've always been honest about everything. I wanted to do a mommy makeover. I had done it after my oldest child," she told People (via In Touch Weekly). "I really needed to just treat myself, and I'm happy about it!" In 2023, Vaughn made her acting return, starring alongside Shoniqua Shandai in an episode of "Harlem."

Ray J transitioned into a well-known entrepreneur

Fiction mixed with reality when Ray Norwood Jr., aka Ray J, was casted to portray Moesha's half-brother, Dorian Long, in "Moesha." Similar to his older sister, Brandy Norwood, Ray J successfully juggled two careers simultaneously. In addition to finding work in sitcoms like "One on One" and "The Rickey Smiley Show," Ray J found success as an R&B artist. Since his departure, he released six full-length studio albums, some of which contained smash hits such as "One Wish" and "Sexy Can I."

Like his fictional counterpart, Ray J has been known to get himself into a long string of controversies. From his infamous "entanglement" with Kim Kardashian to his messy shift into reality television, Ray J never strayed too far away from the limelight. This, however, didn't stop him from transitioning into a doting father of two and a well-known entrepreneur. In 2016, Ray J launched a tech company known as Raytroniks. This would later be rebranded into what is now known as Raycon Global, which shifted its focus to wireless earbuds. With the help of celebrities and online influencers, Ray J quickly found himself managing a multi-million dollar company. In a 2018 interview with Entrepreneur, Ray J knew this would be his claim to fame. "I always knew I was going to do something ... something in this business, you know," he stated. "And I'm still on the grind, still trying to come up. So, who knows what the future holds."

Sheryl Lee Ralph continued to find sitcom success

Sheryl Lee Ralph's success as an actor spans far before playing Dee Mitchell in "Moesha." From starring in "Search for Tomorrow," Ralph's career as an actor only continued to flourish as she was able to book roles in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" and "White Man's Burden." After "Moesha," Ralph kept herself busy each year, starring in shows like "Hannah Montana" and "House of Payne," while also picking up voice acting credits in a range of DC animated cartoons like "Static Shock" and "Young Justice."

Although Ralph was able to find consistent work over the years, it wouldn't be until 2021 that she would, yet again, strike sitcom gold. As of 2023, Ralph is widely known as Barbara Howard in Quinta Brunson's "Abbott Elementary." Aside from "Moesha," her performance as the stern kindergarten teacher was recognized by several organizations like the Critics Choice and Black Reel Awards. Most notable, however, was Ralph's Primetime Emmy win in 2022, where she gave a tear-jerking speech regarding her journey as an actor. When speaking about her career with Access Hollywood, she expressed those similar feelings. "A young person looked at me and they said, 'Ms. Ralph. Do you realize that you have had a beautiful crescendo in your career?'" she recalled. "And I said, 'Yes, child! Yes, I do!'"

Lamont Bentley died tragically in 2005

Lamont Bentley found consistent work throughout the '90s, starring in several television series such as "Courthouse," "Family Matters," and most notably, "South Central." None, however, were as impactful as his portrayal of Hakeem Campbell in "Moesha." After playing Moesha's long-time neighbor turned boyfriend, Bentley would briefly reprise his role in the spinoff, "The Parkers." Although his time on the popular UPN series served him well, the actor sought to expand his talents into music. Despite his artistic pursuits, the actor had the opportunity to star alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in "The Wash," and play the late Tupac Shakur in "Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story."

Though all seemed well for the successful actor, Bentley died tragically in 2005. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bentley got into a fatal car crash that saw him drive through a chain-link fence while heading for the Rocky Peak Fire Road offramp in California. As for the cause of his car crash, his autopsy didn't indicate that the actor was inebriated at the time. His manager, Susan Ferris, reinforced this idea by stating that it was simply a string of unfortunate events. "He was a bright candle that just got snuffed out," she revealed. "He was in a great place emotionally, physically. Everything was going right for him."

Marcus T. Paulk became an owner of a modeling agency based in California

Despite having an interest in dancing and music, Marcus T. Paulk became a well-known child actor in the '90s. From dancing on the streets of Venice Beach, Paulk used his passion for performing to land roles in sitcoms like "The Sinbad Show" and "Martin." Although Paulk is best known for playing the immature Myles Mitchell in "Moesha," he didn't allow that to remain his identity after the show's demise. 

From starring alongside Bow Wow in "Roll Bounce" to reprising his role as Myron in "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder" in 2022, it seemed that Paulk showed no signs of slowing down his acting pursuits. Similar to Ray J, however, Paulk's focus shifted to entrepreneurship. In 2017, he announced that his modeling agency, VVS Models, is open for business. Despite the lack of success during the first year, Paulk posted to Facebook a year later to announce the agency's return. "All Models go follow @vvsmodels. I will be relaunching my modeling company in the beginning of the year," he wrote. "Turn on the notifications. I will be posting castings and new gigs there. ... Let's get it, ladies." As of 2023, Paulk has been able to keep his company afloat and garner some credible feats in the process. According to the company's promotional Instagram post, VVS models have worked with several artists ranging from Omarion and Snoop Dogg to newer acts such as Wiz Khalifa and Future.

William Allen Young maintained relevancy through humanitarian efforts

Making his acting debut in 1979, William Allen Young was a revered actor throughout the '80s and '90s. His career culminated when UPN casted the USC graduate as the doting father figure, Frank Mitchell, in "Moesha." Although his character wasn't a fan favorite due to his confusing relationship timeline on the show, that didn't stop Young from finding success as an actor after the show's demise. Since his departure, Young found consistent work in shows like "Any Day Now," "Code Black," and "9-1-1: Lone Star."

Aside from his notable acting feats, Young has since dedicated himself to improving the education system for underprivileged communities. What's now known as the Young Center was an effort in which Young showed great interest in 1987 through the Young Foundation. By calling in the help of several volunteers ranging from retired professionals to college students, Young aimed to solve the several systemic issues troubled schools in Los Angeles faced over the years. In a 2020 interview with "LA This Week," Young shared why this organization came to be. "I wanted to create — or help create — a culture of success in communities where there just seemed to be this culture of death and this imminent 'I am not going to live past 21,'" he explained. "I found that unacceptable. I said, 'No, I lived here, and I can't alone do this, but I can begin something.'"

Fredro Starr continued to balance his acting and rapping careers simultaneously

From getting his start in the rap collective Onyx, Fredro Starr — or Fred Lee Scruggs Jr. — slowly became a notable acting figure partly due to his portrayal of Quinton 'Q' Brooks in "Moesha." After introducing his character, fans quickly fell in love with his bad-boy mystique. So much so that his popularity on the show eventually propelled him into other projects such as "Show Stoppers," "A Day in the Life," "The Eddie Black Story," and "Save the Last Dance." According to an interview with "The OG Hour," his interest in acting was shaped by the freedom directors gave him to fuse his love of hip-hop into his fictional characters. "Think about it. I was on prime-time television saying, 'What up, son? What up, shordy?'" he stated. "That had to get the clearance from the higher-ups ... it was the corporate decision for me to say those words and bring Hip-Hop to the TV."

Though Fredro Starr continued to pursue his acting career, the New York native never forgot about his first love. As a solo act, Fredro Starr released numerous full-length albums ranging from "Firestarr" to "Jazz" since his departure from "Moesha." Under his rap collective, he and long-time member Sticky Fingaz have continued to keep their name alive through live performances and appearances. As of 2023, you can find the R&B legend updating his dedicated followers on upcoming shows, singles, and other collaborative ventures.

Yvette Wilson died due to complications with cancer

From getting her start on "The Uptown Comedy Club," Yvette Wilson made herself known throughout the '90s, starring in various comedies. After finding consistent work in "Thea," the aspiring stand-up comedian began to pick up roles in several classics such as "Poetic Justice," "House Party 3," and most notably, "Friday," where she played a woman who hilariously claimed that she looked like Janet Jackson. Her success wouldn't end there, as in 1996, Wilson earned the opportunity to play the down-to-earth Andell Wilkerson in "Moesha." As the success of "Moesha" grew to unimaginable heights, Wilson reprised her role in the spinoff "The Parkers" for the entirety of its shelf life.

After 2005, it appeared that Wilson stepped away from the limelight to focus on her personal life. In 2012, long-time friend Jeffrey Pittle announced that Wilson died at 48 due to cervical cancer after years of it being in remission. "She was a fighter to the end, and her talent, humor, and amazing friendship will be sorely missed," he wrote on a website dedicated to funding her medical expenses (via the BBC). "She will live on through her awesome body of work." 

Shar Jackson reflected on her illustrious career on Netflix's Strong Black Legends podcast in 2023

Although most fans remember Shar Jackson's portrayal of Monique in the "Good Burger" movie, her role as serial dater Niecy Jackson in "Moesha" is rarely ignored as it proved to be her breakout gig. The success of the show, alongside her character, allowed her to reprise her role in the spinoff, "The Parkers," as well as crossover into other sitcoms like "Clueless" and "Girlfriends." After "Moesha," Jackson continued to rack up acting credits year by year for projects such as "The Bernie Mac Show" and "According to Him + Her."

As a mother of four, her career wasn't always free from public drama. While a strenuous relationship with Kevin Federline ultimately left her personal life in shambles, Jackson appears to be in a better place. In 2020, Tracy Clayton had the opportunity to sit with the actor to reflect on her illustrious career for Netflix's "Strong Black Legends." In doing so, Jackson reminisced on the success of "Moesha" and its impact. "I'm so proud of that show," she stated. "Everything we did was so groundbreaking, and I didn't realize it until I became an adult." The acting veteran continued to find work as an actor for "Shameless" and "A Polished Soul." As of 2023, you can find Jackson updating her Instagram followers on her latest ventures ranging from business seminars to attending the Cirque Du Soleil.

Alexis Fields became a dedicated family woman

Despite not becoming a regular until season 6 of "Moesha," Alexis Fields' portrayal of the arch-enemy-turned-roommate, Alicia, became a monumental mark on Fields' already blooming career. From finding sitcom success through "Roc," "Sister, Sister," and "Kenan & Kel," the actor became a regular on the UPN series due to her rapport with Brandy Norwood. After "Moesha," Fields continued to steamroll her way through Hollywood, starring in various sitcoms like "One on One" and "The Bernie Mac Show." 

As of 2023, you can find Fields playing Denise Patterson in the sports drama "All American." When she isn't acting, you can find her on social media being a doting mother. Whether it be cheering on her son, Kaden, during his basketball games or participating in TikTok dances with her daughter Kaycie, she never shied away from giving her followers insight into her family life. Fields is also a dedicated partner. After divorcing her long-time husband, Kevin Jackson, in 2022, she has moved on to another mystery beau. In February, 2023, Fields took to Instagram to pen a lengthy caption expressing her gratitude for her significant other's impact on her and her children's lives. "I love so many things about you, but the way you don't mind reassuring me when I'm having a moment and the way you intentionally pour into us on a daily basis is what keeps me ready and willing to cater to you," she wrote. "We serve each other and that's the gift that keeps on giving. My heart is grateful."