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Kim Wayans was born and raised in Manhattan, and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college.
She performed stand-up comedy and in small parts on television, including a recurring role on NBC’s A Different World, before getting her big break on the groundbreaking sketch comedy In Living Color. The Fox Network program was created by her brother Keenen Ivory Wayans and featured her brothers Damon, Shawn, and Marlon. Ms. Wayans became known to audiences for her music video parodies, and for original characters she created such as the popular Benita Butrell (“But I ain’t one to gossip, so you didn’t hear that from me...”).
She next starred opposite LL Cool J on the NBC series In the House; and appeared in such movies as Keenen Ivory Wayans’ A Low Down Dirty Shame; Paris Barclay’s Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; and Jesse Vaughan’s Juwanna Mann. Ms. Wayans then moved behind the camera to produce, write, and direct episodes of the ABC series My Wife and Kids.
In October 2007, she took to the stage for an acclaimed and extended Los Angeles run of her self-penned one-woman show A Handsome Woman Retreats (…a seriously funny journey to inner peace), which explored her experiences from the projects of NYC through the jungles of Hollywood. She subsequently performed the show as part of the 2008 Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival; and as a headlining feature at The Cleveland Playhouse’s FusionFest 2008. In June 2008, she was thrilled to bring her show to her hometown of New York City as part of the soloNOVA Arts Festival at P.S. 122.
With her husband, Kevin Knotts, Ms. Wayans is the author of the series of children’s books that follow the daily challenges and triumphs of Amy Hodgepodge, a young girl of mixed race. The character of Amy presents a relatable face and gives a much-needed voice to the growing population of mixed race children worldwide. The books in the Penguin Group-published series have been All Mixed Up!, Happy Birthday to Me, Lost and Found, Playing Games, The Secret’s Out, and Digging Up Trouble.