Welcome to The Starting Five’s Diva Debate. This week we have two women whose talents equal their beauty. First we have Bern Nadette Stanis who played the role of headstrong daughter Thelma Evans on the CBS sitcom Good Times (1974-1979). Tishina Arnold was the sassy, witty Pamela James on the Fox sitcom Martin (1992-1997).
Bern Nadette Stanis’ role as middle child Thelma Evans on the 1970′s sitcom Good Times not only cast her one of the most popular young stars of the day, but possibly one of the most beloved Black female stars in television history. Known for her striking beauty Stanis was born in Brooklyn in 1953. She attended the Juilliard School, studying drama and dance. After Good Times was cancelled Stanis continued to make several television appearances including What’s Happening Now and The Cosby Show. She is the author of two books: Situations 101: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and For Men Only – a collection of her poetry.
Stanis resides in California with her two daughters Dior Ravel and Brittany Rose Cole and her husband Kevin Fontana.
Before Tishina Arnold aka Pamela James was driving Martin Payne up a wall in the sitcom series she was honing her skills in church plays and recitals at age four. By the time she was eight she was performing at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn. It was a steady progression for Arnold as she would perform with Tisha Campbell also of Martin fame in the film musical version of Little Shop of Horrors at age 15. At this point Arnold was landing at least one role a year, in 1987 she was cast in a permanent role on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. In 1988, Arnold was nominated for a daytime Emmy. Arnold is best known as Gina’s (Tisha Campbell) loudmouth girlfriend on the T.V. sitcom Martin (1992-1997). She also played the role of young Chris Rock’s mother in Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009).
Arnold has one daughter Alijah Kai.