Robin Givens & Demetria McKinney Lead Star-Studded Cast in "Church Girl"

Tuesday, 06 July 2010 08:44 Written by  Bonita Holmes

Angela Barrow-Dunlap’s play Church Girl saved the best city for last, making its final tour stop in Chicago at the Arie Crown Theatre on May 19. Church Girl, whose star-filled cast consisted of Demetria McKinney, Robin Givens, Drew Sidora, Sean Blakemore, Karen Clarke Sheard and Angela Winbush. McKinney, who is best known for her role as Janine on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” portrays the leading character Emily, who trades in her good girl image for a reputation as a stripper.


McKinney said she had known Angela Barrow-Dunlap for a few years before finally having the opportunity to work with her. “She was looking for a person for this [role] she asked actually Sean Blakemore who plays the role of Jacob, to call and interview me and have me sing," said McKinney. She found some difficulty in portraying the role of Emily, as opposed to her others characters who were all fictional because Emily depicts the real life of Dunlap’s niece.

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“I’m trying to portray her story without mocking it, without defaming her [or making her feel] upset about anything that I’m doing, while still being able to emote everything that she went through.” When asked if she gets nervous before her performances, McKinney replied, “I get nervous before every performance whether it’s the first, the 15th or the 50th, that’s how I know I still love what I do.”

McKinney said that working with Tyler Perry has been truly a blessing and that her character Janine is very effective in a culture where issues are often swept under a rug and not talked about. Janine is a drug addicted mother and ex-wife trying to regain the trust of her family and reconnect with her children. McKinney was recently chosen to portray the late Coretta Scott King in an upcoming movie, something she seemed very eager about. “I got to meet the family,” said McKinney, who received some interesting tips from the King family.

McKinney wasn’t the only cast member who had exciting new projects awaiting the completion of the Church Girl tour. Drew Sidora seemed to be very excited about her latest single, “Juke It,” which pays homage to her hometown Chicago.

“Chicago has been supporting the record” said Sidora. Sidora, along with Robin Givens, portrays the role of Cat, the housemother of the strip club Emily begins dancing at.

“She is kind of the female forbidden fruit,” said Sidora while describing her character Cat. “The play is really talking about and [is] based on the choices in life, how important choices are,” she said. Sidora had the opportunity to work with many of the cast members of Church Girl on separate projects, including Robin Givens and Sean Blakemore. Sidora plays alongside Givens in the hit show “The Game,” where both actresses portray themselves and alongside Sean Blakemore in the movie “Motives.”

Sean Blakemore portrays the character Jacob Sinclair who Blakemore describes as “a guy who pushes the envelope; he entices you to follow your own desire whether they be selfish or not,” said Blakemore. Blakemore said he doesn’t like to consider his character just the bad boy of the play because his character “dangles the carrot,” but it’s the desire of the other characters he pulls in to take a bite of the carrot freely.

“We have to hold ourselves partially accountable for what we do,” said Blakemore who reiterated what seemed to be the play’s theme: choices.

“We’re trying to portray truth, but try to bring people to Christ and just put something on their minds,” said singer/songwriter Angela Winbush. Winbush portrays Maya Franklin, the concerned mother of Emily Franklin.

“You’re going to be blessed; you’re going to be entertained,” said Winbush when asked why patrons should come out and enjoy the show.


Photos courtesy of Morris Davis Media. View more images and read a review of the play on the Gloss Blog!


Bonita Holmes

Bonita Holmes

Bonita Holmes, a native of Chicago IL is a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago majoring in journalism with a concentration in News Reporting and Writing. She has worked for many publications such as New Expressions and The Mash, and she plans on changing the scope of media.

Bonita can be reached at