Nicki Minaj has finally completed handpicking stars for her upcoming ABC Family series, Nicki.
The show, which is based on Minaj’s early years of growing up in the 1990s in Trinidad and Queens, New York, was announced in September and has now finally completed casting actors for all the major roles, according to Vanity Fair.
Up-and-coming actress Ariana Neal (Get Hard, Fruitvale Station) has been handpicked by Nicki Minaj to play a younger version of herself, while Selita Ebanks (Real Husbands of Hollywood) will play the role of Grace, Nicki’s mother; Wesley Jonathan (The Soul Man) will play Vincent, Nicki and Jaylen’s father; and McCarrie McCausland (Army Wives, The Originals) has been cast as Jaylen, Nicki’s older brother.
Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg is also set to guest star as Nicki’s neighbor, Miss Martha.
“I am honored and excited to announce that I’ve literally hand picked the main characters of my scripted series.”
The single-camera comedy will chart out Nicki Minaj’s early years as an immigrant in America, as well as portraying her relationship with family members, and the personal and musical evolution that led to her eventual rise to stardom.
According to reports, Nicki Minaj was instantly impressed after watching Ariana Neal’s taped audition and demanded to meet her, confessing that she cried after watching the little child perform on screen.
“I literally cried watching her taped audition. I demanded to meet her! Sat in a room with her teaching her how to rap by doing a beat on the table & forcing her to stay on beat! Lol. Then pulled out all the attitude she had in her lil body. Haha! She’s tough! And so sweet & cute,” Nicki wrote on Instagram.
Tim Story, who is known for directing Barbershop, will direct the pilot for Nicki, which is to be penned by Sex Tape writer Kate Angelo, who is also set to executive-produce the show along with Nicki Minaj, Aaron Kaplan (Life in Pieces, Kevin From Work), Stella Bulochnikov, and Brian Sher (Boss).
Nicki will begin shooting in January with an air date to be determined, according to a network spokesperson. ABC Family is also set to rebrand itself to Freeform in January.
There is little doubt that many fans will be eagerly looking forward to the show, and if Nicki Minaj proves to be half as good on TV as she is at rapping, Nicki might well prove to be the sitcom fans have been waiting for.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]