You may not know her name after reading it, but you definitely know Anna Maria Horsford’s work. She played the innocent, yet preacher-chasing daughter of a Philadelphia deacon, Thelma, in the hit ’80s sitcom “Amen.” She constantly kept Shawn and Marlon in check as Dee the security guard on their popular ’90s series “The Wayans Brothers.” And she even stayed on Ice Cube a.k.a. Craig’s toes in the classic film “Friday.”
Now, the 68-year-old is still gracing the small and big screen on shows like “It’s Always Sunny” and “The Bold & The Beautiful”. But that’s not all what she’s doing. As it turns out, the characters she’s played have made a name for herself and allowing her to speak out against things ailing the Black community, like HIV/AIDS and mental health.
The actress said that it takes a little more than sitting in church on Sunday to help some of our brothers and sisters relax, relate and release.
When referring to her role on the 2016 syndicated show “Reed Between The Lines” with Malcolm Jamal Warner, Horsford says sometimes it takes a good couch session to cope with your problem. Talking it out with a professional, however, is largely frowned upon by many African Americans, and it’s a trend that Anna Maria is only too happy to address.
“The thing that excites me is dealing—and hopefully we will be effective—dealing with the idea of therapy as an alternative for health problems,” says Horsford. “A lot of times in our culture, we think therapy is a bad word.”
But that’s the goal of much of her off-screen work: to use her face to help others.
“You got to use the visibility,” admits Horsford. “A lot of my time now is spent dealing with kids and incarceration and people tend to pay attention to you because they think they know you. I’m everybody’s auntie, so I get a lot of bookings from all over because [of that]. I’m working on a project that has nothing to do with show business, but it has to do with the visibility I got in show business to make a change. I was in Ferguson, Missouri during [the time of unrest] and had to talk on TV about it. And I said ‘Wait a minute, how did I get into this?’ And the woman on the news announced me as actress-turned-activist. I said to myself, ‘Nobody sent me the memo!’ Sometimes, God picks you without sending you the memo and hopefully you’re well-read and you have an opinion and am not trying to convince anybody of anything except the way you feel about it. I try very hard to be authentic. I’m from Harlem and my father was a Garveyite so I was aware of a certain kind of consciousness. Not just in your personal life, but in your profession too. And we have so many stories to tell.”
“So many things that don’t necessarily make the big screen, but they make you who you are. I think we have a responsibility when people look at us and believe us to put as much truth with integrity in your performance. Every actor has a ministry, now what you sell that’s on you.”
You can catch Anna Marie a few new projects she is working on, as well as on the soap opera “Bold & Beautiful.”