Kym Whitley reveals a shady moment between her and Jackeé Harry during Sunday’s episode of TV One’s Uncensored.
“I went over to the set of the show 227. I was sitting in the audience, and I remember a lady named Simone Sheffield. At the time, she was Stevie Wonder’s manager,” she said. “She said, I got a question. Is this Jackeé’s sister?’ And I was like, ‘What? What is she talking about?’ and Marla Gibbs sent a note and said, ‘Have her come to the back after the show.’ And I went to the back and Marla Gibbs took my information down. Two [to] 3 weeks later, they called me to come out to be Jackeé’s stand-in. Her double.”
“Jackeé did not like it. Let’s just go ahead and be honest: Jackeé did not like me looking like her. But I can’t change my face, Jackeé! This is what I got–this is my face, I look like you, okay? You look like me,” she continued. “…She explained it now, but we were having some problems [back then]. Jackeé’s sister was threatening me and she was gonna kick my butt and all kinds of stuff. And I was afraid.”
Upon hearing about the situation, Gibbs took Whitley aside and advised her to stand up for herself. The moment helped Gibbs and Whitley establish their longtime friendship.
“During the filming of the show, Marla Gibbs pulled me into a closet on the set,” she said. “She said, ‘You stop taking all this abuse and you stand up for yourself.’ She said, ‘I want you to remember one thing: they cannot finish this show without you.'”
“I was afraid. I was new,” she continued. “This was the first thing I’d ever done. And I probably should have listened to Marla Gibbs But that’s why we are friends today–I love Marla Gibbs.”
Whitley also posted the clip to her Instagram page. In the caption, she wrote how she’s glad she and Harry are friends despite their rocky start.
“I’m sure this is going to get me in trouble, but I’ve been in trouble before,” she wrote. “@jackeeharry told me to get my own brand, and I’m glad I did! I’m glad that we’re friends now! Moral of the story is, you never know where life is going to take you.”
Some of the paranoia Harry might have had on set probably stemmed from her own feelings about her role on 227. As Shadow and Act reported in 2019, Harry spoke to Essence about feeling afraid that the role of Sandra would make people believe she couldn’t act.
“I used to hate myself; the fact that I was just doing a part,” she said. “I didn’t know it would last this long. After it was over, I thought it would be gone…The goal is to be a working actress, not to go to Hollywood. I had down-to-earth dreams, not [dreams of] being a character. I don’t want to get too deep about it because I’ve come to grips with it. But I was sad for a good five years straight.”
S. Epatha Merkerson, one of her friends in the industry, gave her some advice about changing her perspective.
“…She said, ‘Jackée, you’re very important. You make us laugh. And you’re fierce,” said Harry.