China McClain may be one of the hottest young starlets in Hollywood thanks to her roles in Descendants and Black Lightening, but she's been hustling since she was a child. McClain is a triple threat: she sings, acts, and dances. She got her start working alongside her sisters - Sierra and Lauryn - as a musical group the 3mcclain sisters. In 2005, she appeared in the musical film The Gospel. All three sisters starred as siblings in the 2007 drama Daddy's Little Girls. They also released a single, "Daddy's Girl," for the film.
The Georgia native enjoys working with her sisters but has not been afraid to take solo projects. She received wider recognition while portraying Jazmine Payne in the television series Tyler Perry's House of Payne. The show aired from 2007-2012 on TBS. It then moved to OWN in 2018, where McClain reprised her role. The show now airs on BET.
Outside of Tyler Perry productions, McClain also starred in a number of Disney channel projects, including A.N.T. Farm from 2011–2014, as Uma in Descendants 2 and 3 - which aired in 2017 and 2019. McClain's breakout role came in 2018 when she began starring in The CW superhero series Black Lightning as Jennifer Pierce / Lightning.
Now 23, McClain has been vocal about the devastating loss of her best friend, fellow actor, and Disney star, Cameron Boyce. Boyce died of a fatal seizure in 2019. They met when they were 10-years-old and co-starred in the Descendants film series, and the 2010 comedy Grown Ups.
"Cameron was my first time really coming in contact with death when it came to somebody I really loved and knew closely. I didn't really know how to handle it," she told Teen Vogue in February 2021. "It was just like he was here one day and gone the next and I had to wrap my mind around the fact that I would never see him in this life again. I'm still dealing with that, to be honest. I don't think I'm ever going to not deal with that. But I adore him. I love him; I still do. I always will."
She now says Boyrce's spirit leads her, including a major decision to step away from Black Lightening ahead of its fourth and final season. "It was time for me to go and focus on some of these other projects that have been in my back pocket for a long time, but I've always focused on other people's projects first — things that I was cast in, but things that didn't belong to me," she told Teen Vogue. McClain and her sisters reunited for their singing group in 2020. Now, they go by Thriii, pronounced "three."