'Sistas' Star KJ Smith Dishes on Her Engagement and New Role on 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' (Exclusive)
KJ Smith is a busy woman this time of year, but make no mistake –– she's completely cool. As PopCulture.com exclusively chats over video, the Sistas star is all smiles while detailing the last few months and the near future. Smith flaunts an engagement ring on her finger, a new addition after her former co-star Skyh Black proposed to her over the holidays. But, she's juggling it all with poise: a wedding to plan, a new role on Starz' Power Book III: Raising Kanan, and a lead role working with Tyler Perry for BET.
For most people, weddings would make for a big fuss and hassle; but, things seem to be flowing effortlessly from start to forever for this couple. She and Black started dating after he finished wrapping Season 2 of the BET series in January 2021. As Smith puts it, they didn't immediately begin a relationship while working together due to the set's strict "no fraternization" policy, but they built much anticipation by flirting through sweet nothings in notes and flirty side glances. Fireworks must have been ignited once they finally connected outside of work and less than a year later, the two are eying a walk down the aisle.
The families get along swimmingly and were all in attendance for the big moment when Black popped the question over a joint Christmas, in a move that was "literally a complete shock" for the actress. Smith reveals to PopCulture that she and her fiance are planning to host the wedding in her hometown.
Love is an emotion that Smith gets to display often in many forms, in real life and on-screen. As she takes on the role of Andi on Sistas every Wednesday night, viewers have started to watch not only her character grow but also the growth and challenges that a group of friends can undergo. With a new spinoff focusing on fan-favorite couple dubbed 'Zatima' (Zac and Fatima, played by Devale Ellis and Crystal Hayslett) on the rise, the Sistas universe and friend group is officially expanding –– and it's a conversation Smith is proud to be a part of.
"It starts a commentary about how does someone join a friend group as an adult and I think that's a really cool conversation that no one really talks about," she says. "It's hard because you know, when you reach a certain age, you have your friends. You're like, these are my friends and that's it. There is an evolution of self where, you know, you have friends that you work with."
She continued: "Can they then join your friends from college? Can they then join your friends from childhood? So, I just love the dynamic shifts, like really questioning, 'what is true friendship? Do I just have a trauma bond with this person? Do I only talk to this person when I need something like that?' I think that that has been the biggest thing for all of our characters."
The BET series follows a group of four (now five) Black women, navigating their love lives and careers as ongoing drama intervenes on the dream lives they're building toward. If the premise sounds familiar, that might be because it joins a list of TV shows streaming today that follow a similar plotline such as Prime Video's Harlem, Starz's Run The World, HBO's Insecure.
Nevertheless, Hollywood has chosen to back each individual story for every unique storyline, and as Smith points out, all of the shows can exist on their own and receive their flowers for their different representation.
"The habit of comparison is so detrimental to our culture as a whole. I just remember even back in the day, it was like, 'Oh, this R& B artist is not this R&B artist.' And it's like, 'no, and that's fine.' That is why we love them both," she said. "I watch all the shows. I watch all the shows, any show that represents Black women and gives Black women a voice. I watch every single one of them."
Soon, fans will be able to see Smith on the second season of Power Book III: Raising Kanan, representing another kind of Black woman on screen. She plays Palomar, the neighbor of Season 1's Famous (Antonio Ortiz), who is constantly mistaken for her 15-year-old daughter Corinne. While Smith is staying tight-lipped on any other juicy information on the upcoming chapter, she teases that fans will need to pay close attention to who might be her love interest. As for the rest, viewers will have to tune in when the show premieres this year.