Shadow and Act’s RISING Awards Digital is honoring several stars on the rise in Hollywood. This year, our honorees in the actors + talent category include TV and film actors who have challenged and entertained us with their talent. Our honorees are: Brandee Evans, O-T Fagbenle, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Naomi Smalls, Dominique Fishback, Chante Adams, MeKai Curtis and Saniyya Sidney.
Learn more about the 8 honorees in this category below:
Brandee Evans stars in the critically-acclaimed Starz show P-Valley as Mercedes. As one of the breakout stars of the show, Evans has one the NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress. She is expected to return for the series’ second season.
Evans has also starred in popular TV shows and miniseries including BET’s The Family Business, Games People Play and The Bobby Brown Story and Fox’s Lethal Weapon.
O-T Fagbenle became the first person to create, write, direct, compose, executive produce and star in a TV pilot for a major network with his Channel 4 and Hulu series MAXXX. He also recently starred in Marvel’s Black Widow.
Fagbenle has also starred in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which he earned a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He will also star in Showtime’s anthology series The First Lady with Viola Davis and fellow RISING Award honoree Saniyya Sidney.
Kinglsey Ben-Adir recently played Malcolm X in Regina King’s One Night Miami. He also starred in Showtime miniseries The Comey Rule as well as AMC/Amazon Studios anthology series Soulmates. Other TV credits include Hulu’s High Fidelity, Netflix’s The OA, and BBC/Netflix’s Peaky Blinders.
Naomi Smalls is the drag persona of performer Davis Heppenstall. Smalls became internationally known from her appearance on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and came back to the franchise to star in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4. Smalls has now ventured into the world of art direction, which is set to bring Smalls to bigger heights in the entertainment world.
Dominique Fishback became known to audiences in the Jamie Foxx starring Netflix film Project Power. She also starred in HBO series The Deuce and the Amandla Stenberg starrer The Hate U Give. She recently starred in Judas and the Black Messiah with Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. Fishback has also been named one of 2018’s Sundance Film Festival breakout stars by The Hollywood Reporter for the film Night Comes On, which won the NEXT Award at the festival.
Chante Adams is starring in A Journal for Jordan, directed by Denzel Washington. She will also star in Amazon streaming series A League of Their Own and the film Voyagers, directed by Neil Burger. You might have also seen her in the Justin Simien film Bad Hair, and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters and Men. She also made waves in 2017 for her performance as hip hop pioneer Roxanne Shante in Roxanne, Roxanne, directed by Michael Lamell. She won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Performance at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival for her performance.
MeKai Curtis is currently starring in Starz’s Power: Book III: Raising Kanan. Some of his other roles include Disney Channel’s Milo Murphy’s Law and Girl Meets World, Disney XD’s Kirby Buckets, Fox/Netflix’s Arrested Development, and the film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Saniyya Sidney is starring opposite Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard. She will also star in Showtime’s The First Lady, starring Viola Davis.
Other projects on her resume include Fences, also starring Davis and Denzel Washington, Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, The Passage with Mark-Paul Gosselar, and her very first booking, the History Channel remake of Roots.