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    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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Stick To What You Know: Musicians who should’ve never tried acting

Some musicians have made the switch from performing on the stage to being in front of a movie or television camera with ease, but for every Will Smith or Queen Latifah, there’s a Beyoncé (sorry!) and others who struggle to make their roles believable. Here are a few singers/rappers who should’ve never tried acting. Ever.

BEYONCE1. BeyBeyoncé may be known as an R&B/pop diva but she also has several movie roles under her belt. The former Destiny’s Child member made her film debut in 2001’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera and although she starred in the remake of Dreamgirls, it was her co-star Jennifer Hudson that received all of the acclaim. After playing Etta James in Cadillac Records, Beyoncé was the talk of the town after her role in Obsessed but not in a good way. She may have earned a nomination for a Teen Choice award but her performance playing the wife who suspects her husband of cheating also grabbed a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress.

BRITNEY SPEARS??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Britney Spears burst onto the music scene at the tender age of 18 and after the massive success of her first two albums, it seemed like she could do no wrong. That is until Spears starred in the 2002 train wreck of a movie Crossroads. Written by Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, the movie follows three best friends on a road trip across the country. The movie was panned by critics but was a moderate success at the box office, pulling in over $60 million worldwide. However, Spears’ debut film role was less than stellar and her performance earned her a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. She also snagged one for the song “Not A Girl. Not Yet A Woman” from the movie’s soundtrack.

USHER3. usherR&B singer Usher began his music career in the mid 90’s and by the decade’s end, the Confessions singer was an international star. Ready to make his film debut, Usher snagged a few movie roles in the late 90’s. After a recurring role on Moesha and a guest spot in She’s All That, Usher grabbed his first leading role in 1999’s Light It Up. Usher apparently didn’t learn too much from his fellow co-stars Forest Whittaker and Vanessa L. Williams because his performance was trashed by critics as much as the movie was. “As an actor, Raymond is whiny and annoying, but not nearly so much as the film,” one review read. Undeterred, Usher has gone on to star in several more movies since then and is slated to play Sugar Ray Leonard in an upcoming flick.

50 CENT4. 50-Cent50 Cent’s debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and subsequent back story, was so popular and widely successful that the Queens native decided to star in a biographical movie about his quest to become famous. Titled the same name as his album, 50 Cent played himself in the film, which wasn’t a stretch or an exercise for his acting chops. The rapper-turned-mogul has gone on to star in more than 20 films, most of which were direct-to-DVD. A few years ago, 50 Cent turned heads after he lost more than 50 lbs to play a college football player bound for the NFL when he is diagnosed with a deadly disease. Although his attempt was noble, the rapper’s performance in the movie was labeled as one-dimensional. 50 Cent is set to appear in Last Vegas, co-starring alongside Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas. The movie is expected to open in theaters in November.

MADONNA5. MadonnaPop star Madonna, having already conquered the music world, set her sights on the film industry as so many musicians do. While she received favorable reviews for her role in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan and a Golden Globe award for 1996’s Evita, Madonna’s later roles were criticized. The Like A Virgin singer starred in the 2002 direct-to-video flop Swept Away, which was directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie. That same year, critics trashed her performance in the London play Up For Grabs, calling her among other things, “the evening’s biggest disappointments.” One critic described Madonna’s cameo performance in the James Bond franchise movie Die Another Day as “incredibly wooden.”

MARIAH CAREY6. mariahMariah Carey has been in the music business for over 25 years and her career has gone through some ups and downs. Following her split from Columbia Records and her first husband Tommy Mottola, Carey decided it was time to head to the silver screen. She starred in the 2001 film Glitter, which followed a biracial singer’s struggle in the music business during the disco-crazed 80’s. Scheduled for release during the Labor Day weekend, the movie was pushed back a few weeks after Carey was hospitalized for exhaustion. Despite her condition, critics did not go easy on Carey with one proclaiming, “For her part, Carey seems most concerned about keeping her lips tightly sealed like a kid with braces, and when she tries for an emotion —any emotion— she looks as if she’s lost her car keys.” The film was nominated for six Razzies, including Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple for Carey’s cleavage, but the Beautiful singer won the only Razzie for Worst Actress. Thankfully she was much better in Precious and The Butler, but not enough to make this a full-time thing.

MICK JAGGER7. MickAdam Levine may have the dance moves like Mick Jagger, but when it comes to acting he may want to look for inspiration other than from the Rolling Stones frontman. Jagger started acting in 1968 and was featured in several films, including playing himself in All You Want Is Cash, but his role as a mercenary in the 1992 movie Freejack was forgettable. One critic bashed his performance: “Jagger acts stony and impassive. He’s appealing to watch (even if it does look as if his face is starting to melt), but when will rock stars learn that, in front of the movie camera, it’s not enough to coast on aura. One must do as well as be.” Despite the bad reviews Jagger continued on dabbling in films.

DMX9. dmx

Rapper DMX once had a flourishing rap career but his battle with drugs and the legal system kept the Yonkers emcee out of the limelight and in rehab or a jail cell for much of his career. Before his troubles got the best of him, DMX also had a promising film career as an action-hero star. He made his film debut in Belly and soon DMX was starring alongside fellow action star Steven Seagal. Too bad neither one of them could act.

JESSICA SIMPSON8. jessicaJessica Simpson became a household name after starring in her own MTV reality show when she famously wanted to know if the tuna she was eating was actually fish or chicken. Even though she was a pop singer, Simpson, like many musicians, made the transition into film in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard remake. Simpson played Daisy and pranced around on the silver screen in a pair of Daisy Dukes, but even the short shorts couldn’t salvage her poor performance. Simpson was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actress but lost out to Paris Hilton and her turn in House of Wax.

ASHANTI10. AshantiSinger Ashanti got her start singing hooks for her fellow Murder Inc. label mates and soon she was releasing songs of her own. Because her singing career hit a few lows, the New York native decided to look for work in other fields and soon found herself grabbing minor roles in various television and film projects, including the 2005 fluff film John Tucker Must Die. Despite its moderate success at the box office opening weekend, critics bashed the film and everyone’s performances in it. Luckily for Ashanti, although her performance was bad, she wasn’t the worst one in the movie. Jenny McCarthy received a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. While she is still struggling to get her music career back on track, Ashanti has landed a recurring role in Lifetime’s original series Army Wives.

Leave a comment


  1. I can agree with you on all the musicians especially britney, madonna and usher but BEYONCE?? Common she was awesome in most of her movies. Sure, she probably did not fit into some of the roles she’s played but she definitely brought her best in the movies. Yeah she’s definitely not Queen latifah(a comedy goddess) or Jennifer lopez(a romantic enchantress) but i guess you could say ”She was not that bad”.

  2. Britney acted well in CROSSROADS. I agree with all the rest, but Beyoncé does OK. Her performance was good in Obsessed, save with a few places. In Cadillac Records too.
    Dreamgirls didn’t do it for me though.

  3. storm

     /  October 4, 2013

    Ashanti and beyonce DO NOT belong on that list. Hello?????
    The rest are spot on #defiant satisfied look#

  4. manny

     /  January 27, 2014

    Madonna did very well in Evita and so doesn’t belong there. I have never been impressed with Beyonce’s acting although she almost surprised me in dream girls. Usher is not a great actor. But I think he shouldn’t be put in the same group as mariah carey. Tufiakwa!

  5. manny

     /  January 27, 2014

    I have never watched a 50cent movie because I knew they wud be worth 50 cents.. I made it a point of duty to scream and run in the opposite direction. Even in his songs, his doesn’t emote. Face like chopping board, biko chere. Hmph!


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