Lonette McKee’s career began in the music industry in hometown Detroit, Michigan as a child prodigy, where she began playing keyboards composing music and lyrics, singing and performing professionally at a young age. At fourteen she recorded her first record, “Stop Don’t Worry ‘Bout It” which became an instant regional Pop/R&B hit.
Lonette made her feature film debut playing ‘Sista’ in Sparkle. Following were starring roles in films Which Way is Up and Brewster’s Millions opposite legendary, Richard Pryor, The Cotton Club and Gardens of Stone for renowned director, Francis Ford Coppola. Sundance Film Festival winner, Lift, earned Lonette a Black Reel Nomination. Other films include Cuba, Men of Honor, ‘Round Midnight for outstanding French filmmaker, Bertrand Tavenier. Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, He Got Game and She Hate Me for renowned filmmaker and mentor, Spike Lee. Recently, Lonette appeared in films, A Day in Black and White, Honey, ATL, Paper Mache Chase, Fast Food Fast Women, Honey 2, This Narrow Place and LUV, opposite hip hop mega-star, Common. Television films include, Women of Brewster Place, with Oprah Winfrey, for which Lonette received an NAACP nomination; Having Our Say, Queen, To Dance with Olivia, For Love of Olivia, Blind Faith and Dangerous Passions. She also received an NAACP Nomination for her recurring appearances on As The World Turns and has enjoyed a recurring lead role in hit series’ Third Watch and The Game. Solo television guest appearances include The Tonight Show, Today Show, Good Morning America and David Letterman. Lonette was recognized in “People Magazine’s Fifty Most Beautiful Issue.” Winning the coveted Tony Nomination for her portrayal of the tragic mulatto, ‘Julie’, in the Houston Grand Opera’s production of Showboat, she earned the distinction of becoming the first African American actress to play the coveted role in the U.S. and later reprised the role for great theatrical director Hal Prince on Broadway. Critical praise and a Drama Desk Nomination was earned for her heartbreaking portrayal of Billie Holiday in the one-woman hit drama with music, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.
Lonette has written and produced solo CD’s entitled, Lonette, Words and Music, Natural Love, Acoustic Tracks, Lonette McKee and Superstar. She has toured throughout the world in solo concert performances including the prestigious JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall.
Studying film directing at The New School in NYC she also apprenticed film directing under the tutelage of mentor Spike Lee. Lonette continues to write and produce music and screenplays along with television concepts for Lonette McKee Entertainment Inc. To include Dream Street, an original screenplay for theatrical release which was chosen as Finalist in Sundance Film Lab and will mark her directorial debut.
A recent concert at Aaron Davis Hall played to a sold-out audience.
Lonette is a Blog Contributor for the Huffington Post and teaches the Actor’s Workshop at The City College of New York Continuing and Professional Studies. She recently enjoyed rave reviews in New York for her work Off Broadway in Sowa’s Red Gravy and A Raisin in the Sun at the prestigious Clarence Brown Theatre, both directed by Woodie King Jr. She was recently nominated for a 2013 AUDELCO Award in Best Actress category.
Lonette is an animal lover and outspoken advocate for human and animal rights.
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