Cheryl Pepsii Riley
In a business filled with here-today-and-gone-tomorrow artists, few have maintained the consistency of Cheryl Pepsii Riley. Cheryl, affectionately called “Pepsii” by her friends, exploded onto the music scene in 1988 with her debut album, Me, Myself, and I. This album, unlike most being released during that time, featured songs filled with positive and encouraging messages. From that album, Cheryl recorded her #1 smash hit “Thanks For My Child.” This song, considered by many women, an anthem of hope and courage, catapulted this Brooklyn, New York, native to national and international acclaim. Her follow-up project, Chapters, produced the single, “How Can You Hurt The One You Love,” which continued in her vein of social consciousness by addressing the issue of domestic violence. In 1992, Cheryl changed record companies and released the album, All That. For this venture as well as the last, Cheryl broadened her artistic involvement by writing and producing most of the songs, including the hit single, “Gimme.”
Caught in the politics of the record industry, Pepsii changed faces and reunited with her first love – Acting. Her first play, “Momma Don’t,” co-starring Rev. Rance Allen, Lynette Hawkins, and The Clark Sisters, proved that she was not to be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional artist. Amazingly, to-date, Pepsii has starred in 14 national touring plays, all the while gaining a broader and more diverse audience base as a singer and an actress. She has toured the country on theater stages with the likes of Kirk Franklin, Glenn Jones, David Peaston, Beverly Todd, Adele Givens, David Hollister, Clifton Powell, and Shemar Moore, with whom Pepsii starred in the romantic comedy, “The Fabric of A Man.” Cheryl has taken her acting even further, making her film debut in 1999 in the “Colorz of Rage,” a celebrated independent film and winner of a 1999 Urban Film Festival Award. This show-stopping performer was featured in the stage plays, “Madea’s Class Reunion,” “Madea Goes To Jail,” “Laugh To Keep From Crying,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” , “A Madea Christmas,” and “Madea Gets A Job”, all written by and co-starring Tyler Perry, with the exception of “Laugh To Keep From Crying,” in which Perry chose and casted Pepsii as the lead character and headliner. In addition, her artistry is apparent in the 2005 #1 blockbuster-hit movie and soundtrack, “Diary of A Mad Black Woman,” with her voice on several of the songs in the movie. (Her voice will sound familiar as the character Debra is walking down the church aisle singing.) You will also recognize Pepsii as the singing voice of Taraji Henson in Tyler Perry’s critically acclaimed 2009 smash hit, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” as well as starring in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married”- The Stage play, and co-starring in “Madea Goes To Jail,” “Madea‘s Class Reunion,“ “Laugh To Keep From Crying”, “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “A Madea Christmas” and “Madea Gets A Job”. All of these are available now at your local Walmart, Target, and any of your favorite video outlets on DVD and Blu Ray! In 2014, Cheryl played the lead in the Tyler Perry stage play, “Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned!” This Theatrical masterpiece gave Cheryl the opportunity to showcase her massive range as an actress as she wowed audiences across the country. Talk of television and film is definitely in the near and immediate future of this remarkable talent!