Inside JET

Cover Story: Cedric the Entertainer – Here Comes Daddy

Cedric the Entertainer appears on stage at the BET Awards on Sunday, July 1, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

By//S. Tia Brown

“There is such a thing as a sexy dad, but with morals and values,” Cedric the Entertainer explains about his character on his new sitcom, The Soul Man.

While the mixture of seduction and fatherhood isn’t the typical formula for a family-friendly series, Cedric Antonio Kyles is one man who can make it work. On the show, which airs on TV Land, he plays Rev. Boyce Ballentine, a former R&B superstar who gives up groupies for God. (The sitcom also stars Niecy Nash and Wesley Jonathan.)

“He loves his family, and he’s trying to do the right thing and finds himself challenged,” Cedric says of his titular character. “He used to be a rock star and had an opportunity to live that life with all the trappings. But now he’s changed. That’s the daddy I’m trying to portray. I really feel like that’s my life.”

In many ways it is. In the late ’90s fans fell for Cedric Jackie Robinson, the lovable, yet slightly drama-prone, sidekick on The CW network’s The Steve Harvey Show. The hit show gave the Missouri native his first consistent national platform to do what he’d been doing for years as a comic: make people laugh. Two decades later, Cedric boasts an enviable body of work, with his nostalgia-inducing stage routines winning him projects ranging from sold-out comedy tours (The Original Kings of Comedy) to voiceover work in the billion-dollar Madagascar movie franchise.