Created by Mara Brock Akil, “Girlfriends” exists in the universe of another beloved sitcom, “Moesha,” which won the hearts of many during its television reign from 1996 to 2001. It centered around Joan Carol Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross) and her closest friends, Antoinette “Toni” Childs-Garrett (Jill Marie Jones), Lynn Ann Searcy (Persia White) and Maya Denise Wilkes (Golden Brooks) as they navigated life in their late 20s and early 30s experiencing heartbreak, betrayal and any other curve ball that life tends to throw at Black women.
Each of the women can be seen as a visual representation that Black women are not a monolith and come from all walks of life. Whether viewers resonated with Lynn’s free-spirited nature, Toni’s desire to live a soft girl era before it even had a name, Maya’s commitment to authenticity while pursuing her dreams or Joan’s seemingly “I have it all put together” attitude, the popular series truly had something for everyone and continues to have a lasting impact on the culture today.
After premiering in 2001 on UPN — before airing on the network’s successor, The CW — “Girlfriends” ended abruptly in 2008 as a result of the 2007-08 writer’s strike that halted production of all series at the time, Screen Rant reports.
Where is the beloved cast of “Girlfriends” today? Dive into all that they went on to accomplish in their respective careers below.
Joan Carol Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross)
After her role as Joan Carol Clayton, Tracee Ellis Ross continued to build a successful career. Portraying the character Rainbow Johnson on ABC’s “Black-ish” solidified her space upon the throne of sitcom royalty. Beyond just entertainment, Ellis Ross is also quite the style icon, serving look after look and becoming “grown-woman goals” for ladies across the internet. In 2019, she also launched Pattern Beauty, a hair care line designed with natural hair in mind.
Antionette “Toni” Childs-Garrett (Jill Marie Jones)
Jill Marie Jones has kept busy in the entertainment world. She appeared in various TV shows including roles in “Ash vs Evil Dead” and “Monogamy.” Jones has also explored opportunities in films and continues to show everyone how the culture’s favorite girlfriend simply do not age, while remaining active across social media platforms like Instagram and X.
Lynn Ann Searcy (Persia White)
After “Girlfriends,” Persia White continued to work in both television and film. She had notable roles in series like “The Vampire Diaries” and “Breaker High.” Apart from acting, White is known for her activism work, particularly in environmental causes and animal rights.
Maya Denise Wilkes (Golden Brooks)
Golden Brooks has remained active in the entertainment industry. She appeared in several television series and films including roles in “Hart of Dixie” and “Blunt Talk.” More recently, she joined Omar Gooding in “Saturdays,” the Disney series centered around Chicago’s influential skate culture, which was created by Norman Vance Jr. and produced by Marsai Martin, Josh Martin, Carol Martin and Nicole Dow. Moreover, Brooks has also ventured into producing and directing projects. She even starred in reality TV series “Hollywood Divas.”
William Dent (Reginald C. Hayes)
An honorary girlfriend as Joan’s charming co-worker and confidant to the girls, Reginald C. Hayes’ legacy in “Girlfriends” is not one to be glazed over. Since his time on the show, he continued to work in the industry. Hayes has had guest appearances in television series such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER.” Additionally, he was also bit by the theater bug, proving that his acting chops were worthy of spanning across various platforms.
Darnell Wilkes (Khalil Kain)
Responsible for portraying Maya’s husband in “Girlfriends,” Khalil Kain quickly became a fan-favorite in the series. He continued his acting career in both television and film as evidenced in his role in For Colored Girls. Additionally, Kain took his talents to various theater productions.