A lot of people in Hollywood follow in their parents’ footsteps. This isn’t just the Coppolas or the Hustons or any other pop culture dynasty you can think of. This is “my father was a second unit director, and now I’m a script supervisor.” This honestly isn’t surprising to me. There are plenty of people whose parents are lawyers who become lawyers, people whose parents are in the military who join the military. There are counterexamples—both in “the real world” and in Hollywood—but it isn’t just because big names are able to get their kids jobs as part of their contracts, not that I’m accusing anyone of doing that, or just hire their kids.
Sanaa Lathan’s mother is an actress and her father is a director. They were both apparently out of the house quite a lot, and she says she was one of the many latchkey kids born in the ‘70s. (As was I, as were many of my friends.) It was difficult for her, but she still went into the family business. It’s worth noting that, while she and her father have a credit in common on TV, he didn’t direct the episodes she appeared on. He clearly wasn’t responsible for her casting, and her mother has so few credits that she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page and therefore didn’t have the pull even if she and her daughter did have credits in common.
Here’s where I admit that I haven’t seen much of her work. I’ve seen and disliked a few episodes of Family Guy and therefore have not watched The Cleveland Show. I haven’t gotten around to Harley Quinn, though I suspect she’s on the schedule today as part of my quest to cover as many Catwomen as possible. Some of her movies are obscure. Some of them sound bad. Some of them just don’t seem like my thing. Regardless, she’s clearly working very hard and is seen to be doing solid enough work to keep getting hired.
I did, on the other hand, see the adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun in which she appeared. It was made into a TV version, which almost certainly expands the action from the Broadway revival. I didn’t like it, but she is not the reason I didn’t like it. It was more that the music was grating, the expansion was unnecessary, and Sean Combs is no Sidney Poitier. (As I said in my review, who is?) However, my problem was not with her—the only performance in it that grated was my mind’s constant comparison between Sean Combs and Sidney Poitier. She’s nowhere near old enough, but in twenty years, it would be interesting to see her as Lena in the play.
Not all media is made with me in mind, and That’s Okay. It’s no shame on Sanaa Lathan that I didn’t want to see Alien Vs. Predator. If Blade ever gets made, they could give her a role in that as a connection with the original movie. But if she keeps doing movies and TV where she gives good performances in things that don’t interest me, well, that’s not a judgement on either of us. She’s doing solid work in the family business, just like so many other people.