From "Coming To America" to "Saints & Sinners"

Vanessa Bell Calloway catches up with Pat Prescott

August 12, 2020
There's a pandemic going on but that is not stopping Vanessa Bell Calloway from doing her thing. She's getting ready for the return of her hit TV show Saints and Sinners and the sequel to the movie that made her a star. Listen to an intimate chat with Pat Prescott. 
Vanessa Bell Calloway is a beloved American actress and dancer and an eight-time NAACP Image Award nominee. Beginning her career as a dancer, Bell Calloway is perhaps best known for her role as Princess Imani Izzi (Eddie Murphy's arranged wife) in the 1988 comedy Coming to America. In the following years, Bell Calloway had several starring roles in television series and movies, including the first African American prime time soap opera, Under One Roof. She later played recurring roles on Hawthorne and Shameless. In 2016, she appeared in comedy-drama film Southside with You and began starring as Lady Ella Johnson in the Bounce TV prime time soap opera, Saints & Sinners. Calloway is set to reprise her role as Imani Izzi in Paramount Pictures' upcoming sequel Coming 2 America.
In 2009, Bell Calloway was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, an early stage of breast cancer.  She underwent two lumpectomies, and then a mastectomy. She subsequently underwent reconstructive surgery, in which tissue from her stomach was used to reconstruct her breast. She recounted her experience in an October 2015 essay in Ebony magazine, by which point she had been cancer-free for six years.