Zoe Renee has some pretty big shoes to fill.
Yes, she stars alongside the Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose in BET’s The Quad. But we’re talking about Renee’s father, Speech, of the iconic ’90s conscious hip-hop group Arrested Development. In addition to traveling the world performing for fans with hits like “People Everyday” and winning Grammy awards, Speech is a forefather of the modern-day “Afropunk.”
When she talks about her interest in music, arts and traveling, it’s clear that Renee’s unique upbringing in Atlanta destined the 20-year-old to be a star.
“Growing up, I was always in a household with a family that was extremely artistic,” Renee told ESSENCE. “I loved singing and dancing but it’s not something that I think anybody will pay me to do. I tried taking classes for singing and dancing. I love it, but I think once I tried acting, I was like, wow, this is really it.”
Renee auditioned and got her role as Noni Williams on The Quad the summer after graduating high school. On the hit drama, Renee’s character is a member of the fictional Georgia A&M University’s band. Noni—like a real-life college student—is balancing the pressure of being accepted with having a moral compass.
And despite the drama The Quad‘s characters go through, Renee would still love the experience of attending college.
“We shoot the show on Morehouse’s campus, a lot of the people I get to meet and hang out with and talk with are students at Morehouse,” Renee said.
“My dream is to make sure that I go and spend some time at college. At this point in my life, I’m really just trying to figure it out. [But] I always say that my first pick would be an HBCU. I’ve always dreamt of going to Spelman, Clark Atlanta I think is so beautiful too. Those schools, they beam with pride and community and legacy, and I’d be so honored to go to any of those schools.”
Aside from the love of acting and HBCUs, we had to know from the child of a music legend what she’s listening to during her downtime.
“I am a bit of a snob,” Renee revealed. “I’m into The Doobie Brothers, I mean, it’s weird. I love SZA, Jayden Smith I’m really loving right now, Tyler the Creator. Solange, gosh, there are so many people. I love the Beatles, it’s …literally all over the place. I’m all over the place.”
Musically, Renee may be all over the place but she’s making her mark one role at a time.
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