Under The Radar

Under the Radar

Women’s History Month is almost over and we couldn’t head into April without showing love some of our favorite talented women who are, sadly, often underrated. R&B artist Keke Wyatt, Broadway star Saycon Sengbloh (pictured)–whether they act, sing, write, or play a sport, these seven women seem to fly under the public’s radar. We chose to shout them out and say, “We see you mama!”

The Beauty

Rochelle Aytes, 33, Actress

Who is She Again?This brown-eyed bombshell has made cameos in many your favorite crime dramas, from “NCIS,” to “CSI: NY,” and even “Bones”. You may recognize her, however, from her roles as Denise Porter in 2004’s “White Chicks,” or playing Lisa Braux in Tyler Perry’s 2006 “Madea’s Family Reunion.”

Why She’s Dope: Before the New York City-born beauty was doing her thing on film, she was a Gap model, a dancer, and a member of the national tour for the Broadway play Aida in 2001.

One to Watch: Check her out in the upcoming 2010 films, “Butterfly Chasers,” “4-Bidden,” and “My Place in Horror.”

The Thespian

Saycon Sengbloh, 32, Broadway Actress

Who is She Again?Michelle Williams, Deborah Cox, Fantasia, Toni Braxton were all replaced by Saycon who has made a career filling in for them all.Straight from the ATL, Sengbloh was one of the first African American women to play the starring role of Mimi Marquez in Rent, and the first black woman ever to play Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West, in Broadway’s Wicked.

Why She’s Dope: Segbloh is the only actress to perform leading roles in four Tony nominated Broadway shows; as Mimi in “Rent,” Aida in “Aida,” Elephaba in “Wicked,” and Celie in “The Color Purple.”

One to Watch: Catch her now in her starring role as Sandra Izsadore in Broadway’s “Fela!”

The Voice

Keke Wyatt, 28, R&B Songstress

Who is She Again?How could you forget her cover of Patti Labelle’s 1984 classic, “If Only You Knew”? Not to mention her own classic duet with Avant on 2000’s “My First Love.”

Why She’s Dope: When her pipes are put to good use, you undoubtedly will be moved. One to Watch: After a number of years away from the scene, her latest album, Who Knew?, dropped just last month.

The International Phenom

Laura Izibor, 22, Soul Singer Who’s She Again?: A little Alicia Keys, a little Joss Stone, and a whole lot unique. The Nigerian Ireland-born soul singer’s debut album Let the Truth Be Told features the sleeper hit single, “From My Heart to Yours.”

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Why She’s Dope: Her music has been featured on soundtracks for television hits like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Hills,” “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “The T.O. Show,” and the film “The Nanny Diaries.”

One to Watch: Her latest single, “If Tonight is My Last,” will make you appreciate life and finding real love.

The Athlete

Cheryl Ford, 28, WNBA Player

Who is She Again? Daughter of former NBA star Karl Malone, Ford was the third overall draft pick for the WNBA in 2003. Currently playing for Oklahoma’s Tulsa Shock, she is one of the top forwards in the league.

Why She’s Dope: Ford is the only player to have won the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award and a WNBA championship in the same year.

One to Watch: Catch her playing for Tulsa, and in the off-season for Poland’s CCC Polkawice League she recently signed to in January.

The Mack in the Back

Shonda Rhimes, 50, Screenwriter, Producer, Director

Who is She Again? Ms. Rhimes is the head creative writer for the hugely successful hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” and its spin-off “Private Practice.”

Why She’s Dope: Nominated for two Emmy’s, won four Image Awards, one PGA award, and a WGA award – enough said.

One to Watch: Be sure to watch her newly written and produced series, “Bitch is the New Black,” still in development for 2011.

The Starlet

Sophie Okonedo, 42, Actress

Who is She Again? Remember Don Cheadle’s character’s wife in “Hotel Rwanda?” Yes, that was her. The role, of Tatiana Rusesabagina, earned Okonedo an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2005.

Why She’s Dope: Born in London, Okonedo’s first major film was Jim Carey’s 1995 “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.”Her resume proves true the saying, “slow and steady wins the race.”

One to Watch: While not yet confirmed, she is rumored to be a part of the cast for 2010’s obsession-centered flick, “Secret of Love.”

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