Three months after we learned Nicki Minaj was putting together an autobiographical scripted series for ABC Family—titled Nicki—we've got a cast. Young Onika will be played by Ariana Neal, pictured below, who has appeared in Ryan Coogler's Michael B. Jordan–starring Fruitvale Station and the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard. She also played a young Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in VH1's CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Whoopi Goldberg will guest star as Miss Martha, a neighbor.
"I am honored and excited to announce that I've literally hand picked the main characters of my scripted series," Nicki writes on Instagram. "I've been going to the auditions falling in love with some incredible people. Looking forward to unveiling this groundbreaking new show for you guys in 2016!" As far as Ms. Neal, Nicki says she "literally cried watching her taped audition," then "sat in a room with her teaching her how to rap by doing a beat on the table & forcing her to stay on beat!"
Former Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks will play Grace, Nicki's mother. You may have seen her in Kanye West's half-hour Runaway film in 2010, or perhaps on Real Husbands of Hollywood for a minute there. The father role goes to Wesley Jonathan, a TV veteran with multiple seasons of The Soul Man, City Guys and What I Like About You under his belt. Last up is the 15-year-old McCarrie McCausland (Army Wives), who will play Nicki's older brother Jaylen.
Nicki will both executive produce and appear on Nicki.