Musician and nascent TV producer Nicki Minaj has revealed the cast and title for Nicki, her upcoming sitcom on Freeform (previously the far-less-fluid ABC Family). The series—based on Minaj’s childhood growing up in an immigrant family in Queens, New York—will star Selita Ebanks and Wesley Jonathan as Minaj’s parents, with Whoopi Goldberg lending a bit of star power to the production as a guest-starring neighbor, Miss Martha.
Most important, of course, is the role of the miniature Minaj herself, and the “Anaconda” rapper has announced that the role has gone to Fruitvale Station and Get Hard co-star Ariana Neal. Minaj posted about the casting of her child self on Instagram, revealing that she had encouraged Neal to rap for her before extracting “all the attitude she had in her lil body. Haha!”, which was probably less terrifying than it sounds. She also declared Neal “tough,” as well as “sweet and cute.”
Previous reports on the series suggested that Minaj would appear on camera in addition to her executive producer role. It’s not clear right now if that’s still the case, or if she’ll let her new “lil ladybug” carry forward the Minaj legacy, and all the attendant swagger contained therein. In any case, Nicki has already been picked up to series by Freeform; it’s expected to air sometime in 2016.