Dear LeToya Luckett, You Are a National Treasure, Especially Playing Rochelle Cross on Greenleaf

Illustration for article titled Dear LeToya Luckett, You Are a National Treasure, Especially Playing Rochelle Cross on Greenleaf
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images for Essence)


I’m going to go ahead and tell on myself and pray that the Beyhive doesn’t feel inclined to come get this smoke: LeToya Luckett was always my favorite Child of Destiny. I remember, way back in the ’90s, running into LeToya and Latavia at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta and that being a hallmark moment of my college experience.


LeToya’s debut album, LeToya, came out in 2006 and, yep, I bought that (and the subsequent albums). And I liked it. Hell, I thought it was a significantly underrated album and would advocate it to anybody who would listen. While I didn’t watch Single Ladies or Ballers for LeToya Luckett’s characters, I was always happy that she was there. The TVOne show, Here We Go Again, though? Yeah, I definitely watched that show entirely because of LeToya Luckett. I’ve followed along for both good and bad movies and am here for them all. If I haven’t overkilled it by now, I think the main takeaway here is that I’m a fan of LeToya Luckett.

You know what I’m also a fan of? OWN’s Greenleaf. Nigga. I don’t even know what to righteously say about this show. I’ve never seen a show LITERALLY leave nothing on the table. Nothing. You want a teenager to lose her ovaries? They got that. You want sex scandals, murder, shootings at a church, cryptocurrency, side chicks and (potential) side children? They got that. The whole show even exists because of a suicide. You want a southern megachurch and parents who name their kids, Faith, Grace, Charity and Jacob? They got that.

We’ve got Spelman. We’ve got teenaged bad boy gospel artists who beat their high school girlfriends. We’ve got the IRS. We’ve got arson and grudge-holding foster children hell-bent on destroying a religious empire. We’ve got RICK. FOX. And I’m leaving 75 percent of the other shenanigans out of this article.

Considering my love for both LeToya Luckett and Greenleaf, when she showed up on the show?


Shut my mouth wide open. It’s almost as if the folks over in the exec offices of OWN were like, “If Panama Jackson wanted to see a show that is entirely with the shits, full of all of the shenanigans, somehow works, and includes RICK.FOX., what would it be about?”


They came up with Greenleaf. THEN somebody was like, “You know what would REALLY have Panama going up on a Tuesday? (Greenleaf actually comes on on Wednesdays.) Adding LeToya Luckett in a double-crossing role where she slays ... and she slays ... and she slays.”

And because God knows I like good things, LeToya Luckett showed up on the show as Rochelle Cross, a woman there to help in any way she can while simultaneously conspiring with her missing disgraced-pastor-of-a-half-brother (Basie Skanks ... I mean come on, it’s like they pulled the name out of a Shenanigans Name Generator), to take down the entire Greenleaf family. She’s sidling up next to Pastor Greenleaf, putting her feminine wiles all over him and convincing him that she loves him while deviously and unknowingly playing him against his own son. She is KILLING the game in this role and I am enjoying it with my whole heart.


She bops back and forth from incredulous at the accusations of malfeasance to actual malfeasance with psychopathic accuracy. She took the words, “Bitch, I already did” and made them so much more effective than they’ve ever been when I’ve used them in that combination.

LeToya, chile, you are doing the damn thing and I applaud and appreciate you.

Her presence on the show has been fun and mischievous. I’m sure that all who watch wonder just how she was going to take down the family and in what new ways she was going to gaslight every last motherfucking member of the Greenleaf crew that she comes into contact with. So far she’s gotten Grace, James and Lady Mae.


Speaking of Lady Mae, the fact that Rochelle can seemingly go toe-to-toe (okay, maybe not ENTIRELY, Mae has a whole slew of issues she needs to contend with, and her dramatics are otherworldly, shouts to Lynn Whitfield) with the Greenleaf matriarch in conspiring to her own ends is a marvel to see unfold. They do that shit with aplomb. But Rochelle, she’s out here killing churches and dreams.

LeToya, keep that shit up, homie, you are a treasure. Greenleaf is that much more fun to watch with you on my screen. With the return of Basie who knows what the two of you might cook up, but I’m here to sit at the dining room table of Greenleaf balderdash.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



My strong opinion on LaToya is that her latest album slaps and she and Latavia were right. #Justice4LaToyaandLatavia