Nicki Minaj has announced the cast for her forthcoming comedy series, Nicki, which portrays the rapper’s life growing up in Queens, New York. The program is slated to air next year on ABC Family, which is planning to change its name to Freeform January 12.

Ariana Neal was selected to play the lead role. Minaj reportedly went on a nationwide search to find the actress to play herself. Neal starred as Oscar Grant’s daughter, Tatiana, in 2013’s Fruitvale Station alongside Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz.

“I literally cried watching her taped audition,” Minaj writes on Instagram. “I demanded to meet her! Sat in a room with her teaching her how to rap by doing a beat on the table & forcing her to stay on beat! Lol. Then pulled out all the attitude she had in her lil body. Haha! She’s tough! And so sweet & cute. #ArianaNeal #LilNicki Welcome to the family lil lady bug!”

Minaj also posted an image of the press release for the show, which states that Whoopi Goldberg will appear in the show as Miss Martha, the family’s neighbor. Selita Ebanks will play Grace, Minaj’s mother. Wesley Jonathan is cast as Vincent, Minaj’s father and McCarrie McCausland will portray Minaj’s older brother, Jaylen.

Minaj will serve as executive producer for the show and is slated to make guest appearances.



A photo posted by Nicki Minaj (@nickiminaj) on

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