- Full Name Birgundi Baker
- Occupation Actress, Singer, Dancer
- Nationality American
- Birthplace North Carolina, USA
- Birth Date Mar 16, 1992
- Age 30 Years, 6 Months
"My character is basically a representation of this—she's a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a student, a runner. What I love about her is that I think she is someone who everyone can identify with her in some way and that familiarity makes you fall in love with her, so when she does go missing, you really care."
Birgundi Baker | Biography 2021Supporter Black Lives Matter and The Black and Missing Foundation
Birgundi Baker got her breakthrough role as Keisha Williams in the hit 2018 Showtime series 'The Chi.' She has been a part of the cast since its beginning. The series follows a group of neighbors on Chicago's South Side who bond intimately after meeting by chance.
Birgundi Baker is an actress prominently recognized for her character Keisha Williams in the Showtime series The Chi.
Who Is Birgundi Baker?
Birgundi Angel Baker is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She joined the Launch Showcase after relocating to Chicago. After the presentation there, the actress signed with Gray Talent Group and began her career in television and movies. Refinery29 named her as one of the 'Top Actresses to Watch in 2018.'
In 2015, Baker started her television career with the television series Empire. In 2018, she got her breakthrough role as Keisha Williams in the Showtime series The Chi. Over the years, she had appeared in television series such as Chicago P.D. (2017), Chicago Med. (2018), Station 19 (2019), Tales (2019), and While We Breathe (2020). Her movie appearances include Tuscaloosa (2019) and The Last Shift (2020).
Baker is a firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black and Missing Foundation. Apart from her professional work, she is a doting mother of two children.
Early Life and Education
Birgundi Angel Baker was born on 6 March 1992 in Raleigh, North Carolina. She grew up in a family where everyone was highly involved in the creative field and loved arts. She was surrounded by art all the time, which made her fall in love with it. From a very young age, Baker was clear to pursue her career as a performer.
In a 2020 interview with Rose and Ivy, she confessed, "My aunt went to Juilliard so my mom sent me up to New York to watch the student shows and the plays. I just fell in love with it. She put me in dance and that kind of attracted me to the whole theater world."
Following her passion, she earned her bachelor's degree in musical theatre from the reputed Howard University. She majored in dance, and later, Baker switched to a major in the theatre, because of which she had to spend an extra year at the university.
Her First Performance
Baker's first performance was a dance, where she portrayed a cartoon character Purple People Eater. She wore a bright and shiny purple costume with one horn and an eye on its side.
She then progressed through dancing classes at various levels. Her mother enrolled her in chorus and acting courses, and she won a contest sponsored by Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
Baker was just eight years old when she had to fly to Florida to shoot ads, and it was her first experience working as an actor, being punctual, doing rehearsals, and being in front of the camera. It was then she knew it was what she wanted to pursue in the future.
Rise to Fame
Baker had a difficult time gaining representation. She tried circulating her headshot, resume and reached out to others who had agents but in vain. Fortunately, Baker had a Launch showcase after moving to Chicago with agents in attendance. So, she could secure a representation, and she never looked back since then.
Baker got her first role as teen Carol on Empire with her first audition. Empire is a well-known 2015 American drama series about a music industry magnate who aims to protect his company's future by pitting his sons.
She then landed roles in Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. To Baker, her very first major role was playing Lizzy in a few episodes of the television series Heathers (2018). The series also featured a musical rendition, and it was the first time Baker was able to use her musical theater experience in a television show.
In 2018, Baker got her breakthrough role as Keisha Williams in the hit Showtime series The Chi. She has been a part of the cast since its beginning. The Chi is a coming-of-age drama focusing on a group of neighbors on Chicago's South Side who bond intimately after meeting by chance. It was created and executive produced by Emmy winner Lena Waithe. The fourth season of the series was premiered on 23 May 2021.
Baker started as a supporting character in the first two seasons of the series but upped to one of the main cast since season 3. She had appeared in over 30 episodes from 2018 to 2021.
Her character is significantly the face of what is happening with black women today and why they are going missing. Talking about her character, she said, "My character is basically a representation of this—she's a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a student, a runner. What I love about her is that I think she is someone who everyone can identify with her in some way and that familiarity makes you fall in love with her, so when she does go missing, you really care."
‘The Last Shift’
Baker portrayed Sydney in the British comedy-drama hybrid The Last Shift, which was released in 2020.
The film follows Stanley (played by Richard Jenkins), whose final shift at a restaurant job takes a strange turn after he meets a young African-American coworker named Jevon (played by Shane Paul McGhie). Stanley is shown as a white guy whose opinions haven't altered in 50 years in the movie and it as well shows Jevon's brilliant stream of social justice witticisms.
The movie had won the 'FIPRESCI Best US Narrative Directorial Debut Award' at the 2020 Heartland International Film Festival
‘Summer of '72’
Baker starred in the 2019 film Summer of '72 as Carmen.
The film is set in Alabama in 1972 and one of its plots follows Billy (Devon Bostick) as he develops feelings for an inmate at his father's mental institution. His best buddy becomes embroiled in radical civil rights struggle against Tuscaloosa's power elite, which runs parallel to the former plot.
The movie has several accolades under its belt. It had won the 'Best Actress' category at the 2021 Barcelona Planet Film Festival, the 'Clu Gulager Character Actor Award' in the category of 'Best Lead Actor' at the 2021 Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival, the 'Jury Prize' for 'Best Domestic Feature Film' at the 2021 Cobb International Film Festival, and more.
‘30 Miles From Nowhere’
Baker starred as Delilah in the horror film 30 Miles from Nowhere, which was released in 2018.
The film follows five college friends who travel to remote Wisconsin for the burial of an estranged acquaintance. The situation starts out as an awkward reunion but it quickly turns into a horrific struggle for survival as the plotline proceeds.
Baker portrays Eboni in Block Party, which is still in post-production as of November 2021.
The movie is about Keke McQueen (Antoinette Robertson), a recent Harvard graduate who is ready to leave her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan for her dream career in Atlanta. However, she realizes that her previously canny Grandma Janice is displaying symptoms of dementia, and she risks her career to salvage her Grandma's block party. She eventually starts falling in love with her community and its people in the meantime.
Baker guest-starred as Yemi Miller in the TV series Station 19 in 2019. She appeared in two of its episodes namely 'When It Rains, It Pours!' and 'Baby Boom'.
The series is a sequel to the phenomenally popular show Grey's Anatomy, and it chronicles the lives of the men and women of Seattle, Washington's firehouse station 19.
Baker played as Teen Carol in four episodes namely ' The Unkindest Cut', 'What We May Be', 'Sin That Amends', and 'Light in Darkness' in the TV series Empire in 2016.
The show follows a hip-hop entrepreneur who must pick an heir among his three sons who are vying for control of his multibillion-dollar business. His ex-wife, on the other hand, plots to retrieve what is rightfully hers.
From 2018 until 2020, Baker played Anaya in six episodes of the TV series Black Lightning. The show follows a crusading school administrator who resurfaces as the first African-American electrical superhero.
The actress had also featured in TV series Station 19 as Yemi Miller in 2019, Tales as Ruby Mason in 2019, Black Lightning as Anaya between 2018 and 2020, and While We Breathe in 2020. Her movie appearances included Tuscaloosa as Carmen in 2019 and The Last Shift as Sydney in 2020
Black Lives Matter and The Black and Missing Foundation
Baker is a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter and The Black and Missing Foundation (BAM FI). BAM FI creates public awareness campaigns for public safety and provides a venue for parents and loved ones of missing people to share information about their loved ones' disappearances, including photos and profiles of missing people.
Talking about the movement, she said, "I think the main thing right now with the Black Lives Matter movement is to educate yourself on what is going on, but I don't think you can do that without educating yourself on what has happened. As an artist, I think books are great, but my mind automatically goes to art like TV and movies and things you can actually see."