Karimah Westbrook is an American television and film actress. After crashing an audition and snagging a role in the Paramount box office hit Save the Last Dance, she has never looked back. Westbrook earned recognition for her roles as Ginnie, in the Sony Classic critically acclaimed bio-pic Baadassss! opposite actor/director Mario Van Peebles, as Claudia Johnson in American Violet opposite Alfre Woodard, and as Papa Nebo opposite Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary. Amassing an impressive list of credits, Karimah has acted in 12 feature films, made over 19 guest TV show appearances and produced several short films.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Westbrook attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in California and made her screen debut in the Paramount box office hit Save the Last Dance. She was later cast in the CBS medical drama City of Angels and went on to appear in several hit tv shows and movies, including ER, Mad Men, Baadassss!, The Tenants, Studio, Truth Hall, American Violet, C’Mon Man and American Fusion, where she learned to speak Mandarin Chinese.
Creating her own opportunities, Westbrook co-wrote, produced and starred in the award-winning short film Best Kept Secret, which aired on television in the US and garnered international attention. The film was also co-written by Ms. Westbrook in order to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic amongst African-American women. She was later nominated for “Best Actress” for her work in Best Kept Secret by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. She also won “Best Drama Actress” and “Best of Festival” for her demo reel in the Reel International Film Festival.
Transferring her energies into producing and creating more opportunities, Westbrook is involved with the IFTA-NBCUniversal alliance which gives IFTA producers the opportunity to pitch their shows to NBCUniversal and their affiliates for development funds. Westbrook has produced award-winning short films such as A Fire In A Dovecot, Watts & Volts, and Pastor Stuart and has several projects in various phases of development.
Giving back to the community, she's served as a mentor and on the board of the Leadership Council for A Place Called Home, a youth center in South Central Los Angeles that helps young adults in the inner city to find success and self-reliance. Westbrook has helped to produce Stars & Strikes, an annual fundraising event to support the center's mission.