Mostly Credited As: Ray J
Sometimes Credited As: Willie Norwood Jr.
Ray J. Norwood
Ray Jay Norwood
Birth Name: William Ray Norwood Jr.
Date Of Birth: January 17, 1981 (Age 33)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: McComb, Mississippi
Height: 5' 7" (1.7 m)
Ray J was born Willie Raymond Norwood Junior on January 17, 1981 in McComb, Mississippi. The Norwoods moved to Carson, California in 1983 and that’s when his desire for the spotlight grew.
Ten years later Ray J appeared on the scene a few months after his sister, Brandy enter the spotlight. He did commercials for Walt Disney, Nintendo, McDonalds and Denny’s (before the lawsuit). He appeared as LJ on the Fox series-The Sinbad Show (1993-94) and despite high hopes the series left the air after one season.
Not letting this failure get to him, Ray J appeared for a month long run on Broadway (1995) in the production of “Twist.” He starred with Phylicia Rashad in the autobiographical movie “When We Were Colored” and with Forrest Whitaker in the HBO special “The Enemy Within.” He had a minor role in Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks” in 1996 as Joe Brown’s son
He released his first album-Everything You Want with the popular (yet never played in Dallas, Texas) single-“Let It Go.” The song appeared on the soundtrack of the cult classic movie-“Set It Off.” The album featured a return to funk that only Prince could produce. Keith Crouch, Delite and Rashaan Patterson (who saved Tevin Campbell’s career, wrote for Jason Weaver and The Boys) helped produce the highly underrated album that music critics loved, but the public couldn’t appreciate due to lack of publicity.
Ray J’s acting career got put on hold after he did the horrible DC Comic adaptation of “Steel” with Shaq. The movie made only $1.6 million during its run in theaters. Ray J wasn’t to blame for the movie’s failure since Steel already had a history prior to the movie. In the comic, Ray J’s character was younger and Steel had to defeat him. Ray J failed to include a song for the fantastic soundtrack much like Brandy for I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
Ray J released the single “That’s Why I Lie” for the movie “Dr.Doolittle” soundtrack. The song received little or no airplay and the single was released overseas.
Ray J returned to acting on Moesha playing Moesha’s half brother-Dorian Long. Many fans approved of him being on the show until they found out Dorian was Moesha’s brother. Many felt the series went from a comedy to a drama that ruined a positive father figure for no reason at all. Others felt the show was just showcasing the Norwood children and others felt the show was now a thirty-minute bathroom break before The Parkers came on. Ray J’s tour of duty as Dorian came to a shocking end with Moesha being cancelled and replaced by One on One with Flex (Shanice’s husband) and Kayla Pratt (Love & Basketball). UPN claims it will produce a Moesha movie to tie up lose ends, but no date has been set. He was the host of The Source Soundlab.
Ray J released “This Ain’t A Game” his second album on June 19, 2001. This is the second release date since the first date was cancelled. Once again the public has yet to hear the single “Wait A Minute.” This album is already being written off as not being the springboard to get Ray J out of Brandy’s shadow. Vibe calls the album weak and five songs will leave listeners thinking Ray J is best suited for the small screen than the music studio.