Jo Marie Payton talks Suga Mama in The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder season 2


Jo Marie Payton is known for roles in hit television sitcoms including ABC’s Perfect Strangers and Family Matters but she’s also recognized for her voice acting performance as the no-nonsense grandmother, Suga Mama, in the Disney Channel Original Series The Proud Family. The show has returned for a second iteration as The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder on Disney+ which means the beloved character is back and better than ever.

Following positive reviews of the first season, the show follows teenager Penny Proud and her family as they navigate life in the 2020s. We see Penny’s overprotective dad, Oscar, her mom Trudy who’s tackling new career highs, and Penny facing the challenges of adolescence alongside her friends Michael, Zoey, Dijonay, and LaCienega. We’re also introduced to new people in high school as well who are trying to adapt to life in Smithville, California.

Hidden Remote got the chance to speak with the voice of Suga Mama, Jo Marie Payton and ask her about where we’ll see the character go this season and Suga Mama’s relationship with Penny.

Actress Jo Marie Payton talks Suga Mama in The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder Season 2

I know this is the start of season two of the show, but I wanted to kind of backtrack and ask you what it’s like to come back to this iconic character, not just for season two, but for the show in general?

Oh, my goodness. Well, thank you for calling her an iconic character. I’m so happy about that. I’m just happy that people love her and that Vincent, the Disney family, and the viewing audience wanted to see her back because you could have very well killed off Suga Mama. She’s old, so it makes me feel real good that they brought it back and people still love it as much as they did before. It feels real good. Awesome.

Yeah, I definitely do. I remember watching the series when I was really young, so it’s really cool to see this new one. So the continuation of Suga Mama’s storyline from the first season’s finale and seeing that jump start season two, I wanted to know what you found most interesting or even, like, impactful about that storyline, going back to her roots and seeing her evolution.

What was impactful was the fact that we’re still kind of fighting for that equality, fighting to be equal with those with men, being able to do the same jobs that they can do, not only intellectually, but athletically. We have the capability of doing whatever it is we want to do, but still being looked upon like we’re lesser than.

I love the fact that we focused on this show, and actually went back to her childhood, and kind of gave you an example of why she was the way she was and why she was so head strong and why she was so determined and all to do what it is she felt she needed to do, but still lack those strong family ties. She still believed in family and she still does. But she was hurt. First time we saw Suga Mama cry is because she had a breakdown in family relationships.

It was good that we showed this and it even gave her family an idea because they didn’t really know Suga Mama. They just know that Sugar Mama means what she says and says what she means. It comes out very tough and all, but at times they know she’s very loving also, but they got a better idea of why she was the way she is. I think in some of the other episodes you’ll see why they get a little closer. She’s still going to be your mom, but you understand it a little better.


That actually kind of leads into my next question. Was there a favorite moment you had recording any of the episodes this season? A Suga Mama moment.

Not really, because there’s so many and they’re all so natural, and our writers are so good. And the storylines, I tell them life imitates art for me because my grandbaby was 14 years old. I lived with two very spoiled women, my daughter and my granddaughter. And I go through some of the same things. When I was looking at the episode of Penny Misbehaving with her parents and had to come to my house, my granddaughter, It was like deja vu.

“Who are you talking to? What you think?” That whole thing, but that love thing is still there. But you got to be tough with them. My granddaughter runs. I pick up a wooden spoon because, you know, I mean business. So it’s not any particular moment. It’s just I love this show because it’s so real, and so all the moments are special to me, even the crazy ones. So special.

I love hearing about that relationship and how life imitates art. And I wanted to ask you, since Penny and Sugar Mama have this relationship, it’s multi generational. Do you, and also the voice actor Kyla Pratt, do you guys have an off the mic relationship that kind of bleeds into the show?

Yes, we do. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t make it for our second season opening for the party because of a conflict, and I talked to her that night. We have that. And I have her number. She has mine. Her daughter has a little puff dog that looks just like Puff, like the one I have on my bed.

We established that relationship a long time ago, but then I knew Kyla from Family Matters, and then I did One on One with her. So we’ve had a relationship throughout the years. And she has a special picture, favorite picture of me that I didn’t even know she had, that she told me about she and I. So we have that special relationship.

But I think what makes it even more special is that I loved my grandmother. I loved both of my grandmothers, but my father’s mother was my heart. And from that relationship that I have with Penny makes me feel like the relationship that I had with my grandmother that I grew up with, the one that made me eleven dresses for school every year, she made them eleven dresses, five days, two weeks, and I was the only girl for ten years. So I had a brand new dress to wear every day for two weeks. And then the beginning of the third week, I thought, Surprise. And they had another dress to wear. But she was my grandmother. Yes. Awesome.

If we get a season three, is there any situation you want Suga Mama to be in? Anything that you haven’t seen her do yet?

I want to see her tell Papi off. I want her to understand, you know, she gets fascinated by his accent and the fact that he’s sexy and he looks like Caesar Romero. I would like to really see an episode where she says, “I know what you say, but I don’t care. Don’t think that I’m a fool, because I’m not. I just like the way you say it” Because [Suga Mama’s] not crazy. I want him to understand that his insults that he says, she just throws them out the window. I’d like to see that happen!

Next. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder creators on season 2's storytelling. dark

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder premieres Wednesday, Feb. 1 on Disney+.