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McComb native lands role on ABC sitcom ‘Black-ish’

Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 12:59 PM CDT
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McCOMB, Miss. (WLBT) - “It is such an amazing blessing. I’ve been in this entertainment business for five years now and I’ve been working so hard and waiting for this break right here,” says Mallian Butler.

The “break” that 14-year-old Butler is talking about, is a recurring role on the ABC hit TV show Black-ish.

“Black-ish has been my favorite show since I was ten years old. I remember looking at the TV and thinking, ‘Wow I’d love to be on that show.’ When I got notification that I was going to portray Ashley, I was so excited and very grateful,” Mallian says.

Ashley is the girlfriend of the show’s youngest son, Jack. Mallian’s first appearance on the show aired on February 23, episode 13. One more is coming up, episode 19, on March 30.

Surely she was nervous that first day walking on the set, right? Actually, no! Mallian found herself driven by sheer enthusiasm.

“I was so eager for them to say ‘action’ so I could show off and display my talent and get into the moment,” she remembers.

Her mother, Mahalia Jackson, says says Mallian has been the entertainer of the family since the tender age of two.

“She showed interest in theater and arts at around 9 years old. That’s when she booked her first TV appearance. She has just worked diligently,” Mahalia tells us.

Mom and Dad put Mallian in a small theater school first, and noticed she was getting the lead roles. Then the theater director recommended her for a television project. Six months later, they said hello to L.A.!

Since then, Mallian’s career has been a family affair, as the Butlers split their time between Dallas and Los Angeles.

“My husband, Merrick Butler Sr., has been the engine with me, working to move her forward. We do believe in supporting our kids. We want them to decide what their goals and dreams are, and then our job is to move them forward and create opportunities for them,” Mahalia says.

Mallian’s hometown is McComb, and the Butlers have lots of family there today. In fact, Mallian dedicated episode 13 to her great grandmother, Mary C. Scott of McComb, who passed away just a few weeks before it aired.

The family’s message to young people: pursue your dreams with passion.

‘It comes with lots hard work, but when you’re passionate about it, you never work a day in your life,” Mallian says.

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