China Anne McClain (born August 25, 1998) is an American actress and singer. She is a member of the sister girl group McClain. McClain's career began in 2005 when she was seven years old, acting in the movie The Gospel (2005). She also played China James in Tyler Perry’s Daddy's Little Girls (2007), along with Idris Elba and her two sisters. However, she became nationally known after 2007, when she joined the cast of the series Tyler Perry's House of Payne as Jazmine Payne. In 2010, she co-starred in Grown Ups (2010) as Charlotte McKenzie. McClain now stars in the CW show Black Lightning. McClain became internationally known after starring in the Disney Channel original television series A.N.T. Farm, landing the role as Chyna Parks, from 2011 to 2014. Disney released the soundtrack of the television series A.N.T. Farm on October 11, 2011.
McClain sings six songs and two solos with her sisters on the soundtrack, which debuted in the Billboard 200 at number 29 with 14,000 copies sold in its first week. On the soundtrack, McClain sang her version of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." The release containing the song "Calling All the Monsters" reached the eighty-sixth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. McClain was a co-star in the 2013 sequel Grown Ups 2. In 2014, she appeared on the reality singing competition series, ABC's Sing Your Face Off and was the youngest contestant on the show, winning the show's first season. McClain starred as Gabby Harrison in the Disney Channel original movie How to Build a Better Boy (2014) with Kelli Berglund. She also appears as the main villain Uma in the Disney Channel Descendants 2 (2017), playing Ursula's daughter.
In 2018, McClain began portraying Jennifer Pierce in The CW superhero series Black Lightning.
McClain was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, Michael McClain, is a music producer. Her mother, Shontell, is a songwriter. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her family. McClain has said that she and her family are devout Christians, although they cannot always attend church regularly due to her and her sisters' musical and acting careers.
2005–11: Tyler Perry's House of Payne
McClain was discovered in 2005 by a music executive who heard her sing and encouraged director Rob Hardy to audition her for his 2005 feature film The Gospel. Her role caught the attention of Tyler Perry, who cast her as Jazmine Payne in the television series Tyler Perry's House of Payne. She appears in the movie Daddy's Little Girls with her sisters, Sierra and Lauryn, who are also actresses and play her older sisters in the film. McClain appeared in and guest starred in various other shows and movies such as Hannah Montana with Sierra McCormick, NCIS and the 2009 film Hurricane Season. Jonas, was also a Disney Channel shows she was on. She also appeared in the movie Grown Ups, as Charlotte McKenzie. McClain appeared on the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place in 2011 as Tina in one episode entitled "Wizards vs. Angels".
2011–14: A.N.T. Farm and music
In 2011, McClain was cast as the lead role in the Disney Channel series A.N.T. Farm. For the show, McClain recorded a cover of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite". She also sings the series theme song, "Exceptional". China Anne's first music video, for "Dynamite", premiered on July 23, 2011 on Disney Channel. After less than a week, more than 1 million views on YouTube were reported. She has appeared in an episode of PrankStars. She also appeared in the Chiddy Bang Opposite of Adults music video. For the Disney Channel Halloween special in 2011, she performed the song, "Calling All The Monsters". On June 14, 2011, China and her sisters – known as the McClain Sisters – signed with Hollywood Records. The A.N.T. Farm soundtrack was released on October 11, 2011, featuring China Anne's version of "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz. On September 28, 2011, China Anne released "Calling All The Monsters" to iTunes. "Calling All The Monsters" charted number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On November 24, 2011, China performed her song "Unstoppable" in the 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
She co-starred in the 2013 sequel Grown Ups 2. On December 27, 2013, it was announced on her Twitter page that A.N.T. Farm would be ending after its 3rd season. On the same day, it was revealed that the McClain Sisters had left Hollywood Records. In the March/April 2014 issue of BYOU Magazine, China said it was "bittersweet" that A.N.T Farm was ending, and announced plans to focus on doing music with her sisters. McClain appeared on ABC's Sing Your Face Off television show, broadcast from May 31 – June 14, 2014, winning the show's first season.
In 2015, McClain was featured in the FOX series Bones in the episode "The Lost in the Found", playing Kathryn Walling. She also appeared in the Netflix computer-animated series VeggieTales in the House, voiced the role Jenna Chive, a parody of herself. As a part of the various artist who contributed to the Descendants album McClain performed the song "Night is Young", the song was featured in the film and was also on the Descendants album. McClain also starred in the computer-animated series Descendants: Wicked World, based on the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants. She voiced Freddie, the daughter of Dr. Facilier. She is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming television movie Descendants 2 as Uma, the daughter of Ursula. In 2016, she recorded the action thriller film Blood Brother, co-starring with Trey Songz and Ron Killings. The film will be released in the summer. She was also part of the cast of 3D computer-animated action-drama film Bilal.
In 2017, it was announced that she had been cast as Jennifer Pierce in the Black Lightning pilot for the CW.
China Anne McClain cites her parents, Michael and Shontell, as her biggest influences, as well as Michael Jackson, Hattie McDaniel, Rihanna, and Beyoncé.