Ealy was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. He started his acting career in the late 1990s, appearing in a number of off-Broadway stage productions. Among his first film roles were Bad Company and Kissing Jessica Stein. His breakout role came in 2002′s Barbershop, in which he plays reformed street thug Ricky Nash, a role that he reprised in the 2004 sequel, Barbershop 2: Back in Business.
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