Erica Watson, a Chicago-native comedian and actor best known for her roles in ‘The Chi’ and ‘Chi-Raq’ has died at the age of 48 due to COVID-19 complications, according to a Facebook post from her brother.
Friends say Watson would give you the shirt off her back, and make you laugh while you put in on.
She was just an amazing soul,” Qiana Allen said. “Everybody I know loved Erica.”
Watson was a comedian who embraced body positivity. The South Side native also held her own in roles on the big screen in the movie “Precious” and “ChiRaq,” which was directed by her childhood idol Spike Lee.
The work Watson put in wasn’t just for herself. She also helped the businesses of friends like Allen take off, scoring publicity for Qiana’s Muchiez Cereal Bar and Cultures Closet Boutique.
“She was doing all of that for me for free,” Allen said. “And I was like ‘Erica, let me pay you something. Let me give you something.’ And she was like ‘No, you’re my friend. I have these connections. I want to see you do well.’ And I almost had to put the money in her pocket for her to take it from me.”
During the pandemic, Allen said Watson went to Jamaica to work remotely and it was there she got sick. They texted just over a week ago.
“I was like, ‘Erica, you’re not working while you’re sick right?’” Allen said. “And she was like, ‘Well I’m actually working now. I’m about to go to the ER and take the weekend off.’ And I was like, ‘Girl put that stuff aside. This can wait until you get better.’”
Watson didn’t get better. In a Facebook post, her brother announced she died of COVID-19 over the weekend.
“She’s definitely going to be somebody I cherish for the rest of my life,” Allen said. “I will never forget her. She can never be replaced.”
Watson was raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and attended Kenwood High School before graduating from Columbia College Chicago. She was a contributor to ABC Chicago’s on Windy City Live.