Haywood Nelson is best known for his role as Dwayne from the legendary TV show, What’s Happening!! His character Dwayne was a pretty-boy who is a little shy, friendly, a down-to-earth teen, who was likable and with his catch phrase, “Hay, Hay, Hay,” became a favorite memorable character by all who watched him then and now. Haywood arguably became the first Black TV teenage sex symbol with teenage girls finally having someone of their own age to swoon over. He had a sweetness, a sense of humor, wit and a natural likability about him. He was a guy that guys liked and girls liked as well, which is a rare quality.
Haywood Nelson has been a member of the entertainment community for over forty-years. This New York born and raised actor began his career in the 1960s as a child with many national commercials completed. Including the brand campaigns, “Lavoris” (Pucker Power), Campbell’s Soup (Mmm Mmm Good), Libby’s (Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the Label Label Label), Rockem Sockem Robots, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightening, Aurora Cars, Kodak, Polaroid, and many others. In 1972 Haywood appeared Also Starring as the Character “Freddie” in the Feature Film “Mixed Company” under the Directorial helm of SAG and WGA President Melville Shavelson. This course led fast to a run in New Haven, Boston, and ultimately two years on Broadway at the Broadhurst and Longacre Theaters respectively in Herb Gardner’s “Thieves” for Directors Michael Bennett and then Charles Grodin, beginning with Valerie Harper and ultimately Starring Marlo Thomas, Richard Mulligan, William Hickey and other veterans of the theatre. He went on to guest star in the series “Sanford and Son” for Tandem Productions, and then as the grandson of Whitman Mayo’s “Grady” in the series of the same name.
Haywood soon landed the role of “Dwayne” in the television series “What’s Happening!” for TOY Productions based upon the hit movie “Cooley High” by writer Eric Monte. After a successful 3 seasons Haywood continued on to study, Architecture and Electronics Engineering when the cast of “What’s Happening!” was re-united for three seasons of syndication in the series “What’s Happening Now!” Haywood also began work behind-the-scenes as a 2nd Assistant Cameraperson, Lighting Technician, Film Distributor Foreign and Screen Writer.
Haywood reemerged to the theatre in the mid-2000s in a stage production at New York’s Lincoln Center – Alice Tully Hall, also in a Guest Appearance on the television series “The Parkers” and an appearance in the Paramount Pictures feature film “Dickie Roberts” for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.
Haywood still works in the entertainment business. In addition to a number of personal appearances as Himself, he has worked as part of the production of network talk shows, TV shows and interview programs. He does not work behind the scenes anymore, since 2014. Today, Haywood is a main point advisor in his current wife’s company SkyeWood. His wife Khnadya Skye aka Skye Nelson is also listed as Haywood’s Attorney at SAG-AFTRA. It is said that his wife is also related to the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. This is why Haywood is rarely seen and is extremely private nowadays. Haywood hasn’t seen or spoken to his former “What’s Happening!!” cast-mates, since 2014.
Haywood is an active humanitarian dedicated to encouraging artists to flourish and supporting the idea of exemplary education and ethical behavior within our communities and to providing youth with access to historical heroes that have provided usable truths, technologies and philosophies to achieve these goals.