Known to millions worldwide for her role as "Ashley Banks" on the iconic television series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Tatyana Ali is a Broadway-trained actress, singer, producer, activist, and graduate of Harvard University.
By the age of six, she had begun her acting career, as a regular child performer on Sesame Street starting in 1985, even appearing with Herbie Hancock in a musical number. She also appeared twice on Star Search. She made her breakthrough when she was cast as Ashley Banks for the television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990. She sang on various episodes of the show, including a heavily altered version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and the original song, "Make Up Your Mind" produced by Robert Jerald of N'Spyre Music Productions. Despite her singing ability, she concentrated on her acting career on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air the next few years.
In the final season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1995–96), Ali began preparing herself for her musical debut. The result was the album Kiss The Sky, which was certified gold in early 1999. The album spawned the hit song "Daydreamin'", released July 21, 1998, produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the UK Singles Chart.
The album spawned two further UK hits, "Boy You Knock Me Out", featuring Will Smith, which peaked at No. 3 and is her biggest hit to date; and "Everytime", which was her third top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at No. 20. She made an appearance in Smith's album Willennium for the track "Who Am I" with MC Lyte.
Along with her musical career, Ali kept acting in many films. She had the chance to work with recognized film directors such as Takeshi Kitano (Brother), Rodrigo Garcia (Mother and Child), among others. In 2005, she completed work on the film Glory Road and starred in the music video for Nick Cannon and Anthony Hamilton's "Can I Live'" as Cannon's mother. In early 2008, she performed on the song "Yes We Can", a will.i.am project supporting Barack Obama's presidential campaign. She also appeared in the subsequent music video which gained coverage on the "What the Buzz" segment of ABC's World News Now.
She also performed the title song, "Sunny Valentine" along with Terrence Quaites for the indie film, Rockin' Meera directed by Param Gill in 2005. In 2009 and 2010 she produced and starred in the BET web show, Buppies. She also had a recurring status on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as Roxanne.
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