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Ali in April 2010
Birth name Tatyana Marisol Ali
Also known as Tatyana M. Ali
Born January 24, 1979 (age 37)
North Bellmore, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s) Actress, model, singer
Years active 1985–present
Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress, model and R&B singer, who is best known for her role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. From 2010 to 2012, she starred as Tyana Jones on the TV One original sitcom Love That Girl!, and has had a recurring role as Roxanne on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.
1 Early life
3 Personal life
6 Awards and nominations
Ali was born in North Bellmore, New York, the eldest daughter (she has two younger sisters) of Sonia, a nurse, and Sheriff Ali, a police detective. Her mother is Afro-Panamanian and her father is Indo-Trinidadian.
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. Will Smith asked her if she seriously considered pursuing a musical career. 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", awill.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 is currently on recurring status on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as Roxanne.
Ali can be seen in the show, Love That Girl! on TV One. She stars as Tyana (which comes from the last five letters of her name). When asked if the character bears any similarities to her, Ali said in a CaribPress interview, "She's a bit neurotic and I hope I am not quite like that."
"One thing that I do love about her is that she is really multidimensional," she went on to say in the same interview. "I think it's nice to have a female character that is portrayed in (a) really holistic way."
Ali also starred in Nora's Hair Salon and Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above. In 2011, Ali received the Living Legacy Award from the Caribbean Heritage Organization in Los Angeles. In 2012, Ali appeared as a guest on The Eric Andre Show. Ali's most recent role, as of January 15, 2013, is starring as Maya, along with Craig Wayans and Damien Dante Wayans, in the BET comedy, Second Generation Wayans.
In January 2014, Ali released a new EP entitled Hello, with her first single being "Wait For It", which she also performed on The Arsenio Hall Show on February 4, 2014.
Ali attended Harvard University, where she received a bachelor's degree in African-American studies and government in 2002. She traveled the United States as a spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and headed voter registration drives at college campuses. In 2012, she continued showing her support.
Ali was in a relationship with actor Jonathan Brandis for six years.
Year Title Role Notes
Eddie Murphy Raw Eddie's Sister Sketch Segment
1988 Crocodile Dundee II Park Girl
1988 Wow, You're a Cartoonist! Child Cartoonist Short film; direct-to-video release
1997 Fakin' da Funk Karyn
1997 Kiss the Girls Janell Cross
1998 The Clown at Midnight Monica
1999 Jawbreaker Brenda
2000 Brother Latifa
2001 The Brothers Cherie Smith
2003 National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze Claire
2004 Nora's Hair Salon Lilleana
2005 Back in the Day Alicia Packer
2005 Domino One Laeticia Richards
2006 Glory Road Tina Malichi
2006 A Warm Place Clair Andrews Short film
2007 The List Cynthia
2008 Down & Out Short film
2008 Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above Lilleana
2008 Hotel California Jessie
2009 Mother and Child Maria
2010 Pete Smalls Is Dead Cocktail Waitress
2012 Privileged Talia
2012 Dysfunctional Friends Alex
2012 Home Again Marva Johnson
2013 24 Hour Love Simply
2013 The Last Letter Jillian
2014 Locker 13 Lucy
2014 Comeback Dad Nima
2015 November Rule Leah
Year Title Role Notes
1985/90 Sesame Street Tatyana 4 episodes
1989 Wally and the Valentines Jamaica Valentine Special
1989 A Man Called Hawk Michelle Episode: "Life After Death"
1989 The Cosby Show Girl Episode: "Shall We Dance?"
1990–96 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Ashley Banks 148 episodes
1993 Getting By Nicole Alexander Episode: "Turnabout Dance"
1994 Are You Afraid of the Dark? Laura Turner/Connie Turner Episode: "The Tale of the Quicksilver"
1994 TV's Funniest Families Herself as a Host Special
1995 In the House Ashley Banks Episode: "Dog Catchers"
1996 Living Single Stephanie James Episode: "Whatever Happened to Baby Sister?"
1996 Kidz in the Wood Rita
1996 Fall Into Darkness Sharon McKay
1997 413 Hope St. Kai Episode: "Heartbeat"
2002 Fastlane Shelly Episode: "Girls Own Juice"
2003 Half & Half Olivia Episode: "The Big Condom-nation Episode"
2007 On the Lot Girl Episode: "11 Cut to 10 & 10 Directors Compete"; segment: "First Sight"
2007–13 The Young and the Restless Roxanne Recurring role; 53 episodes
2010–12 Love That Girl! Tyana Jones Lead role
2012 The Eric Andre Show Herself Episode: "Tatyana Ali"
2013 Second Generation Wayans Maya
2013 Dear Secret Santa Jennifer Movie
2014 The Divorce Movie
2015 Fatal Flip Roslyn Movie
Year Album Chart
1998 Kiss the Sky #47 US, #41 UK
2014 Hello (EP) —
Year Song U.S. U.S. R&B UK NZ FRA NL Album
1998 "Daydreamin'" 6 5 6 3 — — Kiss the Sky
"Boy You Knock Me Out" (featuring Will Smith) — 68 3 12 32 77
1999 "Everytime" 118 73 20 — — —
Awards and nominations
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Caribbean Heritage Organization
2011: Recipient, Living Legacy Award
NAACP Image Awards
1996: Won, Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1997: Nominated, Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
2010: Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama – The Young and the Restless
2011: Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Love That Girl!
2011: Won, Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama – The Young and the Restless
2012: Won, Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama – The Young and the Restless
2012: Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Love That Girl!
2013: Nominated, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Love That Girl!
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
1996: Nominated, Favorite Television Actress – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Young Artist Awards
1991: Won, Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1992: Nominated, Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1993: Nominated, Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1994: Nominated, Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1995: Nominated, Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series – Name Your Adventure