Tatyana Ali

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Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali 03.jpg
Ali at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival
Background information
Birth nameTatyana Marisol Ali
Also known asTatyana M. Ali
Born(1979-01-24) January 24, 1979 (age 35)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
OriginNorth Bellmore, New York
Occupation(s)Actress, model, singer
Years active1985–present
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Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali 03.jpg
Ali at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival
Background information
Birth nameTatyana Marisol Ali
Also known asTatyana M. Ali
Born(1979-01-24) January 24, 1979 (age 35)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
OriginNorth Bellmore, New York
Occupation(s)Actress, model, singer
Years active1985–present

Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress, model and R&B singer, best known for her childhood role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.[1] Since January 2010, she has 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.

Early life[edit]

Tatyana Ali is the eldest daughter (she has two younger sisters) of an Afro-Panamanian mother[2][3] and an Indo-Trinidadian father.[3]


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", 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. She is also producing and starring in the BET web show, Buppies. She is currently on recurring status on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as Roxanne.[4]

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."[1]

"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."[1]

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. [1][5] In 2012, Ali appeared as a guest on The Eric Andre Show.[6] 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.

Personal life[edit]

Ali attended Harvard University where she received a bachelor's degree in African-American studies and government in 2002.[7] She traveled the United States as a spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and headed voter registration drives at college campuses. .[8][9] In 2012, she continued showing her support.[10]

Ali was in a relationship with the actor Jonathan Brandis for nearly six years.[11][12]



1987Eddie Murphy RawEddie's SisterSketch Segment
1988Crocodile Dundee IIPark Girl
1988Wow, You're a Cartoonist!Child CartoonistShort film; direct-to-video release
1997Fakin' da FunkKaryn
1997Kiss the GirlsJanell Cross
1998The Clown at MidnightMonica
2001The BrothersCherie Smith
2003National Lampoon Presents Dorm DazeClaire
2004Nora's Hair SalonLilleana
2005Back in the DayAlicia Packer
2005Domino OneLaeticia Richards
2006Glory RoadTina Malichi
2006A Warm PlaceClair AndrewsShort film
2007The ListCynthia
2008Down & OutShort film
2008Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut AboveLilleana
2008Hotel CaliforniaJessie
2009Mother and ChildMaria
2011Love That Girl!Tyana
2012Dysfunctional FriendsAlex
2012Home AgainMarva Johnson
201324 Hour LoveSimply
2013The Last LetterJillian
2014Locker 13Lucy


Sesame StreetTatyana4 episodes
1989Wally and the ValentinesJamaica ValentineSpecial
1989A Man Called HawkMichelleEpisode: "Life After Death"
1989The Cosby ShowGirlEpisode: "Shall We Dance?"
1990–96The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirAshley Banks144 episodes
1993Getting ByNicole AlexanderEpisode: "Turnabout Dance"
1994Are You Afraid of the Dark?Laura Turner/Connie TurnerEpisode: "The Tale of the Quicksilver"
1994TV's Funniest FamiliesHerself as a HostSpecial
1995In the HouseAshley BanksEpisode: "Dog Catchers"
1996Living SingleStephanie JamesEpisode: "Whatever Happened to Baby Sister?"
1996Kidz in the WoodRita
1996Fall Into DarknessSharon McKay
1997413 Hope St.KaiEpisode: "Heartbeat"
2002FastlaneShellyEpisode: "Girls Own Juice"
2003Half & HalfOliviaEpisode: "The Big Condom-nation Episode"
2007On the LotGirlEpisode: "11 Cut to 10 & 10 Directors Compete"; segment: "First Sight"
2007–13The Young and the RestlessRoxanneRecurring; 43 episodes
2010–12Love That Girl!Tyana JonesLead role
2012The Eric Andre ShowHerselfEpisode: "Tatyana Ali"
2013Second Generation WayansMaya
2013Dear Secret SantaJenniferMovie
2014The DivorceMovie



1998Kiss the Sky(#47 US, #41 UK)
2014Hello (EP)-


YearSongU.S.U.S. R&BUK[13]NZ[14]FRA[15]NL[16]Album
1998"Daydreamin'"6563Kiss the Sky
"Boy You Knock Me Out" (featuring Will Smith)683123277

Awards and nominations[edit]

NAACP Image Awards
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
Young Artist Award
YoungStar Award
Caribbean Heritage Organization



  1. ^ a b c d e Ofole-Prince, Samantha (August–September 2011). Wheaton, Robert, ed. "The talented Ms. Ali:an interview with Tatyana". CaribPress Newsmagazine (Los Angeles): 5. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  2. ^ Castillo, Amaris (October 17, 2011). "Tatyana Ali On the Pressures of Being the Star of a TV Show". Latina Magazine. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  3. ^ a b November 23, 1998. "Tatyana Ali Attends Harvard University; Enjoys flourishing Music Career". Jet Magazine. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  4. ^ "The Young and the Restless" Episode #1.8728 (2007)
  5. ^ a b Wheaton, Robert (August–September 2011). Wheaton, Robert, ed. "Caribbean Heritage Salute in Hollywood". CaribPress Newsmagazine (Los Angeles): 21. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  6. ^ "The Eric Andre Show: Tatyana Ali Interview". YouTube. June 5, 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tatyana Ali Shares Her Black Experience at Harvard University". BET. December 12, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Tatyana Ali wants young people to know their voice counts". 9news.com. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  9. ^ Baker, Mike (2008-04-09). "NC Voter Registrations Surge". seattletimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  10. ^ Wakhisi, Tsitsi D. (2012-11-01). "Early voting a hit in South Florida". sfltimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  11. ^ http://www.famousdead.com/jonathan-brandis/. Retrieved July 23, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Jewel, Dan. "Young Love". Time Inc. 
  13. ^ The Official Charts Company. ali/ "TATYANA ALI - The Official Charts Company". TheOfficialCharts.com. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "– New Zealand charts portal". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung (1999-03-13). "Les charts français". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "– Dutch charts portal". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  17. ^ "44th NAACP Image Awards Full List of Nominees". NAACP. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Being a Black Latina". Retrieved 20 December 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]