Tatyana Ali
Streamy Awards Photo 1302 (4513297565).jpg
Ali at the 2nd Annual Streamy Awards in 2010
Born
Tatyana Marisol Ali

(1979-01-24) January 24, 1979 (age 41)
Alma materHarvard University (2002)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)
Vaughn Rasberry (m. 2016)
Children2
Musical career
GenresR&B
Labels

Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress and singer best known for her role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1990 to 1996. She starred as Tyana Jones on the TV One original series Love That Girl!, and played a recurring role as Roxanne on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless from 2007 to 2013.

Early life

Ali was born in North Bellmore, New York on January 24, 1979, the eldest daughter of Sheriff and Sonia Ali.[1] She is of Dougla (Afro-Panamanian and Indo-Trinidadian) descent.[2]

Career

In 1985, 6-year-old Ali began her acting career as a regular performer on the children's PBS educational program Sesame Street, appearing with jazz great Herbie Hancock in a musical number during her tenure. She also appeared in two episodes of Star Search, one of which featured her performance of a cover of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

She made her breakthrough in 1990 when she was cast as Ashley Banks on the television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a role she played throughout the series' entire run, from 1990 to 1996.

Ali's vocal talent was featured on several episodes of Fresh Prince in later seasons, prompting the show's star Will Smith to ask her if she would seriously consider pursuing a musical career. She ultimately decided, for the time being, to continue to concentrate on her acting career. In the series' final season, however, Ali performed several songs, and she began to be groomed for her musical debut, the culmination of which was her debut album Kiss The Sky in 1998. It was certified gold in early 1999, mere months after its release, and spawned the Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins-produced hit single "Daydreamin'," released July 21, 1998, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also appeared 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 on Smith's album Willennium on the track "Who Am I" with MC Lyte. She performed the title song "Sunny Valentine" along with Terrence Quaites for the indie film Rockin' Meera in 2005. 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 garnered coverage on the "What the Buzz" segment of ABC's World News Now. In January 2014, Ali released an EP titled Hello, whose first single was "Wait For It," which she performed on The Arsenio Hall Show on February 4, 2014.

Apart from her musical career, Ali continued to land roles in films such as The Brothers, Glory Road, and Nora's Hair Salon (and its sequel), among others. From 2009 to 2010 she produced and starred in the BET web series Buppies. She was on recurring status on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as Roxanne from 2007 to 2013.[3] Ali starred in the TV One original series Love That Girl! as Tyana (whose name was derived from Ali's given name). In 2013, she co-starred as Maya in the BET comedy Second Generation Wayans, alongside Craig Wayans and Damien Dante Wayans.

In 2011, Ali received the Living Legacy Award from the Caribbean Heritage Organization in Los Angeles.[4][5]

In July 2016, Ali sued Warner Bros claiming that the company stole her idea for the show The Real after she pitched the concept in December 2012.[6] The case was dismissed in February 2017.[7]

Personal life

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

She dated television actor Jonathan Brandis from 1995 to 1998.

In March 2016, Ali revealed that she was engaged to Dr. Vaughn Rasberry, assistant professor of English at Stanford University, whom she had met on eHarmony,[11] and they announced that they were expecting their first child.[12] She and Rasberry married on July 17, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.[13][14] The couple have two sons, born in September 2016[15] and August 2019.[16]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Eddie Murphy Raw Eddie's Sister Sketch Segment
1988 Crocodile Dundee II Park Girl
Wow, You're a Cartoonist! Child Cartoonist Short film; direct-to-video release
1997 Fakin' da Funk Karyn
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
Domino One Laeticia Richards
2006 Glory Road Tina Malichi
A Warm Place Clair Andrews Short film
2007 The List Cynthia
2008 Down & Out Short film
Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above Lilleana
Hotel California Jessie
2009 Mother and Child Maria
2010 Pete Smalls Is Dead Cocktail Waitress
2012 Privileged Talia
Dysfunctional Friends Alex
Home Again Marva Johnson
2013 24 Hour Love Simply
The Last Letter Jillian
Dear Secret Santa Jennifer
2014 The Divorce
Locker 13 Lucy
Comeback Dad Nima
2015 Fatal Flip Roslyn
November Rule Leah
2016 Second Sight Clara
It Snows All the Time Technologist
2017 The Good Nanny Monica Thorne
Wrapped Up In Christmas Heather Nash
2018 Doe Rachel
College Dating App Professor Savoy
The Reason Macey

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1985–90 Sesame Street Tatyana Recurring role
1987 Star Search Contestant Season 5
1989 Wally and the Valentines Jamaica Valentine Movie
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 Main role (147 episodes)
1992 Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Herself Episode: "The Nefarious Nobel Napper"
1993 Getting By Nicole Alexander / Vanessa 2 episodes
1994 Are You Afraid of the Dark? Laura Turner / Connie Turner Episode: "The Tale of the Quicksilver"
1994 TV's Funniest Families 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 Movie
1996 Fall Into Darkness Sharon McKay Movie
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 Boulevard of Broken Dreams Herself Episode: "Jonathan Brandis"
2007 On the Lot Herself Episode: "First Sight"
2007–13 The Young and the Restless Roxanne Recurring role; 53 episodes
2010–12 Love That Girl! Tyana Jones Lead role in seasons 1–3 (36 episodes)
2012 The Eric Andre Show Herself Episode: "Tatyana Ali"
2013 Second Generation Wayans Maya Main role (10 episodes)
2015 Key & Peele Heresa Episode: "Hollywood Sequel Doctor"
2016 Zoe Ever After Ashley King Episodes: "The Interview" and "Game Face"
2017 American Koko N'Shay
2017 Wrapped Up In Christmas Heather Lifetime Movie
2018 Fly Main cast (16 episodes)
2018 Hollywood Darlings Tatyana Episode: "Big White Lies"
2018 Fancy Nancy Bree's Mom (voice) Main cast
2018 Olive Forever Alison Episode: "Pilot"
2018 The Bobby Brown Story Jimmy's Mom Miniseries
2018 Christmas Everlasting Lucy Toomy Hallmark Channel
2018 Jingle Belle Belle Williams Lifetime Movie

Discography

Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
[17]
US
R&B

[18]
UK
[19]
UK
R&B

[20]
Kiss the Sky 106 47 41 6
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions
Title Album details
Hello[21]

Singles

List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[22]
US
R&B

[23]
BEL
[24]
FRA
[25]
IRL
[26]
NL
[27]
NZ
[28]
UK
[19]
UK
R&B

[29]
"Daydreamin'" 1998 6 5 3 6 3 Kiss the Sky
"Boy You Knock Me Out"
(featuring Will Smith)
68 56 32 19 77 12 3 1
"Everytime" 1999 73 20 4
"Wait for It"[33] 2014 Hello
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other appearances

Title Year Other Artist(s) Album
"Love The Way You Love Me" 1999 N/A More![34]
"Precious Wings" The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland[35]
"Who Am I" Will Smith and MC Lyte Willennium
"Getting Closer" Kel Spencer Wild Wild West
"Candy Girl" 2007 Kanary Diamonds Puro Fuego[36]
"Wanna Groove" 2009 Inverse So Far[37]
"Move It, Shake It" Just Matter and Nieve Love N' Dancing[38]
"Bathtub Gin" The Cherokee Rhythm Section
"Joy to the World" 2013 N/A Dear Secret Santa[39]
"Kiss the Sky" 2015 The Legacy of R&B Slow Jamz[40]
"He Loves Me" 2016 The Legacy of Nu Soul[41]
"Ghost Town" 2017 Music to Inspire
Caribbean Heritage Organization
  • 2011: Recipient, Living Legacy Award[4][5]
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 SeriesLove That Girl![43]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
Young Artist Awards