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Tatyana Ali

Tatyana Ali at the U.S. Presidential Inauguration (2009)
Background information
Birth name Tatyana Marisol Ali
Also known as Ty, Taty
Born January 24, 1979 (1979-01-24) (age 30)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Origin North Bellmore, New York, U.S.
Genres R&B, Soul, Dance-pop
Occupations Actress
Years active 1985 — present (actress)
1997 — present (singer)
Labels MJJ/Work/SME Records
Associated acts Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro

Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress and R&B singer, best known for her role as Ashley Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.


Early life

Ali was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 24, 1979. Her mother Sonia was a nurse and is of Afro-Panamanian descent. Her father Sheriff is of Trinidadian descent. She has two younger sisters, Anastasia and Kimberly. She attended Saw Mill Road Elementary School and Grand Avenue Junior High School in Bellmore, New York, Marymount High School in West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, and The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California. In 2002, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Government and African American Studies from Harvard University.[1]


By the age of six, Ali had begun her acting career. She was a regular child performer on Sesame Street starting in 1985, even appearing with Herbie Hancock in a musical number. She also appeared on Star Search two times. 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 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 in 1995–1996, 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'", produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, which peaked at #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 #3 and is her biggest hit to date; and "Everytime", which was her third top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at #20. She made an appearance in Smith's album Willennium for the track "Who Am I" with MC Lyte.

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 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 is currently preparing to release her second album, which she describes as "an independent effort".[2] The album is titled "The Light". Much of the album's production was being handled by famed Tupac Shakur's producer Johnny "J".

She is also producing and starring in the web show, Buppies.

She is currently on recurring status on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless as Roxanne.[3]

Personal life

Ali dated the late American actor Jonathan Brandis from 1995 to 1998,[1] with whom she co-starred in the TV movie Fall Into Darkness.

Ali traveled the United States as a spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign. Ali headed voter registration drives at college campuses, including many historically black colleges and universities.


Year Film 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 II Lilleana
Hotel California Jessie
2009 Mother and Child Maria
2010 Privileged Talia awaiting release
Locker 13 Lucy awaiting release
The Misguided Adventures of Dating in Hollywood Troi pre-production
Year Title Role Notes
1985, 1990 Sesame Street Tatyana 4 episodes
1989 Wally and the Valentines Jamaica Valentine TV-Special
A Man Called Hawk Michelle Episode: Life After Death
The Cosby Show Girl Episode: Shall We Dance?
1990–1996 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Ashley Banks 133 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
TV's Funniest Families Host TV-Special
1995 In the House Ashley Banks Episode: Dog Catchers
1996 Living Single Stephanie James Episode: Whatever Happened to Baby Sister?
Kidz in the Wood Rita TV-Movie
Fall Into Darkness Sharon McKay TV-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 On the Lot Girl Episode: 11 Cut to 10 & 10 Directors Compete
Segment: First Sight
2007–present The Young and the Restless Roxanne



Chart Performance

Year Song U.S. U.S. R&B UK NZ[4] FRA[5] NET[6] Album
1998 "Day Dreamin'" 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
"Kiss the Sky" (featuring Marion) 9
2008 "It's All Right" The Light

Awards and nominations

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

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

  • 1996: Nominated, "Favorite Television Actress" - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Young Artist Award

  • 1991: Won, "Best Young Actress Starring in a New 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"

YoungStar Award

  • 1997: Won, "Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series" - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


External links

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