Tatyana Marisol Ali was born on January 24, 1979 in Long Island, New York to parents Sonia and Sheriff Ali. Both of her parents are of Afro-Caribbean descent, and her mother worked as a nurse. Ali has achieved success in many different areas including acting, singing, and politics.
Ali already achieved success in acting at the age of six, when she was a regular child performer on Sesame Street, beginning in 1985. She appeared on Star Search twice as well, and finally got her breakthrough role in 1990.
In 1990, Ali was cast as Ashley Banks for the new sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, alongside successful rapper and future world-renowned actor Will Smith. This sitcom vaulted her to a national stage, as it became a very popular show that ran for six seasons. The show continued to gain traction, as it was syndicated and continues to run ABC Family to this day.
Ali sang in a few episodes of the show and she was approached by Will Smith asking if she wanted to seriously pursue her musical career. She decided to put the music on hold and focus on her role on the show. However, when the show ended, Ali started focusing on her musical career.
The culmination of this was her album Kiss The Sky, which was certified gold in 1999. Her largest hit in the United States was "Daydreamin," which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. She achieved more success in the United Kingdom, with the song "Boy You Knock Me Out" reaching #3 in the country.
After this success, Ali took a step back from performing and acting to pursue something very important to her. Ali enrolled at the very prestigious Harvard University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and African American studies in 2002.
Her education and proactive nature at Harvard, heading voter registration drives at various college campuses, allowed Ali to travel the United States as a spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Ali has been active in the entertainment industry recently, starring in the movie Locker 13, which won the 2009 Jury Award at the Atlanta Film Festival. She also has a recurring role as Roxanne on the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
As far as Ali's musical career, she is currently working on releasing her second album and will be titled "The Light." The album will boast production from Tupac Shakur's famed producer Johnny "J".
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