Tatyana Marisol Ali (born January 24, 1979) is an American actress and R&B singer, best known for her childhood role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Currently, she stars as Tyana Jones on the TV One original sitcom Love That Girl!, and has a recurring role as Roxanne on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.
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 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 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'", released July 21, 1998, 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.
Along with her musical career, Tatyana 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 is currently preparing to release her second album, which she describes as "an independent effort". The album is titled The Light. Much of the album's production was being handled by famed Tupac Shakur's producer Johnny "J".
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.
Ali currently 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, Tatyana said in a recent 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."
Tatyana also starred in Nora's Hair Salon and Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above.
In 2011, Tatyana received the Living Legacy Award from the Caribbean Heritage Organization in Los Angeles