Ali, the oldest of three daughters, is Caribbean in heritage. Her mother, Sonia Moore, is an Afro-Panamanian of West Indian background from Panama and her father Sheriff "The Bomber" Ali is an Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) descendant from Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean is mixed all over, and her parents union enabled her to be fluent in English and Spanish. She can also speak some phrases in Hindi.
At the age of four, Ali began singing. She also appeared with Herbie Hancock on an episode of Sesame Street. By age seven, she won the Star Search television contest two times. Her breakthrough came when she was cast as Ashley Banks for the popular television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She sang on various episodes of the show. On one of the shows Ali sings Aretha Franklin’s "Respect" and the original song "Make Up Your Mind", Will Smith asked her if she seriously considered pursuing a musical career. Despite her singing ability, she concentrated on her acting career on Fresh Prince the next few years.
In the penultimate season of Fresh Prince, 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 there; and "Everytime", which was her third top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at #20. Also with Will Smith, she made an appearance in his album Willennium for the track "Who Am I" with MC Lyte.
As of 2005, she completed work on the film Glory Road and is recording her sophomore album. Ali also starred in the music video for Nick Cannon and Anthony Hamilton’s "Can I Live?" as Cannon’s mother. Ali signed a record deal with Motown Records in 2007 to record her new second album.
 Personal life
Ali once dated American actor, Jonathan Brandis, whom she co-starred with in the TV movie Fall into Darkness. However, he committed suicide in 2003.
She attended 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 from Harvard University
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