The mother of In the House actress, Maia Campbell, she is also the New York Times bestselling author of What You Owe Me, Brothers and Sisters, and Singing in the Comeback Choir. Her novel, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, received the NAACP Image Award for Literature.
She studied elementary education at the University of Pittsburgh and subsequently moved to Los Angeles.
Her best-seller, What You Owe Me, was selected as the Best Book of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times.
She was married twice and remained with her second husband, Ellis Gordon, Jr., from 1984 until her death from brain cancer in 2006. She was the mother of a son and a daughter.
Her daughter, Maia Campbell, starred for five seasons on the UPN sitcom, In the House.