American actress who is well known both for originating the role of Deena in Broadway's Dreamgirls and for playing the role of mother Dee Mitchell on the popular television series Moesha.
She was one of the youngest woman to graduate from Rutgers University, which she did at age 19.
She became an accomplished singer, earning a Tony Award nomination for her stage performance in Dreamgirls.
She married Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes in 2005 after previously being married to Eric Maurice for 11 years.
She played Brandy's mother in the long-running series Moesha.