Seasoned movie actress who has appeared in many acclaimed movies, such as Hustle and Flow, Baby Boy and Hidden Figures. She began playing Cookie Lyon on the FOX series Empire in 2015. The role earned her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama TV Series in 2016.
She attended Howard University, and in 2000, she debuted in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
She was nominated for her first Academy Award in 2008.
In 1994, she and her high school sweetheart, William Lamarr Johnson, welcomed a son named Marcell. In 2003, William was tragically murdered. She became engaged to longterm boyfriend and NFL player Kelvin Hayden in May of 2018.