Rose to prominence portraying the character Jo Ann in the critically-acclaimed 2009 film Precious. She has since garnered popularity for her portrayal of Tamra on the sitcom The Mindy Project beginning in 2013.
She began acting while a freshman in high school. She later graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
She has appeared as a guest star on the TV series Nurse Jackie, Rescue Me, and Southland. In 2013, she appeared in the film G.B.F. as Caprice Winters.
Her first name is derived from the Xosha people of South Africa. She began dating actor Lakeith Stanfield, and they had a child in 2017.
She appeared alongside Mo'Nique, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her work, in the 2009 film Precious.