Began singing in public at the age of 13 when she joined her church's choir.
Was a cheerleader in high school.
Made her film debut in The Color Purple (1985), in which she performed a solo rendition of "God Is Tryin' to Tell You Something."
Entered college intending to become a doctor, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. Shortly after graduation, however, she decided to pursue a career in show business.
Lived in Okinawa, Japan, from 1995 to 2001 with her then-husband, who was in the Marines. During their stay, she carved out a successful singing career in the area and appeared in two Japanese TV commercials.
Performed at Atlanta's Sambuca Jazz Café every week from 2002 until it closed in December 2010.
Volunteers with BookPALS, which promotes literacy to young children through storytelling activities.
Louis Stukes — Ex-husband
Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States (BS in Biology, 1983)
Birth Name: Wanda Maria Howell
Birth Place: Gastonia, North Carolina, United States