- After high school, left her hometown of Brooklyn to continue her studies in Los Angeles, and landed a job as a dancer on Soul Train.
- Discovered in a nightclub by director Spike Lee, who launched her movie career with his 1989 hit Do the Right Thing. She initially turned down his offer for a part in the film.
- Choreographed the Fly Girls on the popular sketch comedy show In Living Color.
- Produced and directed Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu to sepas! (I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!), a 2006 documentary that examines her Puerto Rican heritage.
- Artistic board member of Working Playground, an arts education program that partners with New York City schools.
- A longtime AIDS activist, she was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2010.
- 1993, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 1992, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Choreography: Nominee
- 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Achievement in Choreography: Nominee
- 1994, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Choreography: Nominee
- 2009, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
- Lydia Pérez — Mother
- Sixto Ramos — Cousin
- Ventura Pérez — Stepfather
- Seth Zvi Rosenfeld — Ex-husband
- Eric Haze — Husband
- Ismael Serrano — Father
- Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California, United States