Lathan comes from a showbiz family. Her mother, Eleanor McCoy, was an actress and a dancer who performed on Broadway with Eartha Kitt. Her father, Stan Lathan, worked behind the scenes for PBS and was a producer on Sanford and Son and Def Comedy Jam. Lathan was born in New York City and attended Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics. Her first name means “brilliance” in Arabic and “work of art” in Swahili. She is of African American and Native American descent.

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She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English.  Lathan contemplated a career in law, but instead enrolled at the Yale School of Drama.

Lathan has earned a degree of recognition for her roles the movies:  Love and Basketball, The Family That Preys, Alien vs. Predator, Out of Time, Brown Sugar and more. She is currently starring in the new hit movie Contagionalongside Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne.

Lathan was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun. In 2010 she starred in the all-black performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London.

Source: Daily Prep and Wikipedia

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