Anika Noni Rose

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Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose (8281946306) (cropped).jpg
Rose at the 69th Annual Peabody Awards in 2010
Born (1972-09-06) September 6, 1972 (age 49)
EducationFlorida A&M University (BA)
American Conservatory Theater (MFA)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1998–present

Anika Noni Rose (born September 6, 1972) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for voicing Tiana, Disney's first African-American movie protagonist, as seen in The Princess and the Frog (2009). She was named a Disney Legend in 2011.

She is also known for her starring role as Lorrell Robinson in the Academy Award-winning film Dreamgirls (2006) and for playing LaVerne "Jukebox" Ganner in the Starz hit series Power. She is also known for her performances in theatre, particularly for her starring roles as Emmie Thibodeaux in the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change (2004), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Beneatha Younger in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun (2014), for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Early life[edit]

Rose was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut to Claudia and John Rose, a corporate counsel.[1] She began her acting career in high school, appearing in a school production during her freshman year. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in theatre from Florida A&M University, then studied drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California.


Early career[edit]

Rose moved to New York without a job. After three months, she played the role of Rusty in Broadway's Footloose. She followed Footloose with numerous workshops and two musicals using pre-existing song catalogs, Eli's Comin' Off-Broadway[2] and Me and Mrs. Jones with Lou Rawls in Philadelphia. Both of the full-scale tuners[N 1] were rumored for transfers, but neither made it anywhere after their limited engagements ended. Rose's big Broadway break was getting cast as Emmie Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change. In 2004, she was awarded the Theatre World Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress, and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Caroline, or Change. In 2010 she starred in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls with Phylicia Rashad and Janet Jackson. In 2014, Rose returned to Broadway in a revival of A Raisin in the Sun, receiving a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[4]

After her film debut, King of the Bingo Game, she played the role of Kaya in From Justin to Kelly in 2003 and she performed in Temptation in 2004, followed by Surviving Christmas as a singer in the choir. In 2006, Rose starred in Dreamgirls as Lorrell Robinson with Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy. Rose appeared in the films Just Add Water and Razor.

Rose also starred alongside Jill Scott in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency directed by Anthony Minghella.[5]

The Princess and the Frog[edit]

Anika Noni Rose is best known for her role in Disney's 2009 animated feature The Princess and the Frog, as the voice of the lead character Tiana; the character is Disney's first African-American princess. Rose also said at the time, “Not only is [Tiana] the first black princess, she’s the first American princess. So, the scope and the significance is larger than people even realize.”[6] Rose added that she hoped her role in the film would help affirm young brown-skinned children by seeing someone who looks like them in a Disney film. The film being released in 2009, the same year that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama entered the White House was completely coincidental, according to the creators. But several commentators noted how the coincidence reinforced the positive portrayal of African-Americans.[7][8]

Rose hosted a hometown screening of The Princess and the Frog for children from the Charter Oak Cultural Center, a non-profit multi-cultural arts center that provides free after-school programs in Hartford, Connecticut.[9] Rose's performance in the film garnered one nomination for an NAACP Image Award and three nominations for the Black Reel Awards. She won the Black Reel Award for Best Outstanding Voice Performance.

Rose was named a Disney Legend on August 19, 2011.[10] Rose said of the honor, "I always dreamed of being a voice in a Disney movie, but even in those dreams, I never once dreamed of being a princess... I feel like what an honor that this is and how the dream comes true, bigger and stronger than I had even imagined it."[11]

Upcoming Princess and the Frog ride[edit]

In June 2020, Disney announced that they would be reworking their flume ride Splash Mountain with characters from The Princess and the Frog. Anika Noni Rose said, "It's thrilling. People are amped and ready. I think it's awesome, particularly now, to be reinvigorating her story." Disney said the ride will take place immediately after the end of the film, and it will feature a Mardi Gras party. Rose also added that she would love for Disney to create a Tiana's Palace Restaurant at the theme parks. "I've been looking forward to a Tiana's Palace for years... I have dreams of them partnering with Café du Monde [a New Orleans based restaurant] on some real deal beignets, having some fantastic shrimp and grits and king cake during Mardi Gras season. And the occasional second line through the joint. Basically all the things I love!"[12][13][14]


In 2010, she played the role of Yasmine in the movie For Colored Girls. One critic described Rose's performance as "especially fierce".[15] From 2010 to 2013, Rose had a guest-starring role in the legal TV drama The Good Wife. She played the role of Sara Tidwell in the A&E miniseries Bag of Bones in 2011, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.[16]

In 2012, she guest-starred in "Gone Abie Gone", episode 3, season 24 of The Simpsons, voicing Abe Simpson's second wife, Rita LaFleur. The episode originally aired November 11 of that year.

Rose played the adult "Kizzy" in two episodes of television's Roots, an adaptation of the novel by Alex Haley and remake of the 1977 miniseries. Critic Alan Sepinwall, in suggesting Emmy nominees to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, called her "one of the best parts of the outstanding Roots ensemble."[17] She has a role in the Starz series Power and the leading role in the 2017 BET drama The Quad.

Bedtime Stories for the Littles[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020, Rose created a weekly series, where she read bedtime stories to small children in order to help ease their fear during the lockdown. Rose said, "I love reading to kids, and I wanted to give our little people something soft and soothing in this very jarring moment in time. I thought a bedtime story would be the perfect way. I can give my voice to the ones who know it best, without anyone leaving home."[18] She also said that she wanted to help children act silly, use their imaginations, and find a love of books that Rose said she had as a child.[19][20] As one of the stories in the series, Rose chose the Princess and the Frog book "Tiana's Growing Experiment."[21]


In 2020, Anika Noni Rose starred in the Netflix musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey playing Jessica Jangle.[22] Noni Rose applauded the film's portrayal of black and brown professionals in an English Victorian setting.[23]

In 2021, she played an affluent but unhappy lawyer who employs a young mother fleeing an abusive relationship in the Netflix limited series Maid.



Year Title Role Notes
1999 King of the Bingo Game Film Noir Female
2000 Leonard Bernstein's Mass at Vatican City Ensemble
2003 From Justin to Kelly Kaya
2004 Temptation Fog
2004 Surviving Christmas Choir
2006 Dreamgirls Lorrell Maya Robinson
2008 Just Add Water R'ch'lle
2009 The Princess and the Frog Tiana (voice)
2010 For Colored Girls Yasmine
2011 Company Marta
2012 Skyler Therapist
2013 As Cool as I Am Frances
2013 Khumba Lungisa (voice)
2013 Half of a Yellow Sun Kainene
2014 Imperial Dreams Miss Price
2014 The Blue Mauritius Makeda
2017 Everything, Everything Dr. Pauline Whittier
2018 Assassination Nation Nance
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Tiana (voice)
2019 The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Candace Wade
2020 Body Cam Taneesha Branz
2020 Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey[24] Jessica Jangle
2021 Injustice Selina Kyle / Catwoman (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2001 100 Centre Street Woman Episode: "Domestic Abuses"
2002 Third Watch Monay Episode: "Thicker Than Water"
2007 The Starter Wife Lavender Miniseries
2008–09 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Grace Makutsi Main role
2010–13 The Good Wife Wendy Scott-Carr 14 episodes
2011 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miriam Deng Episode: "Scorched Earth"
2011 Have a Little Faith Annette Television film
2011 Bag of Bones Sara Tidwell Television film
2012 Private Practice Corinne Bennett 5 episodes
2012 Elementary Dr. Carrie Dwyer Episode: "Lesser Evils"
2012 The Simpsons Rita LaFleur (voice) Episode: "Gone Abie Gone"
2013 The Watsons Go to Birmingham Wilona Sands Watson Television film
2014 Sofia the First Princess Tiana (voice) Episode: "Winter's Gift"
2014 A Day Late and a Dollar Short Paris Price Television film
2015–16 Bates Motel Liz Babbitt 5 episodes
2016–17 Power[25] LaVerne "Jukebox" Ganner 6 episodes
2016 Roots Kizzy Waller 2 episodes
2017–2018 The Quad Dr. Eva Fletcher Main role
2018 American Masters Lorraine Hansberry (voice) Episode: "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart"
2019 Avengers Assemble Yemandi (voice) Episode: "Yemandi"
2020 Little Fires Everywhere Pauline Hawthorne 2 episodes
2020 Magical Girl Friendship Squad: Origins Nut (voice) Main role
2021 Family Reunion Miss Karen Episode: "Remember Mazzi's First Love?"
2021 Them Ella Mae Johnson 3 episodes
2021 Maid Regina Main role
2021 Amphibia Dr. Jan (voice) Recurring role


Year Title Role Notes
2015–2016 Vixen Kuasa (voice) Main role
2017 Voltron: Legendary Defender Acxa (voice) 2 episodes; role recast with Erica Luttrell.

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Princess Tiana
2012 Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure


Year Title Role Venue Notes
1998 Insurrection: Holding History Katie Lynn American Conservatory Theater
Valley Song Veronica Jonkers Berkeley Repertory Theater
Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne His Soul Berkeley Repertory Theater
1999 Tartuffe Marianne American Conservatory Theater
Threepenny Opera Polly Peachum American Conservatory Theater
2000 Footloose Rusty Richard Rodgers Theatre
2001 Carmen Jones Cindy Lou York Theatre
Eli's Comin' The Woman Vineyard Theatre
Me and Mrs. Jones Cookie Prince Music Theater
2003 Caroline, or Change Emmie Thibodeaux The Public Theatre
2004 Eugene O'Neill Theatre
Ahmanson Theatre
2008 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Maggie "The Cat" Broadhurst Theater
2011 Company Marta Avery Fisher Hall New York Philharmonic concert
2013 Hamilton Angelica Schuyler Vassar College Workshop
2014 A Raisin in the Sun Beneatha Younger Ethel Barrymore Theatre
2018 Carmen Jones Carmen Jones Classic Stage Company

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 Obie Award Best Performance Eli's Comin' Won
2004 Clarence Derwent Award Best Supporting Female Caroline, or Change Won
Lucille Lortell Award Outstanding Featured Actress Won
Theatre World Award Theatre World Award Won
Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Dreamgirls Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture| Nominated
2008 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special The Starter Wife Nominated
Grammy Award Best Compilation Soundtrack for Motion Pictures, Television, or Other Visual Media Dreamgirls Nominated
2009 Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Nominated
2010 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture The Princess and the Frog Nominated
Black Reel Award Outstanding Voice Performance Won
Outstanding Original Song "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Nominated
Outstanding Original Song "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Won
2011 Outstanding Ensemble For Colored Girls Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Disney Legend Award Animation – Voice The Princess and the Frog Won
2012 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit[26] Nominated
2014 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play A Raisin in the Sun Nominated
2019 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Carmen Jones Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated


  1. ^ "Tuner": theatre parlance introduced by Variety trade newspaper.[3]


  1. ^ "Rose, Anika Noni",
  2. ^ Gutman, Les."ACurtainUpReview:Eli's Comin'" Curtain, based on 5/2/01 performance, accessed September 1, 2011
  3. ^ Variety slanguage dictionary, glossary "t".
  4. ^ 2014 Tony Award Nominations - The Complete List; A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE Leads With 10!, Retrieved May 5, 2014
  5. ^ Kimberly Nordyke (June 25, 2007). "Rose lands 'Agency' role". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  6. ^ "Meet Anika Noni Rose: Disney's First Animated Black Princess".
  7. ^ "Disney Debuts African-American Princess Heroine".
  8. ^ "NPR: Talking Race in Disney's Princess & The Frog".
  9. ^ Rodman, Sarah (December 6, 2009). "Wearing the crown". The Boston Globe.
  10. ^ "Photo Flash: Lea Salonga, Anika Noni Rose, Paige O'Hara et al. Honored at D23 Expo", August 20, 2011
  11. ^ "D23: Anika Noni Rose".
  12. ^ "What to Expect From Disney's New Princess and the Frog Ride, According to Star Anika Noni Rose".
  13. ^ "'The Princess And The Frog' Is Coming To Disney's Splash Mountain".
  14. ^ "What The Princess And The Frog Voice Actress Wants To See In Splash Mountain Redesign At Disneyland".
  15. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (November 3, 2010). "For Colored Girls". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  16. ^ Levine, Stuart (August 3, 2011). "Rose lands role in 'Bag of Bones'". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  17. ^ Alan Sepinwall, "These shows would make great Emmy nominees", June 14, 2016.
  18. ^ "Once Upon a Time: Tony Winner Anika Noni Rose Launches Bedtime Stories for the Littles!".
  19. ^ "Anika Noni Rose Wants to Help Children Find Their Love of Books Like She Had as a Child".
  20. ^ "Anika Noni Rose On Why She Decided to Start Her Weekly Bedtime Stories For the Littles!".
  21. ^ "Tiana's Growing Experiment, Storytime with Anika Noni Rose".
  22. ^ "How Jingle Jangle Forged a Showstopper with Musical Number 'Make It Work Again'".
  23. ^ "Jingle Jangle's Anika Noni Rose and Madalen Mills Explain their Deep Connection to the New Inspirational Christmas Film".
  24. ^ Netflix ‘Jingle Jangle’ Musical Adds Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose & Madalen Mills
  25. ^ "Anika Noni Rose: "Half of a Yellow Sun" actress joins TV series "Power"". Pulse Nigeria. Chidumga Izuzu. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  26. ^ "NAACP Image Awards Winner Include 'The Help,' Stars Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis". The Hollywood Reporter. February 17, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.

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