A writer who evolved into a triumphant R&B performer and then a stage and film actress, Jill Scott grew up in Philadelphia and wrote lyrical, evocative poetry -- poetry that prompted her discovery by Amir, drummer of the R&B band the Roots. A studio collaboration between Scott and that band yielded the 1999 Top 40 pop hit "You Got Me"; afterward, in lieu of doing the expected by issuing her first solo recording, Scott first garnered legions of fans by touring across Canada in a powerhouse revival of the Jonathan Larson musical Rent; she then began issuing solo recordings in the summer of 2000. Scott's film career largely grew out of her music act, beginning as it did with solo performances in the 2005 Dave Chappelle's Block Party and the 2006 documentary Finally Sayin' What I Really Mean.... She segued into pure dramatic roles in 2007, with a pair of memorable performances -- one in the comedy drama Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and an outstanding turn as blues maven Big Mama Thornton in the coming-of-age period piece Hounddog. She returned for the sequel to Why Did I Get Married, and was cast in TV series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Scott continued to split her time between her singing and acting careers, releasing albums in 2011 and 2015 and appearing in films like Baggage Claim and the 2012 television movie remake of Steel Magnolias.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Released her double-platinum debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, in 2000.
- Named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001.
- Founded the Blues Babe Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to college-bound students in the greater Philadelphia area, in 2002.
- Released a book of poetry, The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours: The Poetry of Jill Scott, in 2005.
- Made her feature-film debut playing Big Momma Thornton in the controversial 2007 drama Hounddog.
- Founded Blues Babe Foundation, named for her grandmother, to assist students, both academically and artistically, in the Philadelphia area.