A graduate of the Tisch School for the Performing Arts as well as a published poet, Nicole Ari Parker began acting in small-stage productions in Harlem before landing her film debut in The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995). She would go on to appear in other independent features, such as The End of Violence, Boogie Nights, and 200 Cigarettes. She also began working in television, starring in a Rosie Perez-produced episode of Subway Stories and getting a reoccurring role on The Cosby Show. In 2001, she gained two NAACP Image award nominations: one for her work in the feature film Remember the Titans, and the other for her role as the lawyer Teri on the Showtime original series Soul Food. Parker would go on to play another lawyer a year later in the romantic comedy Brown Sugar, with Taye Diggs. In the years to come, Parker would find ongoing success with movies like Black Dynamite and Pastor Brown and tje TV series The Deep End.