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Brandy

Actor / Singer

Born: 11 February 1979
Birthplace: McComb, Mississippi
Best known as:

The R&B singer who starred as TV's Moesha

Brandy Norwood was made her fame in the late 1990s as a teen pop singer and star of the TV comedy Moesha (1996-2001). Discovered by Atlantic Records when she was a member of a youth singing group, Brandy released her self-titled debut album in 1994, when she was just 15 years old. Heavy rotation on MTV made hits out of "I Wanna Be Down" and "Best Friend," and she popped up on the soundtracks for the movies Batman Forever (1995), Waiting to Exhale (1995, directed by Forest Whitaker) and Set It Off (1996, with Queen Latifah). Between 1996 and 2001 Brandy was the star of the television sitcom Moesha, while maintaining a recording career and starring in productions such as the TV movie musical Cinderella (1997, with Whitney Houston) and the feature film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998, with Jennifer Love Hewitt). Her second album, Never Say Never (1998) included the hit duet (with Monica) "The Boy Is Mine," which earned Brandy her only Grammy award (she has been nominated more than a dozen times). Her third album, Full Moon (2002) included the hit "What About Us?" and her fourth album, Afrodisiac (2004), received good reviews and was nominated for a Grammy as one of the year's best contemporary R&B releases. Her next album, Human, wasn't released until 2008 and spawned only minor hits. By then Norwood was overcoming a few bad years of press because of dramatic and confusing personal problems. She announced a pregnancy and secret marriage to Robert Smith, then divorced Smith, who said they'd never been legally married anyway. Her brother, rapper Ray-J, got involved with Kim Kardashian, and their "private" sex tape went public. Brandy's mom sued Kardashian for abusing a credit card. Worst of all, Brandy caused a four-car accident in late 2006 that caused the death of one woman (no charges were filed against Norwood, but she was hit with lawsuits). She picked up the pieces by appearing on the TV show Dancing With the Stars in 2010, eventually getting voted off in favor of Bristol Palin.

Extra credit:

Brandy's daughter with Robert Smith, Sy'rai Iman Smith, was born in June of 2002... The suit against Kim Kardashian (and her sisters) was dismissed in June of 2009. The story is that Brandy's mom, Sonja Norwood, accused the Kardashians, who were her stylists, of running up unauthorized charges.

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