Jenifer Jeanette Lewis (born January 25, 1957) is an American film and television actress and singer.
She is one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television and was dubbed a "national treasure" by TV Guide.com. She began her career appearing in Broadway musicals and worked as a back-up singer for Bette Midler before appearing in the films Beaches and Sister Act.
She delivered legendary performances as Tina Turner's mother in What's Love Got to Do With It and in The Preacher's Wife as the mother of Whitney Houston's character.
She starred opposite Matt Damon in Clint Eastwood's Hereafter. For director Tyler Perry, she created unforgettable characters in Madea's Family Reunion and Meet the Browns. In the movie Cast Away, she portrayed Tom Hanks' boss. In animated films, Jenifer's uniquely recognizable voice is adored by Disney fans worldwide in roles such as "Flo" in Cars and Cars 2, and as "Mama Odie" in The Princess and the Frog.
For six seasons, Jenifer portrayed "Lana Hawkins" on Lifetime's hit series Strong Medicine. She starred on the hit show Black-ish (ABC), where her hilarious portrayal of "Ruby Johnson" earned her a nomination for the 2016 Critics Choice Award.
She has also written two books: The Mother of Black Hollywood and Walking in My Joy: In These Streets.