Paula Jai Parker is from Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, moved to New York City and played a number of clubs. Her reputation as a comedian earned her a place on the FOX comedy program "The Apollo Comedy Hour". She left to pursue a film career, taking memorable roles in the urban comedy, Friday and earned a Cable ACE Award for her role in Cosmic Slop.
Parker returned to television in 1995 in the WB television series The Wayans Bros. Throughout the 1990s, she appeared in several shows including The Weird Al Show and Snoops. Between television projects, she appeared in a number of films, including Get on the Bus, Sprung, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, 30 Years to Life, Cover, and She Hate Me.
In 2000, Parker voiced the sophisticated matriarch Trudy Proud in the popular animated series The Proud Family. Between voice sessions, Parker has continued to take supporting roles in films, in 2002's "High Crimes", 2003's Phone Booth and 2005's Hustle & Flow. She also starred in My Baby's Daddy.