Tichina Arnold (June 28, 1971) is an American actress known for her roles on Martin playing Pamela James, as the mother, Rochelle, on Everybody Hates Chris and as Nicole on the sitcom One on One.
Arnold was born to a middle-class family in Queens, New York to a police officer father and a sanitation department worker mother. She attended the High School of Music and Art. She has a daughter, Alijah Kai, with ex-boyfriend Carvin Haggins.
Other roles Arnold is recognized for include Crystal in the big-screen version of Little Shop of Horrors, along with her future Martin castmate Tisha Campbell-Martin, and for two years as troubled-teen character Zena Brown on the daytime soap opera, Ryan’s Hope, and Sharla Valentine on All My Children. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Ryan’s Hope at the age of 16. Her most current role is playing the humorously censorious, strict, and sassy mother, Rochelle, in the Golden Globe nominated Everybody Hates Chris.
Arnold is also a raspy, powerhouse vocalist capable of dipping deep into the contralto range. Her vocals are featured on the soundtrack to the movie adaption of Little Shop of Horrors. In 1992, Arnold contributed background vocals to “Push”, a single from singer and fellow actress Tisha Campbell’s debut album. The two long-time friends also duetted in 1997 on a cover of The Emotions’ “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” from the soundtrack of the farcial comedy Sprung. Recently, she has lent her voice to several underground house/dance mixes which garnered her some popularity in the alternative club scenes of Los Angeles, CA.
With her starring role, as the mother and head of her family on Everybody Hates Chris, she and two of her friends/fellow vocalists pitched a possible theme song for the show. Although the song was ultimately not used for the series, an excerpt of the song in which Arnold and her vocalists sing the phrase, “Everybody Hates Chris” is heard at the end of every episode. During season one, another take of the excerpt was used at the end of every act-break before going into commercial. This was ultimately abandoned during the second season.
Arnold has her own company of designer headgear called “China Moon Rags“. Friends Vivica A. Fox, Tisha Campbell-Martin, LisaRaye McCoy, and Regina King have modeled and been seen wearing Arnold’s designs.