D'Atra Hicks (born Deitra Hicks; December 27, 1967) is an American actress and singer. She began singing at the tender age of four in New Bethel Way of the Cross Church of Christ where the late Bishop James H. Hicks was the founding pastor and is now under the pastoralship of Elder Percy Hicks. D'Atra got her first level of training in singing in the church choirs and soon became the soloist for the church. Ms. Hicks then went on to expand vocally in the High School of Music and Art in New York City.
While attending the high school, she learned about the longest running off-Broadway show, Mama, I Want to Sing. As she viewed the play, she was totally blown away by it and went to audition. She got the part and began to travel on tour with the play, in which she was with for seven years. She went on to play the leading role of Doris Winter; the ministers headstrong teenage daughter, who sings her way out of the church choir and into big-time pop stardom. This role caught the eye of Bruce Lunval, President of Capital Records, who immediately signed her during intermission. Soon after, D'Atra released her self-titled debut album, and her first single Sweet Talk went to number four on the billboard charts, including sell-out tours in Japan for her album and Mama, I Want to Sing.
Hicks is best known for her role as Jackie Simmons in Tyler Perry's 2002 stage play Madea's Family Reunion. Hicks has also performed as Nurse Trudy in the 2006 stage play What's Done in the Dark and as Niecy in the 2009 play Laugh to Keep from Crying.
Born in Harlem, Hicks began performing in her grandfather's church choir as a child. In her early teens, Hicks and her older sister Miriam formed a singing group "The Hicks Sisters" and eventually cut a demo. The duo's demo caught the attention of Broadway producers of the stage play Mama I Want To Sing! were impressed by Hicks' voice. In late 1985, Hicks was offered the lead role of Doris Winter in the play, in which she portrayed from April 1986 until 1990. The play eventually became the most successful off-Broadway black musical in theatrical history.
During her time on Broadway, Hicks received a solo deal with Capitol Records in 1989. Hicks released her self-titled debut album under the Capitol label on September 9, 1989. With production contributions from Narada Michael Walden and Nick Martinelli, Hicks' album debuted at number sixty-three and sat ten weeks on the Top R&B Albums chart. Hicks later scored roles in Tyler Perry's stage plays including Madea's Family Reunion, What's Done in the Dark.