Essence Uhura Atkins (born February 7, 1972) is an American actress. She is best known for the roles of Dee Dee Thorne on the UPN sitcom Half & Half and as Yvette Henderson on the The WB sitcom Smart Guy. She is currently starring in the TV series Are We There Yet? as Suzanne Kingston-Persons.
Atkins was born in Brooklyn, New York. Jeffery Atkins currently located in Yonkers, NY is her biological father.
Atkins has appeared in a variety of movies and TV shows, including How High, Deliver Us from Eva, Family Matters, Sister Sister, and The Cosby Show. One of her television roles was in the Saved by the Bell spin-off, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. She appeared in the pilot, but when Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, a regular from the original, opted to return, Atkins's character was written out. She also had a main role in Smart Guy as the older sister Tasha Yvette Henderson, as well as the starring role of Dee Dee Thorne in the series Half & Half, playing half-sister to Rachel True's character.
In September 2009, Atkins married collegiate football free safety Jaime Mendez, whom she met through the online dating service Match.com. Her Half and Half co-star Valarie Pettiford performed during the reception. Atkins gave birth to a boy named Varro Blair Mendez on December 25, 2011.