Niatia Jessica Kirkland (born October 4, 1989), better known by her stage name Lil Mama, is an American hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. A rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, Lil Mama was also a talent show judge for seven seasons on America's Best Dance Crew. She experienced Billboard placement with the release of her debut album, VYP (Voice of the Young People), which spawned the hit single "Lip Gloss". She was also cast for the role of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, in the VH1 biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which aired in October 2013.
Lil Mama was born Niatia Jessica Kirkland in Harlem, in 1989. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Edward R. Murrow High School. Kirkland is the third child and eldest daughter of eight children. Being the eldest daughter of eight children, she acquired her nickname "lil mama". Kirkland faced personal and financial struggles at an early age. As one of eight children, she started to express herself artistically through poetry and dance. Her mother Tara, died on December 15, 2007 following a four-year battle with breast cancer.