Rosa Perez (born September 6, 1964) is an American actress, choreographer and activist. Her breakthrough came with her portrayal of Tina in the film, Do the Right Thing (1989), which she followed with White Men Can’t Jump (1992). Perez’s performance in Fearless (1993) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades.
Perez earned three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for In Living Color (1990–1994), and another Emmy nomination for her work in The Flight Attendant (2020–present). She has performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. She was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season.
Perez was born on September 6, 1964, in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, to Lydia Pérez and Ismael Serrano, a merchant marine seaman. Lydia (née Fontañez y Reyes) was born October 13, 1939, in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Her father was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Her mother was married to a man 20 years her senior, Arturo Pérez, and already had five children when she became pregnant with Rosie after having an affair with Serrano. Perez was born at the now-closed Greenpoint Hospital in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Perez is one of ten children born by her mother. Rosie and her siblings grew up in Bushwick while their mother was intermittently jailed. Her mother gave birth to her youngest child while incarcerated. She was for a time raised by an aunt and then, like her siblings, went through group homes and foster care. She and her siblings were often split up. She was then transferred to a group foster home and lived in foster care in New York and Peekskill until age eight, and was still legally considered a ward of the State of New York until age twelve. Her mother and aunt frequently visited, and her father made an unsuccessful custody bid at one point. When she was in third grade, Perez learned that she had a speech impediment. She had a strict Catholic upbringing, which she has credited to the influence of the nuns during her childhood. She eventually moved in with paternal aunt, Ana Dominga Otero Serrano-Roque, and attended Grover Cleveland High School, in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens. Her mother died of AIDS-related complications in 1999. When her mother died she was living in poverty in the Woodside houses.