Celebrating Black History Month: Jay Ellis
Jay Ellis is a television and film actor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Born in Fort Sumter, S.C., Ellis spent the majority of his childhood traveling with his military family.
He graduated Suma Cum Laude from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he was student body president and played basketball.
Ellis made his first television appearance on the BET series “The Game” after moving to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for acting.
Over the years Ellis has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors and producers and has been featured in countless shows.
Ellis may be best known for his role as Lawrence on HBO’s popular comedy series “Insecure.”
Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the show follows Issa, a young African-American woman who navigates growing pains and insecurity situations in Los Angeles.
Lawrence is her live-in unemployed boyfriend who faces his own expectations for himself and his success and happiness.
Ellis was nominated for a 2018 NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Supporting Actor” in a Comedy Series.
His previous work includes roles on “Masters of Sex,” “Grace and Frankie,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “NCIS.”
Ellis can be seen on the big screen in Top Gun: Maverick and in the lead role in the horror film Escape Room (2019).
In 2016, Ellis served as the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Spokesman. The HIV/AIDS Awareness Days is a project of the Community Capacity Building Coalition and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In December 2016, Ellis was requested by the Obama administration to speak and moderate a panel at the White House for the final My Brother’s Keeper summit, an initiative that addresses opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color.
He is an active volunteer at Inside Out Writers, an organization that teaches creative writing classes in Los Angeles County Detention Centers.