Jurnee Smollett Bell
Jurnee Smollett-Bell is an award-winning actress and activist of rare talent and conviction. She was most recently seen on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, “Parenthood,” for it’s 5th season and concurrently co-starring in HBO’s “True Blood”.
Jurnee will be seen starring in the already critically-acclaimed WGN series, “Underground,” which is set to debut early 2016.
She also co-stars alongside Robert DeNiro, Edgar Ramirez and Usher in the much-anticipated motion picture, “Hands Of Stone,” due early in the New Year. She also starred in Tyler Perry’s 2013 film “Temptation.” The film was Perry’s biggest grossing box-office hit outside of his “Madea” brand.
Jurnee was seen in the last two seasons of NBC’s Emmy Award Winning series,
“Friday Night Lights” alongside Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. Shortly thereafter, she starred opposite Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell in CBS’, “The Defenders.”
Smollett-Bell starred in “The Great Debaters” with Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington, who also directed the drama. In addition to receiving rave reviews, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture and Jurnee won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture. She made her breakthrough performance at the age of 11, starring in “Eve’s Bayou” opposite Samuel L. Jackson for which she won the Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Youth Performance and was cited by Interview Magazine as one of the five Hollywood stars to watch in the new millennium. Other film credits include starring in “Roll Bounce,” “Gridiron Gang,” and “Beautiful Joe” with Sharon Stone. Her past television appearances include roles on “House,” “E.R.,” “Strong Medicine,” “NYPD Blue,” and Jurnee closed out the 2009 series of “Grey’s Anatomy” with a performance that received critical acclaim everywhere.
Jurnee began her television acting career at the age of four with a recurring role on “Full House,” later reviving the character for a season of “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.” She followed by starring on the 1994-1995 ABC comedy “On Our Own” with her real life sister and four brothers.
In addition to acting and singing, Jurnee is an activist and the youngest board member of Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), a nonprofit organization working in the U.S and South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS, advance human rights, and educate and empower children orphaned by AIDS as well as other at-risk youth. Jurnee has been involved with ANSA since the age of 11 and in 2006, became ANSA’s pioneer presenter for Positively Speaking, a program of the Los Angeles Unified District HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit that brings people infected or affected by the disease into middle and high school classes to tell their own stories and lead discussions. She has traveled to South Africa through her efforts with ANSA, and met with Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, and Zackie Achmat as well as people living with HIV/AIDS and children orphaned by the disease.
In 2010, Jurnee completed an official U.S. mission for the U.S. State Department in which she was sent to Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa to conduct workshops with women and youth about activism, empowerment and HIV/AIDS. She also recently joined the board of the Children’s Defense Fund at the invitation of longtime mentor, Marian Wright Edelman.