Aunjanue L. Ellis was born on 21 February, 1969 in San Francisco, California, and raised on her grandmother’s farm in McComb, Mississippi. She attended Tougaloo College before transferring to Brown University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in African-American studies. She also studied acting with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh. During her years at Brown University,
She is an American film, stage, and television actress, and producer. She began her acting career in theater, and made her film debut in Girls Town. She later had leading roles in a number of independent movies, and co-starred in several mainstream films.
Ellis made her debut in a student play. She went on to study acting in the Graduate Acting Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Ellis is best known for her roles in films Men of Honor (2000), The Caveman’s Valentine (2001), Undercover Brother (2002), Ray (2004), The Express (2008), The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), The Help (2011). On television, she had regular role in the ABC police drama series High Incident (1996–97), and later co-starred in a number of short-lived dramas.
Aunjanue also had recurring roles on The Practice, True Blood, and The Mentalist, and played roles in a number of made for television movies, such as Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009) and Abducted: The Carlina White Story (2013).
Some of her most recent movies include; Pimp(2017), If Beale Street Could Talk(2018) just to mention but a few.