King Richard star Aunjanue Ellis kicked off Pride Month by coming out as bisexual in a recent interview with Variety.
The actress says that while she has not necessarily been openly discussing her sexuality to the public, she has lived an openly gay life. Her friends and family already knew.
However, they let her know they were “hurt” by her decision to be open about her sexual identity.
“I am a work in progress, and my family and my community are works in progress,” Ellis told the publication. “I really believe that that is important to say because I’m not alone. We see people on the other side of it, where everybody’s good and fine: ‘Love is love.'”
Her loved ones were making reference to the actor attending the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards months back with the word “Queer” emblazoned in rhinestones on her sleeve.
“I’m very clear about being bisexual. I have a sweatshirt that says ‘Girl Bi’ that I wear everywhere,” Ellis said.
“There is an assumption made of me — a presumption made of me. Is it because I’m a Black woman from Mississippi? Is it because I’m older? I don’t know what the mechanics are that goes into them not processing, or them not just being able to believe that in the same way I am Black, I am queer,” Ellis said. “This is who I am.”
Ellis is on a mission to help open doors for more Queer, Black women in Hollywood.
“There aren’t a lot of novels about Black queer women,” she adds. “There are characters, but the full experience of a Black woman being gay or bisexual, it doesn’t exist, so we’ve got to write it into existence.”
We can expect to see a lot more of Ellis in the near future. Ellis was recently added to the star-studded cast of an upcoming musical film adaptation of “The Color Purple.”
The Oscar-nominated actress will star as Mama, who is Celie and Nettie’s mother.