Aunjanue Ellis has never hidden her orientation, but only now the 53-year-old actor has the opportunity to declare it publicly. In a June interview DiversityThe King Richard star opened up about her bisexuality and how she subtly nods to the audience about it.
“How do you include it in a conversation when I talk about this film?”
At the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards in March, Ellis wore the word “faggot” on her red Dolce & Gabbana blazer. But she noted that the media representatives who were present at the event did not ask her about it. “I thought, ‘Why aren’t more people paying attention to this?’ And I thought they probably thought it said “Queen,” she joked to Variety. “Not that I expected any serious reaction or anything like that. One of my family members noticed it, but no one else.”
In the midst of awards season for her Oscar-winning film, Ellis revealed that the subject never came up in press talks, largely because she said it never seemed like the right time to reveal it. “How do you include it in a conversation when I talk about this film?” she explained that she handled the press for King Richard. “I’m not that kind of girl. My job was to talk about King Richard, the Williams family, these wonderful young women that I worked with, the incredible work of Will Smith on this film. I wasn’t going to say, “And by the way, in case you haven’t heard… ‘Because it’s artificial.’
Ellis shared that she has struggled with her weirdness since she was 8 years old. Although she has spoken openly about it with friends, family, and people she has worked with for decades, some have expressed “hurt” at her decision to now share it with the world. “I am in the process, my family and my community are in the process,” Ellis said. “… The way I live, among the people with whom I live, I publicly talk about it. I am very clear about my bisexuality. everywhere.”
Over the years, the seasoned Hollywood veteran has encountered a fair share of people who have expressed homophobic views when it comes to her sexuality, but she has always been clear about her position on the topic. “I said, ‘Look, I love you all. I value my relationships and friendships, work and other relationships with all of you, but you should know that I am bisexual,” Ellis recalls a group message she once sent. . “So when you say something when you felt your closest to me, it’s a queer phobia, you’re talking about me. And it hurts.”
Today, Ellis is focused on maintaining a more queer performance in the acting world so that people don’t have to endure what she did. She is currently development of a new project about voting and women’s rights activist Fanny Lou Hamer, which will highlight the queer people who participated in her activist efforts. “There aren’t many novels about black queer women,” Ellis noted. “There are characters, but the full experience of a black woman being gay or bisexual doesn’t exist, so we have to create it.”