We always knew Oscar-nominated actress, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, was a queen. But it wasn’t until 2022 that we learned Ellis-Taylor was a bisexual queen.

Two years ago in an interview with Variety, the King Richard and Origin star came out as bi. And though her closest friends and family had known for years, this was the first time she had shared her identity publicly. 

“The way that I live my life, around the people that I live my life around, I am public about it,” Ellis-Taylor said. “I’m very clear about being bisexual. I have a sweatshirt that says ‘Girl Bi’ that I wear everywhere.”

According to the pub, the actress knew she was queer since the age of 8. But her religious upbringing ultimately prevented her from truly embracing it, leaving her feeling alone.

“The solitude of that is so lonely, it’s violent,” she said. “It’s violent because you literally have to tuck and place so many parts of you to be acceptable, so people won’t run from you and don’t want to be around you. It was exhausting. That’s what childhood was like. That’s what adolescence was like. I knew [my sexuality], but there was no template for it; there was no example of it; there was no place for it, and certainly no forgiveness for it.”

It wasn’t until the age of 30 that Ellis-Taylor decided to hell with it, and claimed her queer identity.

In the years since, Ellis-Taylor has used her platform to advocate for more LGBTQ representation in the entertainment industry. 

Earlier this year, the actor called out her own movie, The Color Purple, for sanitizing it’s lesbian storyline… a baller move, if you ask us!

The Color Purple is a book about Black lesbians. Whether the choice was made to focus on that or not in the cinematic iterations of The Color Purple, it’s still a movie about Black lesbians,” Ellis-Taylor told Buzzfeed. “People can try to say the story is about sisterhood, but it’s a story about Black lesbians. Period.”

She continued, “What is hard for me is that when we have those spaces where we can honor the truth of that, we walk away from it. We suppress it. We hide it. We sanitize it. In the sanitizing of it, someone like me — knowing that The Color Purple is a book about Black lesbians — looks at that and thinks, ‘You’re sanitizing me and my friends, and other people who I love and adore. Why?’”

She’s also not afraid to call out her homophobic coworkers. In her interview with Variety, Ellis-Taylor recounted a story about a co-star voicing their concern with a character’s bisexuality (because god forbid someone be LGBTQ!).

 Instead of staying silent, the actress put their co-star in their place.

“I was like, ‘Look, I love y’all. I appreciate my relationships and friendships, working and otherwise with all of you, but you need to know that I am bisexual,’” she voiced. “So when you say things, when you have felt your most intimate with me, that are queer-phobic, you are talking about me. And it hurts.’”

In addition to speaking up for herself in the workplace, Ellis-Taylor has long demanded for more Black, queer stories to be told. 

“This idea that we just decided to be gay two years ago, or 15 years ago, or 20 years ago is a lie,” she said.

“It is imperative that we see more (stories of Black queer stories), because it is the truth of who we are,” she says. “It is not a blemish on who we are. It is the wonderful scope of our humanity as Black folks in this country. It is something that I am insisting on, in what I bring into the world creatively.”

Tickle us pink, we can’t help but sing Ellis-Taylor’s praises and all she is doing for the community! By using her voice to call out homophobes and push for more LGBTQ+ and Black representation in film, the actress is making Hollywood more inclusive for all.

We can’t wait to see what she does next. Welcome to the Pride50!

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