Initially joined the amfAR board in September 2016. He serves as Board Secretary. He is active in HIV/AIDS causes and other initiatives to increase opportunities for young men of color and other marginalized groups.
Born in Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Mr. Ellis spent the majority of his childhood traveling with his military family. His father completed over 15 years of service in the Air Force while his mother was an accomplished finance executive and former board member of the Consumer Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Ellis graduated summa cum laude at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where he also played basketball and held the position of student body president. He interned briefly with the Portland Trailblazers and also joined AmeriCorps to provide care and resources to disadvantaged students of Portland.
This summer Jay can be seen starring in the highly anticipated Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise. He currently stars as ‘Lawrence’ on HBO’s critically acclaimed comedy series Insecure, which will come back for a fourth season in 2020. He can also be seen in the upcoming FX/HULU limited series Mrs. America starring Cate Blanchett. Mr. Ellis won the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2018, and Insecure was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Comedy Series” in 2017 and 2018.
In 2016, Mr. Ellis served as the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day spokesman. The HIV/AIDS Awareness Days are a project of the Community Capacity Building Coalition (CCBC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose mission is to provide capacity building assistance to community-based organizations and stakeholders involved in HIV/AIDS prevention. In December 2016, Ellis was requested by the Obama administration to speak and moderate a panel at the White House for the final “My Brother’s Keeper” summit, an initiative created by President Barack Obama to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
Film and television actor, activist and philanthropist. He lives with his family in Los Angeles, CA.