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Jay Ellis

Attend an evening with actor Jay Ellis during OSU’s 2023 MLK Celebration

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Media Contact: Jillian McGee | Digital Communications Specialist | 405-744-6263 |

LA-based actor, writer, director and producer Jay Ellis is set to take the stage at 6 p.m., Jan. 19, at The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts for Oklahoma State University’s 2023 MLK Celebration. This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. 

Inside OSU’s Meghan Robinson will host a Q&A with Ellis sponsored by OSU Speakers Board.

Ellis might be based in L.A., but he has roots in Tulsa where he attended high school and played football at Metro Christian Academy and eventually became a basketball standout for Booker T. Washington High School. 

Ellis played ‘Lawrence’ on HBO’s critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated seriesInsecure,” created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore. Most recently, he starred alongside Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick.” He also starred in the Sony thriller “Escape Room.”

He is an owner of Black Bar Mitzvah, a production company that has set up TV and film projects at Hulu, BET, AMC, Viacom, FX, HBO, MRC, Netflix, Sony, Escape Artists, Endeavor Content and Amazon. Their feature “Black Box,” also produced by Blumhouse, premiered on Amazon and became its sixth most-streamed film of 2020. 

Ellis won a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He also served as the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Spokesman.

“When planning this year's MLK celebration, it was important to consider students’ perspectives. Student leadership worked to identify a speaker with a message of inclusivity who would be recognized through their work,” said Dr. Leon McClinton Jr., OSU director of Housing and Residential Life. 

“We look forward to welcoming film and television actor Jay Ellis to share his compelling story and how the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. impacted his career. We are excited to welcome the Cowboy family and Stillwater community to share in this opportunity to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.”

The OSU community will join with the broader Stillwater community and Stillwater United for an MLK Day March from 2-3 p.m. on Jan. 16. OSU student Brittanie Cannon will sing in front of the Spears School of Business before the march and OSU student Tré Smith will deliver a keynote address on the steps of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts after the march.  

OSU’s MLK Celebration includes a student art contest and an essay contest, which consists of $3,000 in total prize money. OSU’s 2023 MLK Celebration committee also invites participants to sign up for the community service project at the Family Resource Center. For more information about these contests and other MLK events at OSU, visit

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