Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. (born July 23, 1994[1]) is an American actor. He began his career with small roles in the 2013 films Ender's Game and 12 Years a Slave. His breakthrough performance came as Travis in the 2017 horror film It Comes at Night, and in 2019 he gained wider recognition for his work in Luce and Waves. Harrison Jr. received nominations for the Best Male Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards for the former and the Rising Star Award at the British Academy Film Awards for the latter.

Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Harrison Jr. at the 34th Independent Spirit Awards in 2018
Born (1994-07-23) July 23, 1994 (age 26)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Years active2013–present

Early life and educationEdit

Harrison was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to musicians Shirlita and Kelvin Harrison.[1] He grew up in the Garden District and later moved to The Westbank.[2] He studied studio engineering and marketing, before moving to Los Angeles, California to pursue acting, where he began taking acting classes.[2] Harrison Jr. is also a skilled musician, mainly playing jazz and gospel on the piano, trumpet, as well as singing. He honed his harmonious skills while studying and recording with the famed Marsalis family.[3]

Harrison attended a private high school, where he was one of the few black kids in his class where he struggled to fit in.[4] He originally went to Loyola University New Orleans to major in studio engineering as his father felt he would excel in music. Harrison ultimately transferred to the University of New Orleans for film, with the goal of writing and directing his own films.[5]


In 2012, Harrison was initially cast as an Ender's Game, based on the 1985 novel. He was upgraded to day-player and got to interact with big names such as Viola Davis, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. Harrison credits Davis with making him take acting more seriously. Harrison then had a small role in 12 Years a Slave.[5] Harrison would later appear in an episode of WGN America's Underground and the 2016 remake of Roots, both of which were produced in his home state of Louisiana. That same year, the actor had a small role in Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation. Harrison was initially hesitant to participate in Roots in part because it would be his fourth portrayal of a slave and because he did not have fond memories of watching the original as a child. In retrospect, Harrison realized just how different the projects were.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
2013 12 Years a Slave Victim 2
Ender's Game Salamandar Uncredited
2014 Deluge Kareem Short film
The Flight of the Bumblebee James
2015 A Sort of Homecoming Eliot
Dancer and the Dame Kenny Basset
2016 The Birth of a Nation Simon
2017 Mudbound Weeks
It Comes at Night Travis
2018 Monsters and Men Zyrick ("Zee")
Assassination Nation Mason
Monster Steve Harmon
Jinn[6] Tahir
JT LeRoy Sean
2019 Luce Luce Edgar
The Wolf Hour[7] Freddie
Gully Jesse
Bolden Frankie Duson
Waves Tyler Williams
2020 The Photograph Andy Morrison
The High Note David Cliff
The Trial of the Chicago 7 Fred Hampton
2021 Cyrano Christian Post-production
2022 Elvis B.B. King Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Into the Badlands Jolyon Episode: "Chapter V: Snake Creeps Down"
2016 Underground Teenage Runaway Episode: "The White Whale"
2016 Chicago P.D. Michael Ellis Episode: "Justice"
2016 Roots Winslow Episode: "Part 4"
2016 Shots Fired Joey Campbell 3 episodes
2016–2017 StartUp Touie Dacey 12 episodes
2017 NCIS: New Orleans Cadet Lieutenant Commander Max Cabral Episode: "The Last Stand"
2019 Godfather of Harlem Teddy Greene Main role (season 1)

Music videoEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2016 "One Bad Night" Main character by Hayley Kiyoko

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
British Academy Film Awards Rising Star Award Waves Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Luce Nominated
2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Trial of the Chicago 7 Won


  1. ^ a b c Bergeron, Judy (May 29, 2016). "New Orleans actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. reclaims familiar role in remake of 'Roots' miniseries". The Advocate. Georges Media. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "COOLfeed Interviews with Actor: Kelvin Harrison Jr". Retrieved April 30, 2017 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "Rising Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. Shines Bright in Upcoming Reboot of Famed Historical Drama 'Roots'". Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Thompson, Martine (August 12, 2020). "Kelvin Harrison Jr. Is Ready to Go Inward". Bon Appétit. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Change, Kee (June 9, 2017). "SCREEN TEST: KELVIN HARRISON JR". Anthem. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 14, 2018). "'Jinn' Director Gets Personal With Teenage Identity Defining Film – SXSW". Deadline. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Hipes, Patrick (October 20, 2017). "Naomi Watts To Star In Psychological Thriller 'The Wolf Hour'". Deadline. Retrieved August 12, 2018.

External linksEdit