Kelvin Harrison Jr. is certainly an actor on the rise. While he is seeking out more and more acting roles, he is also a budding musician. What can’t this guy do? While Kelvin understands his role as a role model for young Black men in the industry, he doesn’t just want to be another pretty face on television or movie screens. He wants to be part of a sea of change in Hollywood that results in more diversity in television and movies.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. was born in New Orleans in July 1994. Both his mother and father are musicians. Kelvin initially found his home in music and Kelvin’s youthful talent led him to receive lessons from Jason Marsalis and even recording with Delfeayo Marsalis. Kelvin has even met multi-award-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.
The Start of Diversity in Action
As a young Black man in America, Kelvin couldn’t help but think about his role in his surroundings. One example of this is his former high school. Kelvin went to a private school called the Isidore Newman School. In interviews, Harrison has stated that he had a lot of trouble fitting in as he was only one of a few Black students in the whole school.
It was his experience in high school as well as many other settings that had Kelvin Harrison Jr. thinking about the diversity in the spaces in which he finds himself. Another period in his professional career where diversity came to the forefront of his mind was when he found himself playing slaves a few times in different movies. While he states that he felt that these roles are multifaceted, he wanted to present the Black experience in a more positive light.
A More Diverse Hollywood
Kelvin desired to highlight the Black experience that led him to a starring role in Chevalier, a movie about a Black classical music composer. Kelvin stated that he took the role to highlight some of the forgotten figures of the different eras of music. It was at this turn in Kelvin’s career that he went from small roles in prominent films to being a rising star in his own right.
As an actor, musician, and entertainment industry role model, Kelvin wants to be a shining light for younger actors and actresses who want to come after him. It is for this reason that he will always advocate for more diversity when it comes to the roles, screenplays, and directing opportunities for people of color.
We live in a world – in America, at least – where we are beaten down before we are celebrated,” he told Little White Lies of his roles in Waves and Luce in 2019. “As artists we can only try; Julius does it really well with dialogue, Trey does it with heart. It was a gift to be able to play both of those people; that taught me so much about my own experiences as a black person.
Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s Overall Contribution to a Diverse Hollywood
Kelvin Harrison Jr. wants to do his part to create more diversity in Hollywood. By choosing roles that highlight the best (and sometimes worst) parts of the black experience, Harrison wants to shine a light on himself as well as other industry professionals of color.