Harry Lennix is a distinguished film, television, stage actor and producer. For the last seven seasons, he has starred as Harold Cooper, Assistant Director of Counter Terrorism for the FBI on NBC’s The Blacklist. NBC recently announced that the series will return for a ninth season. Moviegoers know Lennix from his breakout role as Dresser in The Five Heartbeats, General Swanwick in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Commander Lock in The Matrix and The Matrix: Reloaded and the Oscar® winning Ray. It was recently announced that he will be seen as superhero Martian Manhunter in Zack Snyder’s eagerly anticipated Justice League and Snyder’s animated series Army of The Dead on Netflix. He is regularly seen on Showtime’s Billions.
A proud Chicagoan raised on the city’s South Side Lennix announced, this month, that he is creating The Lillian Marcie Center and AAMPA (African American Museum of The Performing Arts) an arts complex he calls “the Black version of Lincoln Center.”
In February 2018, Lennix made his off-Broadway directorial debut with A Small Oak Tree Runs Red at The Billie Holliday Theatre. The original production, first staged at Chicago’s Congo Square Theatre as part of their August Wilson New Play Initiative, was also directed by Lennix. The New York production was honored with the prestigious Audelco Award for Best Production.
Lennix made his Broadway debut in Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson’s Tony nominated Radio Golf. He has directed and appeared across the country in productions including Northlight Theater Company’s Permanent Collection at LA’s Greenway Arts Alliance later remounted at The Kirk Douglas Theater. He directed the stage version of Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, which received three NAACP Theater Award nominations and The Glass Menagerie for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company. He also starred in August Wilson’s King Hedley II at the Mark Taper Forum.
Lennix’s stage work earned him the first Ollie Award for his portrayal of Malcolm X at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and two Joseph Jefferson Citations for his starring role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Caught in the Act. In 2001, he was part of the first American company to be Invited to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the production of Cymbeline.
In July 2014, Lennix created Exponent Media Group, a movie production company he founded with longtime Chicago associate Steve Harris. Films completed include Troubled Waters, which was one of the highest rated films on BET Plus and H4, a fresh interpretation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV shot on the streets of South Central LA. The third film, Revival!, a retelling of the gospel according to John the Apostle, a joyful blend of Gospel fantasia, Broadway musical and historical drama starring Mali Music, Chaka Khan and Michelle Williams, premiered in Washington D.C. at The Museum of The Bible and opened in key markets Easter weekend, 2019.
Additional film credits include Emperor (2020), Timeless (2017), Needlestick (2017), Traveling Without Moving (2017) and Saint Mary’s Secret (2017), Spike Lee’s Chi-raq (2015), 72 Hours (2015), Romeo and Juliet in Harlem (2015), Back to School Mom (2015), Stand Down Soldier (2014), The Algerian (2014), State of Play (2009), Across the Universe (2007), the Oscar®- winning Ray, (2004), Barbershop 2 (2004), The Matrix: Reloaded (2003), The Matrix: Revolutions (2003), Love and Basketball (2000), and The Five Heartbeats (1991). Lennix received widespread critical acclaim and a Golden Satellite Award as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s Titus (1999) with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange.
He has appeared in the Golden Globe® nominated ABC series Commander in Chief as Chief of Staff to POTUS and starred as political activist Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in Showtime’s Keep The Faith Baby, winning a Black Reel Award, a Golden Satellite Award and a NAACP Image Award® nomination. Additional credits include Fox’s Dollhouse and House, HBO’s Little Britain, NBC’s ER, CW’s Emily Owens, M.D., and the critically acclaimed 24, among many others.
In 2017, Lennix was asked to donate his personal archives to Boston University’s Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center. The Center, which houses Dr. King’s papers, felt that Harry’s moral awareness, learned through his early training for the priesthood, exemplified a commitment to creating faith-based entertainment for an underserved audience. This is a topic he lectures on as a visiting professor as well.
In the 2016 and 2008 presidential election he served as a surrogate for Secretary Clinton, campaigning for her in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan. He has also campaigned for a variety of other candidates including Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous.
In 2019 he was named Ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and brings his message of early detection through PSA’s and public speaking. He serves as Spokesman for NOBLE, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and is an ambassador to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He is on the Advisory Council of Northwestern University, his alma mater, and is a board member of Reading Rescue, a training program for educators teaching reading skills to at-risk elementary school children. Lennix remains committed to a variety of programs in his native Chicago where he was an English and elementary school music teacher.
He is married to Djena Graves Lennix, a businesswoman. They reside in Los Angeles and New York.
ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE
“‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Actor Harry Lennix on Playing Martian Manhunter and the Joss Whedon Scandal” – Variety
“Martian Manhunter Explained: The Hero Hiding in Plain Sight in the Justice League Snyder Cut” – IGN
“‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ has a cameo fans have been waiting years to see. Here’s how it came together.” – Insider
“Harry Lennix says fans could get potential sequels to ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’: ‘I don’t think this is the end of the story’” – Insider
“How Martian Manhunter Ended Up in ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’” – The Wrap
“Who Is Martian Manhunter and What Does He Do? Inside That Snyder Cut Cameo” – Collider
“Harry Lennix says Zack Snyder was ‘ahead of the curve’ by introducing diverse heroes that were cut from the 2017 theatrical cut of ‘Justice League’” – Insider
“‘Harry Lennix wants a ‘detective’ Martian Manhunter story in the DCEU” – Monsters and Critics
“Episode 105 – Harry Lennix, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”” – CulturePop Podcast
Revival! began as a challenge. In all candor it has remained a challenge and, occasionally, even extended to the level of ordeal since it began. Imagine Christ as our contemporary, with a song in his heart that spoke to a real experience of a people in a situation similar to his own. There it was, then: an opportunity to bridge theology, art, culture, and modern technology.
To bring to bear all of our method, study, skill, and sacred obligation to a product for the people. A chance to imprint a growth industry in the media for a largely ignored demographic, devoutly loyal to their faith and already conditioned to support those endeavors that speak to their spiritual core.
Revival! can be, in itself, the equivalent of the fresh organic produce section in the Christian Marketplace. Something entirely new and urgently needed in a desperate time. The Gospels have always struck me as a love letter to the world from Jesus. We endeavor to make Revival! a love letter from the world to Jesus.
H4 translates Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays to contemporary Los Angeles to explore political struggles in the community. By killing a popular black leader, Henry hopes to cement his family’s political dynasty, but his reckless son, Hal, seems more interested in hijinks than politics. Will the “Prince of Watts” follow in the footsteps of his powerful father, or will he succumb to the criminal life championed by Falstaff? Performed in Shakespeare’s original language, H4 will appeal to Shakespearean aficionados and newcomers alike.
“Harry Lennix – In Conversation” – Tavis Smiley
“Harry Lennix of the ‘Blacklist’ keeping it busy“ – New York Amsterdam News
“‘Blacklist’ Actor Harry Lennix Launches Movie Production Company” – Variety
“‘The Blacklist’ actor Harry Lennix sees bright future for the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival” – Tampa Bay Times
“Harry Lennix Talks THE BLACKLIST“ – Collider
“Harry Lennix Puts His Career & Life in Perspective“ – HollywoodChicago.com
A MUSICAL EVENING WITH HARRY LENNIX
The HistoryMakers hosted A Musical Evening With Harry Lennix, a live program featuring singing, performance and storytelling from native Chicagoan and actor Harry Lennix and singer Terisa Griffin. Dr. Anita Blanchard severed as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event. The show included musical performances by Musical Director Terisa Griffin, Dee Alexander, Felicia Fields and Lynne Jordan as well as performances by local high school students and excerpts from The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.