Skip to content

Jesse Williams: Accomplished Actor, Activist and Role Model

Full Name Jesse Wesley Williams
Birthday August 5, 1981
Age 42 Years Old
Height 6‘ 1"
Net Worth $12 Million
Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Jesse Williams is an accomplished American actor, director, producer and activist best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the hit ABC medical drama Grey‘s Anatomy. As a long-time fan who has followed his impressive career over the years, I‘m excited to provide an in-depth introduction to this multi-talented star!

Born on August 5, 1981 in Chicago, Illinois, Jesse has gone on to have an extremely successful career in entertainment while also dedicating his time to social activism and philanthropy. He is highly admired both for his acting talents and his passionate activism efforts.

Early Life and Education

Jesse‘s mother is Swedish-American while his father is African-American. He grew up in Illinois then later lived in Washington D.C. and Brooklyn, New York during his childhood. After graduating high school, Jesse attended Temple University where he double majored in African American Studies and Film & Media Arts. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor‘s degree in 2003.

During his time at Temple, Jesse became increasingly interested in social justice causes. For several years after graduating, he lived in Philadelphia and taught American studies and English classes to students in low-income neighborhoods. This valuable experience helped fuel his lifelong passion for education reform and youth empowerment.

Acting Career

Jesse‘s first major acting role came in 2008 when he appeared as Leo in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. After that, he landed minor guest roles in TV shows like Law & Order, Beyond the Break and Greek.

However, 2009 proved to be a real breakthrough year for Jesse‘s acting career. That year, he achieved his star-making role when he was cast as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC‘s hit medical drama Grey‘s Anatomy. His portrayal of the handsome, skilled surgeon quickly made him a fan favorite. To date, Jesse has received four NAACP Image Award nominations for his performance on the show, winning the award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in both 2013 and 2017.

Some of his other most noteworthy acting credits include starring as Holden in the 2012 horror film The Cabin in the Woods, playing civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson in 2013‘s Lee Daniels‘ The Butler, and appearing as Eddie in the 2017 indie comedy-drama Band Aid.

In 2016, Jesse made history when he became the first African-American man to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his powerful portrayal of Dr. Avery on Grey‘s Anatomy. His emotional acceptance speech addressing police brutality and racism resonated deeply with viewers.

With his undeniable acting talents and charismatic on-screen presence, Jesse has emerged as one of the most prominent and sought-after black actors of his generation. He has an exciting future ahead starring in additional films, television series, and more. As a dedicated fan, I‘m thrilled to continue following his blossoming acting career!

Activism and Philanthropy

Beyond his acclaimed acting work, Jesse has tirelessly dedicated himself to social activism, striving to raise awareness on critical issues like racial injustice, police brutality, and education reform. He is the executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, an impactful transmedia art project providing a platform for Black men from diverse backgrounds across America to speak openly about their lives.

Jesse has also partnered with scholarship app Scholly to help youth access higher education. He helped launch the influential #SchoolsNotPrisons social media campaign to promote education over incarceration, particularly for students of color. Jesse regularly uses his wide-reaching public platform and celebrity status to speak out on today‘s most pressing racial justice issues and advocate for progressive policies.

In 2016, he delivered a rousing speech addressing police brutality and racism at the BET Awards that earned him a well-deserved standing ovation. Jesse has additionally been closely involved with, a social justice collective focused on empowering marginalized communities through art, media and activism. He constantly strives to inspire youth to get actively involved with today‘s social issues and create positive change.

As an activist, Jesse has shown a deep commitment to justice that extends far beyond the entertainment world. His activism continues to inspire audiences around the globe. He represents the best of celebrity activists – someone dedicated to using their fame to spotlight injustice and lift up others.

Personal Life

Jesse resides in Los Angeles, California where he lives with his two young children, daughter Sadie and son Maceo. He co-parents with his ex-wife, real estate broker Aryn Drake-Lee, after finalizing their divorce in 2020.

While Jesse keeps his private life fairly low-key, I‘ve gathered from following him over the years that when he‘s not working, he enjoys sports, reading, traveling and spending time with his adorable kids. In interviews, he has expressed that his deepest personal desire is to leave behind art and activism that helps create positive change.

By all accounts, Jesse seems to be a devoted father and someone who values his privacy. Despite his immense fame, he comes across as down-to-earth and deeply introspective.

Why I Admire Jesse Williams

As a fan who has followed Jesse‘s career from the early days, there are so many reasons I deeply admire and respect him:

  • He‘s an incredibly gifted actor able to evoke raw emotion who continues to showcase impressive range.
  • He leverages his wide-reaching celebrity platform to promote social justice and raise awareness on important issues.
  • He uplifts and amplifies minority voices and perspectives through his art and activism.
  • He sets a positive example as a philanthropist and dedicated single father of two.
  • He encourages civic engagement and voting among youth to create change.
  • He leverages creative mediums like art, technology and media for activist purposes.

Overall, Jesse Williams represents the best of Hollywood – a celebrity dedicated to both entertainment and enacting positive change in the world. His lifelong commitment to justice and human rights is genuinely admirable. Jesse‘s passion for activism continues to inspire audiences globally. He is a role model for using fame as a force for good.

Fun Facts About Jesse

Over the years following Jesse‘s career, I‘ve discovered some fun facts about the star:

  • His middle name is Wesley
  • He has appeared in music videos for artists like The Cab, Demi Lovato and rapper Wale
  • PEOPLE Magazine named him one of 2015‘s Sexiest Men Alive
  • He has a writing credit for a season 13 episode of Grey‘s Anatomy
  • He co-founded a nonprofit called Advancement Project focused on racial justice issues
  • Jesse played basketball during his high school years
  • He has his own emoji app called Ebroji that promotes Black culture
  • Jesse supports charities like and Black AIDS Institute

Jesse Williams has certainly made his mark in Hollywood and beyond. At just 42, it‘s clear Jesse‘s acting career, activism and philanthropy work will continue impacting lives for years to come. As a loyal, longtime fan, I‘m excited to keep supporting Jesse‘s talents and passion for positive change. He is an inspirational role model and activist celebrity worth celebrating!