The J-Connection: Jurnee Smollett Credits Her Family, Especially Her Parents Janet & Joel For Her Succesful Career

Jurnee Smollett's parents Janet and Joel campaigned for civil rights in the Bay Area, where they actually met first time ever.

New York: American actress and social activist Jurnee Smollett was born on October 1st, 1986, in New York City, New York, to parents Janet Smollett and Joel Smollett.

Her father, Joel Smollett, was Ashkenazi Jewish, and her mother, Janet Smollett, is African-American.

Janet and Joel campaigned for civil rights in the Bay Area, where they met each other for the first time.

Janet was involved in the movement with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, and her first mentor was Julian Bond.

Joel & Janet married in their twenties and had four sons and two daughters;

Jojo (the firstborn), Jazz (the secondborn and first daughter), Jussie Smollett (the thirdborn), Jurnee (the second daughter and fourth born), Jake (the fifth child), and Jocqui (the youngest).

Joel and Janet both have the initials J in their names, so they decided to name all six of their children with names beginning with “J.”

Jurnee credits her family for her successful career. Though she adores all of her siblings, she is a little bit more close to Jussie Smollett.

Joel and Janet always motivated and supported their kids to pursue careers in the entertainment industry.

Additional Details On Jurnee Smollett’s Parents, Joel, And Janet

Janet’s devotion to being an activist for genuine causes is being passed down into her children’s genes, who often speak out for HIV/AIDS prevention, racial segregation, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

On November 25, 2023, Janet Smollett celebrated her 71st birthday with her family. The proud mother of six currently resides in California.

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Joel Smollett, a civil rights activist, was born in Russia on October 8, 1956. He spent his early years in Poland, and his family migrated to the United States when he was in his late teens.

Throughout his life, he put his best effort into raising all six children to improve their lives.

Joel, a supporting father, was not in the limelight as his children, but he is honored as the basic foundation of his family.

Today, his children are renowned on-screen stars who have already starred in various films and TV shows and have been marking their footprints.

Sadly, Joel passed away in early 2015 at the age of 58 after courageously battling with cancer. At his final moment, all of his family members were together to show their respect and love for him.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Jojo, Jazz, Jussie, Jurnee, Jake, and Jocqui Smollett starred together as siblings on the TV series On Our Own (1994).”
  • Jurnee Smollett has been an activist for HIV/AIDS since the age of seven.
  • Jurnee, in 2020, as the pandemic set in, filed a divorce from her husband, the musician Josiah Bell, after nearly 10 years of marriage. The two had a child together, Hunter (born 2016).
  • Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie published a cookbook in 2018 entitled ”The Family Table: Recipes and Moments From a Nomadic Life,” in honor of the food-centric traditions of their mother, who always made sure her family sustained even though their family moved 13 times across the US.
  • Unlike Jurnee’s other siblings, Jocqui Smollett does not like the limelight. He is into technology, real estate investment, and public speaking.


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