Jordan Peele

“One of the best ways to enter the conversation about race is through art.  If we can have a shared experience in a movie theatre, it gives us more of a basis for conversation.”

Jordan Peele (Born Feb. 21st, 1979) is a famous biracial American actor, writer and director.  He is well known for staring on the, Key and Peele Show, which ran on Comedy Central from 2012 to 2015 and for writing & directing the critically acclaimed horror film, Get Out, in 2017. Key and Peele won a Peabody Award in 2013 “for its stars and their creative team’s inspired satirical riffs on our racially divided and racially conjoined culture.” One of my favorite sketches on the show was called, “the substitute teacher” in which they poke fun of the way the suburban students’ names are pronounced.

The movie Get Out was enormously successful, earning over $250 million dollars worldwide, and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards in 2017.  It was even nominated for Best Picture.  Jordan Peele was nominated for Best Director and Peele won an Oscar in the category of Best Original Screenplay.  Peele described the movie as a “social thriller” where society itself is the villain.

Peele’s biracial heritage is African-American and Caucasian, as his mother was white while his father was black.  He was raised in New York, in a single parent home after his father unexpectantly died when Peele was only 6 years old.  In a recent biography, “Peele admitted that being biracial often made him feel like an outsider, such as when he had to place himself in the racial category of ‘other’ when taking standardized tests (he began selecting ‘African American’ as he grew older).  Some of his classmates didn’t believe his mother was white, and growing up he sometimes felt his voice sounded too ‘white.’”

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film