Jurnee Smollett-Bell was born on October 1, 1986 in New York City. She is the daughter of Janet Harris and Joel Smollett. Smollett-Bell’s mother is African American and her father is Jewish whose family immigrated from Russia and Poland. She is the fourth child of her six performing siblings. She has one sister, Jazz, and four brothers named Jussie, JoJo, Jack, and Jocqui. On October 24, 2010, she married musician Josiah Bell and on October 31, 2016, the couple welcomed their first born son.
Smollett-Bell began her career as a child actress appearing in recurring roles on ABC family sitcoms, Full House and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. She co-starred with her siblings in the short lived ABC sitcom, On Our Own, from 1994 to 1995. In 1996, she made her big screen debut in the Francis Ford Coppola film, Jack. She received critical acclaim and a Critic’s Choice Award for playing Eve in the 1997 independent drama film, Eve’s Bayou. She later joined the cast of the CBS sitcom, Cosby, for which she won two NAACP Image Awards. As an adult, Smollett-Bell starred in films such as Roll Bounce in 2005, Gridiron Gang in 2006, The Great Debaters in 2007, and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor in 2013.
In 2020, Smollett-Bell made her first appearance as the DC Comics superheroine Black Canary in the DC Extended Universe film, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.