Janelle James is a first-time Golden Globe nominee in the Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Comedy or Drama TV series category for her role as Ava Coleman in the comedy series Abbott Elementary.
In the ABC sitcom, which is about a group of teachers at an overcrowded and underfunded West Philadelphia public school, James plays the school’s self-absorbed principal Ava Coleman, whose main focus is on her social media profile rather than her students’ or teachers’ well-being. Ava is selfish and a bully, terrorizing teachers Barbara (Golden Globe nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph) and Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) and favoring Gregory (Golden Globe nominee Tyler James Williams) with far too much attention. She is the opposite of Janine Teagues (Golden Globe nominee Quinta Brunson, who is also the creator of the series), a teacher who is selflessly devoted to her students and cares far too much.
Apart from being an actress, James is also a stand-up comedian who can currently be seen on The Comedy Lineup on Netflix. She has toured with Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, and David Cross among others, and runs the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival (now the Janelle James Comedy Festival) in Brooklyn, NY.
Her writing credits include Showtime’s Black Monday (2020-2021), and she has acted in Crashing (2017), Corporate (2020), and the animated series Central Park (2020-2022). Her debut comedy album “Black and Mild” was released in 2017.
Janelle James was born in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands. She is a mother of two.