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Aunjanue Ellis poses outside under a banana plant tree wearing a pink dress and a bold African patterned head wrap

‘King Richard’ Star Aunjanue Ellis Joins MFP for Exclusive Conversation, Donor Event

Update: It’s not too late to watch Aunjanue Ellis’ powerful hour-long conversation with the MFP founders and 2021 donors about her upbringing in Pike County, how she got into the film business, sexism and racism in the film world, what drove her to fight to change the Mississippi state flag, systemic inequities across Mississippi—and how she responds to white feminists criticizing “King Richard” for focusing on the father. Give any amount now, and we will send you a link to the show.

We have huge news, readers. Today at 4 p.m. central, Mississippi superstar Aunjanue Ellis is joining me and Editor Donna Ladd for an hour-long conversation sure to include her film career and rise to the top, navigating racism and sexism, the Mississippi flag she long fought and inequities in her hometown of McComb. And more. Every 2021 donor to the MFP is invited, and you have until 3:30 central to ensure your invitation at

The “King Richard” star is doing this today to help fund more urgent Mississippi Free Press journalism in counties across Mississippi like her home county of Pike during our year-end fundraising campaign. We so appreciate Aunjanue’s efforts on our behalf to grow systemic reporting across Mississippi in search of solutions like the ongoing “(In)Equity and Resilence: Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19” project.

You might not know that this Emmy-nominated film star attended Tougaloo College and Brown University. She blew audiences away in “Lovecraft Country” and “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel.” There’s already Oscar buzz around her “King Richard” performance.  

This is a pop-up opportunity you don’t want to miss—to help add to our year-end fundraising goals. We are thrilled to share space and ideas with this amazing Mississippi artist. (See Aliyah Veal’s breathtaking Mississippi Free Press interview with her here.)

This event is open to all 2021 donors to the Mississippi Free Press. You can get the link by giving any amount at by 3:30 central today.

I’m also thrilled to announce that we raised almost $61,000 in November and are now looking to hitting the $100,000 milestone by the new year. Thanks for sustaining our journalism. Like I always remind people: This level of reporting costs money, and we need to take care of our people and get them more help. Every dollar who give helps us do that. Look for more donor events very soon and throughout 2022.

By the way, we raised nearly $61,000 to grow our truth-to-power journalism in November. Now we have a bit over $10,000 in additional matches on deck ready to help us reach at least $100,000 by the new year. One more way you can help us meet our goal is by reaching out to Giving Director Cristen Hemmins at to pledge your own match from you or your organization, or to join one she’s already building, like superstar journalists and Mississippi writers, or to arrange a donation in another way other than the online portal.

Feel free to let your friends know about today’s event so they can join our 2021 donor roll by 3:30 p.m. today to secure an invitation. If you’re already a 2021 donor, you should have a registration link in your email. Write me back at if you don’t see it.

We appreciate all of you.

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