Most recently, she appeared in the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave, directed by Steve McQueen, in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and in New Line’s Annabelle. On the small screen, she most recently starred in Marvel's Luke Cage as Mariah Dillard and will next appear in the Apple series See, opposite Jason Momoa. Woodard can next be heard as the voice of Sarabi in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King and be seen in the Netflix film Juanita as the title character. Her starring role in Clemency received critical praise at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize.
In addition to her acting career, Woodard is a longtime activist. She co-founded Artists for a New South Africa, a nonprofit working to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and further the cause of democracy and human rights in South Africa. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. As part of her work on the Committee, Woodard adopted several high poverty and under-performing public schools around the country, including ReNew Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans and Noel Community Arts School in Denver. She is an active advocate for the arts in education, largely through her work on the Committee’s “Turnaround Arts” initiative, which was launched in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council to narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts.
She directed and produced, “Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales,” which won the 2010 Audiobook of the Year, and garnered a 2010 Grammy Award nomination for “Best Children’s Spoken Word Album.” The audiobook hosts a collaboration of talent both broad and diverse, featuring: Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, and Samuel L. Jackson.
- A Conversation With Alfre Woodard