Institute Speaker/Panelist Bio

Khandi Alexander

Actor

Khandi Alexander is one of the most accomplished actresses in Hollywood due to her versatility and experience on camera and on the stage. She is best known for the roles of Dr. Alexx Woods in the CBS police procedural series CSI: Miami; as LaDonna Batiste-Williams in HBO drama Treme; and as Catherine Duke in NBC sitcom NewsRadio. She also had a major recurring roles in the NBC medical drama ER and the ABC television drama Scandal.

Alexander was born in New York City. Her mother was an opera and jazz singer and her father owned a construction company. A skilled dancer and choreographer, she got her start in the entertainment industry on Broadway, starring in Bob Fosse’s Dancin, and Dreamgirls. She was a choreographer for Whitney Houston’s world tour from 1988–1992, and also appeared as a dancer in Natalie Cole’s video for “Pink Cadillac” in 1988. Alexander also choreographed music videos for David Bowie and Joe Crocker as well as projects for renowned choreographer and director Kenny Ortega.

Alexander’s on and off-Broadway theatre credits include leading roles in Bones, Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie, The Horrible and Tragic Life of the Singing Nun and The Wedding Band.

Alexander made her television debut on the 1985 sketch-comedy show FTV. Since the early 1990s, she has concentrated on film and TV, playing supporting roles in several movies, including CB4, Joshua Tree, What’s Love Got to Do with It, Poetic Justice, and Sugar Hill.

In addition to Newsradio and ER, Alexander has made a number of guest appearances on other television shows, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NYPD Blue, Third Watch, Cosby, Better off Ted, La Femme Nikita, and Body of Proof.

In 2000, Alexander won critical acclaim for her performance as Fran Boyd, a mother addicted to drugs in the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries The Corner. She later appeared in the films Emmett’s Mark and Dark Blue, and starred opposite Rob Lowe in the Lifetime television movie Perfect Strangers. In 2002 through 2008, she portrayed the character of Alexx Woods, a medical examiner in the CBS police drama CSI: Miami. She was later cast as a lead character in the HBO drama pilot, Treme in which she played a bar owner in a New Orleans neighborhood affected by the Hurricane Katrina. She received critical acclaim for her performance in the show.

Alexander was cast in Shonda Rhimes series Scandal as Mama Pope, Kerry Washington’s character’ mother. In 2015, Alexander was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance.

In 2014, Alexander was cast as older sister of Queen Latifah’s title character in the HBO Film Bessie about iconic blues singer Bessie Smith. She was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries.

IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT
You have the power to change the
face of children's programming.

With your help, if she can see it, she can be it.

Your donation will further our research efforts and
fund continuing curriculum development for young children.

How would you like to support the Institute?

Starts at $250 for Individuals
and $5,000 for Corporations

Do you have questions about donating to the institute?
Please contact Elizabeth Kilpatrick via email or call 714-475-3885.