A California native, Adilah Barnes grew up in Oroville, California, located in the Sacramento Valley. She began her stage career as a teen in Project Upward Bound at California State University, Chico. She attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where she earned a B.A. degree in Theatre Arts. She also trained at the American Conservatory Theatre. Adilah eventually became a full time teacher of the Conservatory’s Advanced Training Program. While in San Francisco, Adilah co-founded an organization called BABAC which stands for Bay Area Black Actors Connection. Later after moving to Los Angeles she co-founded the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival with actors Hattie Winston and Danny Glover.
Adilah’s stage credits include "Joe Turner’s Come & Gone," "Jo Anne!" and "Daddy." She received a DramaLogue Award for Outstanding Performance in "Jo Anne!" and Bay Area Critics Circle Award nominations for both "Jo Anne!" and "Daddy." In January 2001 Adilah was Artist-In-Residence at Michigan State University while she lectured and performed in "The Bridge Party." For the last 14 seasons Adilah has been touring her one woman show, "I Am That I Am: Woman, Black" in over 34 cities. The show has been to Europe and the Caribbean as well. During the show she takes on the persona of 7 historical women, switching from character to character starting with Sojourner Truth, then Harriet Tubman, Mary McCloud Bethune, Zora Neale-Hurston, Lorraine Hansbury, Angela Davis and ending with Maya Angelou.
Adilah’s telefilm and feature film credits include "My Brother’s Keeper," "Bulworth," "The Christmas Wish," "Basic Instinct," "Erin
Brokovich" and "Iron Jawed Angels."
She’s made numerous tv guest appearances in such shows as "Mad About You," "City of Angels," "Gilmore Girls," "Any Day Now" and "For The People." Adilah had a recurring role in the hit series "Roseanne" and she was a series regular in "Blue Skies."
When she’s not acting in front of the camera, Adilah is also an acting coach and author. Some of her acting students include Jada Pinkett Smith, Benjamin Bratt and Toni Braxton. She is the author of the book "On My Own Terms: One Actor’s Journey."
Adilah has one son and she’s also a grandmother.
Adilah's film credits include the following:
- Iron Jawed Angels (2004)(HBO Movie)
- Little John (2002)(Tv Movie)
- Murder By Numbers (2002)
- Beautiful (2000)
- Auggie Rose (2000)
- Erin Brockovich (2000)
- Seven Girlfriends (1999)
- Justice (1999)(Tv Movie)
- The Christmas Wish (1998)
- Cab To Canada (1998)
- Bulworth (1998)
- Sharon's Secret (1995)(Tv Movie)
- The Four Diamonds (1995)(Tv Movie)
- My Brother's Keeper (1995)(Tv Movie)
- A Place To Be Loved (1993)(Tv Movie)
- A Message From Holly (1992)(Tv Movie)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- Switched At Birth (1991)(Tv Movie)
- Absolute Strangers (1991)(Tv Movie)
- The Image (1990)(Tv Movie)
- Cast The First Stone (1989)(Tv Movie)
- Kiss Shot (1989)(Tv Movie)
- Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI (1986)(Tv Movie)
Check out the following sites for additional information about Adilah:
Adilah Barnes Biography
Adilah Barnes@Internet Movie Database
Adilah Barnes@Monthly Calendar.com
Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival