Sunday, 9 March 2014

Naija actors repping us in Hollywood!


While watching “12 Years a Slave”, and then “The Butler” some days after (I know, I was two-thousand and late lol), I got thinking about how actors of Nigerian descent are doing SO WELL in the Hollywood movie industry. I am one of those weird people who don’t always press the stop button when a movie ends, or rush out of the cinema theatre when a movie ends. Most times I stick around for a little while to read the ending credits, and many times I spot a Nigerian name and I‘m like “Yeah!” Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo did a fabulous job on “12 Years a Slave” and “The Butler” respectively and sometimes I feel like telling all our Nollywood actors and actresses as well as producers and the whole Nollywood industry- “This is the real movie industry guys! Sit up!” I have read about the work that goes into making these Hollywood movies, the years of research, the practice and dedication that the actors adopt and when I see that some of our Naija folks are also a part of this, I get really excited. But it was funny when I heard that Enugu State gave Chiwetel Ejiofor a full page recognition in the papers, calling him "our brother"- I can’t explain it but there’s just something funny about it.

Meanwhile don’t you think “The Butler” should have received an award? I feel that movie was well written, well represented and well acted. I can’t help thinking it was deliberately left out of the awards picture for political reasons.
OK so (thanks to Wikipedia) I decided to compile a short list of Naija actors in the Hollywood industry, with their notable works. Of course you are familiar with half of them already : -)

Chiwetel Ejiofor 
He is considered "one of the greatest actors of his generation", and his performance as Othello in the play Othello in 2008 has been hailed as the best of his generation. At age 11 his father was killed in a car accident, while on a road trip with Chiwetel in Nigeria, but Chiwetel survived and still sports a scar on his forehead as a result of the injuries he sustained. His sister, Zain Asher is a newscaster with CNN. As part of his preparation for the movie “12 Years A Slave”, Ejiofor learned to play the violin, collected slave stories, maintained a slave's edge up, and engaged in some of the physical labour that Northup did like picking cotton.

Notable movies he acted in: 12 Years A Slave, Othello, American Gangster, 2012, Salt, Love Actually, Talk To Me, Half Of A Yellow Sun

David Oyelowo
Married to actress Jessica Oyelowo, he was born in England and first attended a youth theatre after being invited by a girl to whom he was attracted.

Notable movies he acted in: The Butler, The Best Man, The Last King Of Scotland, The Help, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, As You Like It

Yaya DaCosta
I saw her in “The Butler” and kept asking myself, “Where have I seen this face?” Then I googled her and I remembered. She was 1st runner up for the third cycle of Tyra Bank’s America’s Next Top Model. My sissy and I had watched that season and I remember Yaya once saying that she had Yoruba blood. She is of African American, Brazilian and Nigerian descent. She has appeared in some TV shows like Eve, House, Ugly Betty and Army Wives.

Notable movies she acted in: The Butler, Tron: Legacy, The Kids Are All Right

Adepero Oduye 
Remember the woman whose 2 kids were taken from her and cried a lot in “12 Years A Slave?” That’s Adepero Oduye. She is one of seven children born to Nigerian parents.

Notable movies she acted in: 12 Years A Slave, Steel Magnolias

Dayo Okeniyi 

Dayo is still relatively new on the scene. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and has four siblings. His mother is Kenyan though. Prior to being cast in “The Hunger Games”, Okeniyi worked with the local theatre.

Notable movie he acted in: The Hunger Games

Carmen Ejogo 

I loved her acting in “Sparkle”. Didn’t know she was half-Nigerian till 3 days ago I think. Her mother is Scottish. She was born and raised in London, and is also a vocalist. She performed some songs on “Sparkle” with Jordin Sparks.

Notable movies she acted in: Sparkle, Alex Cross, The Avengers (1998)

Toks Olagundoye 
My sissy noticed her name on the credits when she watched an American TV show- “The Neighbours” (we didn’t really enjoy the show by the way). She was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to a Norwegian mother and a Nigerian father. She has acted in Ugly Betty, CSI, Law & Order and others. 
Notable movie she acted in: Brown Sugar

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

This is another popular one. Akinnuoye-Agbaje was born in Islington, London. His parents are Nigerian, of Yoruba origin. He has a law degree from King's College London and a Masters in Law from the University of London. He is well known for his role as Dr. Eko in the popular TV series- "Lost".

Notable movies he acted in: The Bourne Identity, Unstoppable, Thor: The Dark World, Get Rich Or Die Tryin', Ace Ventura, The Mummy Returns

There are a few others Hollywood actors and actresses with Nigerian descent that I found, including Hakeem Kae-Kazim who acted in Coming To America, X-Men Origins, Half Of A Yellow Sun, Last Flight To Abuja, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, etc. 
There's Nonso Anozie who acted in Conan The Barbarian (he utilized the Nigerian accent here lol), Ender's Game, Game Of Thrones, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Nonso Anozie

So yeah, we might have our issues and all, but these actors and actresses remind me that there’s a lot of good stuff associated with our country.


*Photo credits: Google images. Article credits: Wikipedia*


  1. I didn't even know that some of these guys were Nigeria. Rep!

    1. Me too! I only knew of Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo and Nonso Anozie and knew of the others recently and thru some research too. Thanks for stopping by Muse Origins!

  2. They are great inspiration.


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