Today, many Nigerian actors and actresses are mega stars in Hollywood. Many of them; men and women, have withstood different challenges fighting for what they believe in, their dream. Faced with stiff competition and at times, racial discrimination, these worthy Nigerian embassadors are still making the country proud with their talents abroad.
Rick Famuyiwa- Director
Famuyiwa is a Director who was born on June 18, 1973. He made his debut as feature film director with The Wood from an original script he developed at The Sundance Institute. Recently, Famuyiwa served as one of the writers on the upcoming film, The FightingTemptations and he is currently writing a script entitled Feeling Aretha for Fox Searchlight which he will also direct.
Famuyiwa played Division I basketball for USC where he was a double major in Cinema/Television Production and Critical Studies. During his senior year at USC, he wrote and directed his critically-acclaimed thesis film Blacktop Lingo, a 12-minute short film about basketball. In 1996, the film was one of only 29 films selected from 1,500 submissions to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival and it earned Famuyiwa the distinction of becoming the first undergraduate from USC to ever have a film shown there. His movies include Brown sugar and the wood, and Our family wedding.
Hakeem Kae Kassim - Actor
Kae-Kazim is a Nigerian. He grew up in South Africa as an actor. He lives in Los Angeles, California, US. Born on October 1,1962, Hakeem is best known for his role as warlord and terrorist Colonel Ike Dubaku on the television movie 24: Redemption (2008) and Season 7 of the action series 24 (2009). He also made a notable guest appearance as Emeka in the 5th episode of Season 3 of the television series Lost, entitled “The Cost Of Living”, in 2006. In 2007, he was seen in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, The Jinn, Hurricane in the Rose Garden, and Big Fellas.
Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje - Actor
Agbaje was born in August 1967. He has a Masters degree in Law and speaks Swahili and Yoruba. Agbaje’s first time on camera was in Mary J. Blige’s Love No Limit in 1993. Almost at the same period, he appeared in the video for the Pet Shop Boys’ hit song “Jealousy” in which he played the part of a roguish adulterer. He is best known for portraying the criminal Simon Adebisi in the HBO prison series Oz, and Mr. Eko on ABC’s survivor drama Lost. He has numerous films to his credit since he began acting in 1994.
He has appeared in many top movies, including The Bourne Identity, in which he played a deposed African dictator, Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, and Heavy Duty in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He also said he would direct a movie on himself. On Friday August 14, 2009 Adewale starred in the second episode of season 8 of Monk. He also acted in Get rich or die trying.
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Actor
Ejiofor was born in London’s Forest Gate to Nigerian parents who hailed from the Igbo ethnic group. He was born on July 10th, 1974. His father, Arinze, was a doctor, and his mother, Obiajulu, a pharmacist. He started acting plays in school at the age of 13 at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre and played the title role in Othello at the Bloomsbury Theatre in September 1995, and again at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 1996 when he starred opposite Rachael Stirling, who played Desdemona
Movies. His movies include Dirty Pretty things and American gangster. He equally acted alongside Denzel Washington in Inside Mani (2006).
Carmen Ejogo - Actor
Born and raised in London, Ejogo is the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Ejogo Douglas. She was born on January 1, 1974. Her father is a Nigerian entrepreneur and her mother, a Scottish tour guide. During her childhood, Ejogo said her mother was very active. Her younger brother, also called Charles, was the first successful candidate on the British version of the “business reality” television programme Dragons’ Den.
Born in London to a Nigerian father and a British mother on January 1, 1969. Okonedo was 18 years old when she came across an advertisement for a writer’s workshop in Time Out magazine. It didn’t take long for Okonedo to realize that she was more proficient in offering dramatically rendered readings of her fellow classmate’s stories than penning her own, and with the encouragement of writing coach Hanif Kureishi, the aspiring actress was busy honing her skills at the Royal Court Theater.
A scholarship to the Royal Academy was quick to follow, and in the succeeding years, Okonedo would earn glowing reviews for her many other roles, her stunning performance in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. Some of her television productions are: The Governor, Deep Secrets, Hotel Rwanda (2004) and In Defence. She is also Jewish, her recent movie is Skin (2009).
Ene Oloja - Actress
She was the no-nonsense, stern looking elder sister of Nosa in Behind the Clouds, a Nigerian soap in the 1980s. She was recently in the Brave One alongside Jodi Foster. Ene Oloja migrated to the United States in 1991 and her career has been largely quiet since 1993 when with other professionals, she staged a theatre production entitled, Echoes from the Diaspora, telling a powerful story of the experiences of immigrants of colour in the West. She is the first home- made Nigerian actress to be cast alongside an Oscar Award winner. The likes of Ene Oloja who were forerunners of the booming Nigerian film industry, could play a bridge-building role by drawing the attention of Hollywood to the avalanche of Nigerian theatre practitioners and film professionals.
Yemi Ajibade - Actor
A lot of people might not have heard of him but he has been acting in Hollywood for a while. His movies include Flawless in 2007 and Dirty pretty things.
Ebbe Bassey - Actress
Born in the Bronx and raised in Calabar. She is also making her impact felt in Hollywood. Her movies to date include: Snitch, Taboo, and the series NYPD blue and Law and Order.