America’s entertainment industry, Hollywood, has many black celebrities of African descent, specifically Nigerians.
Here is a list of Nigerians who were either born in Nigeria and grew up overseas, or were born and raised outside the country, or they have one or both parents as Nigerians.
A British-Nigerian actress, singer and song writer, who played the lead role in the biopic Harriet and was nominated for several awards. Her full name is : Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo. She was born in Stockwell England on 8 January, 1987.
She attended La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School. Erivo began a music psychology degree at the University of East London; however, a year into her degree, she was admitted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where her multi-talents blossomed.
She is known for her performance as Celie in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, for which she won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the latter two she shared with the rest of the cast.
Erivo ventured into films in 2018, with roles in the heist film Widows and the thriller Bad Times at the El Royale. In 2019, she portrayed abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet, for which she earned a nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Born April 1, 1976 to Nigerian parents in England, David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo OBE is an English actor and producer. His father is from Oyo State, Western Nigeria while his mother is from Edo State.
He grew up in Tooting south London, until he was six, when his family moved to Lagos. The family moved back when he was 14. He had a three year training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), finishing his three-year training in 1998
His highest-profile role to date was as Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 biographical drama film Selma. He also took the lead role in A United Kingdom as well as playing the role of a chess coach in Queen of Katwe.
He has played supporting roles in the films Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Lincoln (2012), Jack Reacher (2012), and garnered praise for portraying Louis Gaines in The Butler (2013).
He is slated to star with Lupita Nyong’o in a film adaptation of the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel Americanah. The story follows a pair of young Nigerian immigrants who face a lifetime of struggle while their relationship endures.
John Adedayo B. Adegboyega, was born on 17 March 1992 in Peckham England, to Nigerian parents. He is known professionally as John Boyega. He has played Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films, The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker.
Boyega’s other credits include historical drama film Detroit (2017), the science fiction film Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), four episodes of the television series 24: Live Another Day and the drama Imperial Dreams (2014). Boyega received the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2016.
Yvonne Orji is a Nigerian American actress. She is known for her role in the HBO series Insecure. She was born to her Nigerian parents in Port Harcourt, Nigeria but was raised in Maryland, USA. Yvonne has starred in several films like Insecure, Jane The Virgin, Flip the script, etc.
Uzoamaka Nwanneka “Uzo” Aduba is an American actress. She was born on February 10, 1981, to Nigerian parents in Boston, USA. Uzo is known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, for which she won an Emmy Award.
Chiwetel Umeadi Ejiofor is a British-Nigerian actor. He was born and raised in the United Kingdom by his Nigerian parents. He is a descendant of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. After enrolling at the National Youth Theatre in 1995 and attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, at age 19 and three months into his course, Ejiofor was cast by Steven Spielberg to play a supporting role in the film Amistad as James Covey. Ejiofor has starred in numerous movies such as 12 years a slave, The Lion King, Half of a Yellow Sun, Deadly travel and so on.
Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo is a British television and film actress and singer. She was born on October 22, 1973, to a Scottish mother, Elizabeth (née Douglas), and a Nigerian father, Charles Ejogo. She began her career as a teenager hosting the Saturday Disney morning show from 1993 to 1995. Her film credits include Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000), What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001), Away We Go (2009).
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a British actor, director, and former fashion model. He was born by Nigerian parents in Washington D.C. When he was six weeks old, his biological parents gave him up to a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex. This was a common practice in this era among Nigerian families when parents sent young children to live in the UK with white foster parents in the hopes their children would have better lives. Adewale has featured in blockbuster movies like The Bourne Identity, Pompeii, The Mummy returns, etc. He is fluent in Yoruba, Italian, Swahili, and Engish.
Hakeem Kae-Kazim is a British-Nigerian actor best known for his work in the Starz television series Black Sails and his portrayal of Georges Rutaganda in the 2004 drama film Hotel Rwanda. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria but originally from Ogun State. He has also featured in Nigerian movies like Last flight to Abuja, Black November. Currently, he is one of the brand ambassadors of Etisalat.
Babatunde Adetomiwa Stafford “Tomiwa” Edun, is a Nigerian-born British actor. He is best known for his roles as Sir Elyan in the television show Merlin, Marcus Young in Bates Motel and Alex Hunter in the football video games FIFA 17, FIFA 18 and FIFA 19.
Akinnage was born in Washington, D.C.to Yoruba parents in 1978. He attended Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland. He attended Bucknell University on a wrestling scholarship, and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Political Science and English.
As an American actor and writer, he best known for his roles as Chris Partlow on the HBO series The Wire and as Larry Brown on the HBO series The Deuce.
*This story was heavily revised and is different from the original version. We owe a lot of gratitude to Wikipedia for background info on the actors/actresses