Top 15 Nigerian Actors In The Diaspora You May Not Have Heard About

Posted on January 21 2020 , at 11:54 am
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Nigerians are everywhere in the world, making a mark anywhere they find themselves. These fifteen Nigerian actors are doing exploits in the diaspora and making us proud.

Nonso Anozie: You probably remember him as ‘Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ from “Game of Thrones” but you may not have known that he is Nigerian. Although Chukwunonso Nwachukwu Anozie was born and raised in London, his parents are both Igbos, thus making him Nigerian by default.


Adetomiwa Edun: Tomiwa was born in Lagos to a Nigerian father and Ghanian mother in 1984, but his family relocated to the United Kingdom when he was 11 years old. He is famous for his roles in “Merlin” and the 2015 “Cinderella” movie. He also appeared in the 2017 Nollywood movie, “Banana Island Ghost”.


Sam Adegoke: He was born in Lagos but was raised in Minnesota, USA after his parents migrated as missionaries along with his six older siblings. Sam was the first Nigerian to speak Yoruba on a major broadcast television show in the USA alongside Hassan Kae Kazeem, while playing his role as ‘Jeff Colby’ in the CW series, “Dynasty”. 


Uzo Aduba: If you watched Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”, then you are probably familiar with Uzo who was known as ‘Crazy Eyes’. She was born in Massachusetts, USA to Igbo parents and raised in a traditional Igbo household along with her four siblings. Since her role in “Orange Is The New Black”, she has become a household name in Hollywood and featured in different movies.


Dayo Okeniyi: In 1988, Dayo was born in Jos to a Nigerian dad and a Ghanaian mom. He grew up in Lagos before moving to the US when he was 15 years old. He is well known for his roles in Terminator Genisys, Hunger Games and Shades of Blue.


Okieriete Onaodowan: Popularly known as ‘Oak’, he was born to Nigerian parents in New Jersey, USA on the 16th of August, 1987. In 2016, the 32-year old received a Grammy along with the rest of his cast members for their performance in “Hamilton”, the musical. He currently plays the role of ‘Dean Miller’ in the ABC drama series, “Station 19”.


Gbenga Akinnagbe: He was the first member of his family to be born in the United States after his parents migrated to work and study. He is famous for his roles in “The Wire” and “The Deuce”. He is also the older cousin to the popular rapper, ‘Wale’ and they grew up together in Maryland.


David Oyelowo: He was born in London to Nigerian parent. He started his career in 1998, appearing in “Maisie Raine” and “Brothers and Sisters”. He gained mainstream popularity after playing the role of ‘Martin Luther King Jr.’ in “Selma”. He has also featured in movies such as “Queen of Katwe”, “A United Kingdom” and “Gringo”.


Chiwetel Ejiofor: He was born in London to Igbo parents and made frequent trips back to Nigeria growing up as a child. Sadly, he lost his dad in a car accident on one of those trips when he was only 11 years old. He started acting around the same time until he could learn acting professionally. He has since featured in blockbuster movies such as “12 Years A Slave”, “Half of a Yellow Sun”, “Maleficent” and the remake of “The Lion King”.


Yvonne Orji: She was born in Port Harcourt but migrated to Maryland, USA at the age of six with her parents. After receiving her masters degree in Public Health from the George Washington University, she moved to New York to pursue a career in comedy. Today, she is popular for her role as ‘Molly’ in HBO’s “Insecure”. She has also featured in other productions such as “Jane The Virgin” and “Night School”.


John Boyega: He was born to Yoruba parents in London. John became popular to the Nigerian audience after his role as ‘Ugwu’ in “Half of a Yellow Sun”. He is, however,  known world-wide for his role as ‘Finn’ in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy.


Hakeem Kae-Kazeem: Hakeem was born in Lagos but relocated to London with his family as a child. After performing in a couple of school plays and the The National Youth Theatre, he decided that he had a love for acting. He went on to study acting professionally. Over time, he has featured in movies such as “Hotel Rwanda”, “Pirates of the Carribean”, and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”


Cynthia Erivo: Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo was born in London to Nigerian parents. During her six-year career, she has secured several awards, including a Tony, Grammy and Emmy. She was nominated this year for two Academy awards and two Golden Globes awards.


Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: He was born to Nigerian parents in the UK who gave him up to foster parents at only six weeks. This action created a dramatic turn in his life and he recently directed and produced a movie about growing up in his movie, “Farming”. He has also featured in blockbuster movies like “Suicide Squad” and “Thor: The Dark World”. 


Wunmi Mosaku: Her parents moved from Nigeria to London when she was 1 year old. She has now gone on to feature in movies like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “I Am A Slave”. In 2017, she won the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTA) for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, playing the role of ‘Gloria Taylor’ in the TV film, “ Damilola, Our Loved Boy”.

All these Nigerian actors and more are in the diaspora making the Nigerian name proud and reminding us that through hard work and persistence, we can succeed anywhere. Let us know which of these actors you like the most and have seen in a movie in the comment section below.

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