A slew of talented black actors have come out of the UK lately, particularly England with a few based in Wales. What you may not know about some of these actors is that they are the children of Nigerian parents. Many are first generation Britons of immigrants while a few actually hail from Nigeria. They have all made their own contributions to film and television and many of these actors have promising careers ahead of them.
Despite actually having a British accent with his normal voice, many Americans are actually used to hearing Akinnuoye-Agbaje speak in a deep, Nigerian tone in most of his roles. American moviegoers may have first spotted him in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) and seen him in others including The Mummy Returns (2001), The Bourne Identity (2002), Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). However, he may be more well-known for roles in television shows like Linc’s, Lost and Oz.
While Anozie may be familiar to fans of the HBO show Game of Thrones, the imposing young man has also had roles in various films such as Atonement (2007), RocknRolla (2008), Conan the Barbarian (2011) and The Grey (2011).
The daughter of Nigerian parents, Ayola may be best known for her role as Mrs. Nwokolo in Matthew McConaughey vehicle Sahara (2005) although keen eyes may have spotted her in an episode of Doctor Who.
The son of Nigerian Igbo parents, Ejiofor is probably one of the most well-known of the black actors coming out of Britain today and was introduced widely to American audiences in Amistad (1997). He has played a wide range of roles in blockbuster films as well as smaller scale productions. His credits include Dirty Pretty Things (2002), Serenity (2005), Kinky Boots (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children of Men (2006), Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006), Talk to Me (2007), American Gangster (2007), Redbelt (2008), 2012 (2009) and Salt (2010).
Ejogo has shown her talents in television films playing the title role in Sally Hemmings: An American Scandal (2000) and Coretta Scott King in Boycott (2001) as well as a supporting role in Lackawanna Blues (2005). She has also been featured in many theatrical productions like Away We Go (2009) and will be seen in the re-make of Sparkle later this year.
Many American moviegoers became familiar with Okonedo when she starred opposite Don Cheadle in Hotel Rawanda (2004) as Tatiana Rusesabagina. She has also starred in films such as Dirty Pretty Things (2002), Æon Flux (2005), The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and the television film Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006).
Oyelowo is the first black actor to portray an English monarch (Henry VI) for the Royal Shakespeare Company. However, he is also known for his roles in several films including The Last King of Scotland (2006), A Raisin in the Sun (2008), Small Island (2009), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), The Help (2011) and Red Tails (2012).
Many audiences may have seen the striking Shekoni in television shows including Brothers and Sisters, King of Queens, NCIS and the long running British melodrama EastEnders. However, she will be more of a household name when she is seen in the upcoming Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn as Zafrina.
Hope Olaide Wilson
Although born in the UK, Wilson actually grew up between Lagos and London. She may be familiar to many moviegoers through the role of Jennifer from I Can Do Bad All by Myself (2009). She also has had various roles on television shows such as Cold Case, Lie to Me, Southland Tales and The Unit.