Meet 10 Hollywood Actors Whose Root Can Be Traced To Nigeria (Photos)

(m) at 24-01-2020 12:07AM (2 months ago)

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America’s entertainment industry, Hollywood, has many black celebrities of African descent, specifically Nigerians. Global integration and century-old slave trade have fostered the spread of Nigerian descents across the world.

At first, people think they are black Americans, but they are also Nigerians by their descendants. Following the African-American lives broadcast by PBS, many celebrities have done DNA tests to trace their lineage and discover their African origins.

Here is a list of Nigerians who were either born in Nigeria and grew up oversea, or were born and raised outside the country, or they have one or both parents as Nigerians. Others had their DNA done to trace their origins.

1) Forest Whitaker


Forest Whitaker is an American actor, director, and producer. He was born on July 15, 1961, in Longview, Texas but his ancestral heritage was traced back to the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. A DNA test has shown that his mother had Akan ancestry, while his father was of Igbo descent. It is believed that Whitaker is actually from a village called ‘Nkwere’. He even went on a journey to trace his steps and was received with an honourary title of ‘Chief Nwannedinambe de Nkwerre’ meaning ‘a brother in foreign land’ in 2009. Whitaker is known for his role as dictator Idi Amin of Uganda in the 2006 film ‘The Last King of Scotland’.

2) Yvonne Orji


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.

3) Danny Glover


Danny Glover is an American political activist, actor, and director. His ancestors were traced to come from Nigeria with no exact tribe or state. He, however, met Forest Whitaker on one of his visits to the country. He accompanied him to Nkwere in Imo state and also received an honourary title. Glover is known for his role as detective Roger Murtaugh in the seasonal film ‘Lethal Weapon’.

4) Uzo Aduba


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.

5) Chiwetel Ejiofor


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.

6) Carmen Ejogo


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).

7) Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje


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.

Cool Ashley Madekwe


Ashley Madekwe (born 6 December 1983) is an English actress. Madekwe was born in South London, England into a mixed family. Her father is Nigerian and her mother is English. She is known for her roles as call girl Bambi in the ITV2 series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, social climber Ashley Davenport on the ABC drama series Revenge and the witch Tituba in the WGN America series Salem.

9) Hakeem Kae-Kazim


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.

10) Adetomiwa Edun




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.