No Shade To Lupita, But Here Are 11 Nigerian Actresses Who Could Have Been Great As Ifemelu In The Americanah Adaptation
Ever since Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o acquired the rights to author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s award-winning novel Americanah, I was hopeful that whenever she decided to do something with it, she would have a Nigerian actress play the paramount role of Ifemelu. So when it was confirmed this week that the adaptation of the novel was getting a straight-to-series order on HBO Max with Danai Gurira writing the pilot and being showrunner to Nyong’o as the star, I was a tad disappointed. It’s not to say that Lupita can’t do Ifemelu justice in the role, because she’s certainly proved her acting prowess, but there are so many Nigerian actresses working nowadays, and quite talented at that, who could have had the opportunity to shine or even break through into the mainstream with such a role. And if there is any avenue that doesn’t require a well-known name to have success, it’s television. The rise of A-list actors as stars of shows and limited series is a newer practice.
Nevertheless, I’m excited to see what Lupita and Danai will do with the story of a Nigerian woman grappling with love and her Black identity in America. There are also plenty of other roles that Nigerian actors and actresses can fill on the series, so not all hope is lost. Still, a gal can dream. So with that being said, here is a list of Nigerian actresses, a few of the Igbo ethnic group like the central character, who could have done great things as Ifemelu.
The 32-year-old British actress, who is Igbo, who has already stood out on Broadway as Celie in The Color Purple and in films like Widows and Bad Times at the El Royale, is set to have her first leading role in the upcoming historical drama Harriet. She’s not always Black Twitter’s favorite, but Cynthia is an incredible talent.