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Samuel Jackson started a very interesting conversation when he brought up the idea that there have been a wave of British Black male actors who’ve come to the States and taken some major roles. In particular, they’ve played pretty prominent African-American characters. From playing Dr. King to Solomon Northup, it’s been brothers from across the pond who’ve had people talking over the last few years.

Jordan Peele Daniel Kaluuya PF

Of course, they’re not alone (think of Benedict Cumberbatch, Dominic West, Hugh Laurie, Emily Blunt, Thandie Newton, Kate Winslet, Tilda Newton and plenty of other Brits who’ve played Americans more often than not these days). But considering a lot of young African-American male actors aren’t getting some of these major roles, and many could use them, there has been a lot of talk of a “British invasion” in terms of Black male thespians these days.

I can’t say whether or not this is all fair or not, but here are 10 such actors, aside from Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya, who are taking all of the acting jobs — and for good reason. These men, the children of Caribbean, Nigerian and Ghanaian immigrants, are quite talented.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

From playing Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave and earning an Academy Award nomination to playing Huey Lucas in American Gangster and Dewey Hughes in Talk to Me, Ejiofor has picked up a lot of major roles as American characters since he started appearing in film and television in 1996.

David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo

Oyelowo has played an American in quite a few major films (think Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Red Tails, A Most Violent Year and the HBO movie Nightingale), but the role that earned him the most acclaim was playing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. 

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Elba rocketed to fame playing Stringer Bell on The Wire, and for the most part, had a pretty convincing Baltimore accent. Since then, he’s pretty much blown up, going back and forth from playing American characters to British ones.

Alfred Enoch

Alfred Enoch

After years of playing Dean Thomas in Harry Potter films, quite a few folks forgot Alfred Enoch was British when he nabbed a starring role as Wes Gibbins in How to Get Away with Murder (and the guy was good!).

John Boyega

John Boyega

You know you’ve made it when you’re a star (not a supporting player) in a Star Wars film. John Boyega of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and sequel The Last Jedi has played American in films like Imperial Dreams, and is set to do it again as a star in the upcoming film The Circle with Tom Hanks.

Lennie James

Lennie James

One word: Morgan.

In case you don’t watch, Lennie James has been pretty amazing as character Morgan Jones on The Walking Dead. He was also James Brown’s father in Get on Up and Joe Geddes on the short-lived AMC drama Low Winter Sun.

Adewale A A

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

You know his face, as he blew up after playing Simon Adebisi on Oz. The handsome actor and former model has also had the chance to play American characters for years, including most recently Dave Duerson in Concussion, and of course, Majestic in Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

David Harewood

David Harewood

Harewood is currently playing an American character as Hank Henshaw on Supergirl, and has done so as David Estes, director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center on Homeland (when the show was still really good).

Eamonn Walker

Eamonn Walker

Walker grew to fame playing American character (and prisoner) Kareem Said, and he’s played plenty of prominent characters from the U.S. since. That includes his current role as batallion chief Wallace Boden on the hit show Chicago Fire. 

David Gyasi

David Gyasi

You may not know his name yet, but Gyasi has nabbed quite a few roles in major films over the years, including Red Tails and Interstellar. In both big films, he played American characters.

 

Images via Splash and WENN

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