During a recent Women’s Day panel, the Nigerian actress, who was born in Port Harcourt shared her experience as an immigrant in America.
a long line of hardworking women
“I watched my mom as a nurse of 25 years, bedside, every day, doing overtime. . . and just going in and just saying, ‘This is how I pay for your college. This is how I pay for your boarding school,’. For me, I saw women, and I saw my grandmother who died in the ’90s, still in the village, in her shop, being an entrepreneur.”
pressure from her parents to be successful
“Knowing I was entering the industry that was not the norm for anyone in my family. My father was like, ‘If you’re going to do this, do it the best. … There’s a whole country that you would let down.’”
her motivation to be excellent
“I didn’t come here with any kind of connection. I literally came here with Jesus. Through family and faith, that’s literally what gave me my vision. You can’t tell me no, because you can’t tell Jesus no. It doesn’t work.”
to be an immigrant to the United States
“There’s a lot of negative speak about what it means to be an immigrant. I’m like, ‘Okay. I don’t know where that came from.’ We do the dirty jobs. We do the good jobs. We get the job done. I was able to come to America because of immigration. My mom got here because there was nursing shortage. And so when people talk about how immigrants take the job that nobody wants, I’m like, ‘Well nobody wanted to be a nurse in the ’80s.’"
the misrepresentation of Africans on TV
“For Africans, you really only see us caricatures or fully genocide. What you see on TV is what you believe you can be,”