Why I couldn’t change my African surname – Hollywood actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor

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38-year-old Nigerian Hollywood actor, Chiwetelu Umeadi, popularly called Chiwetel Ejiofor, has disclosed that his Igbo native surname helped push his career in Hollywood.

Chinwetel, who was born in London to Nigerian parents, was allegedly advised to change his surname at the initial stage to avoid only being offered African roles, but he reportedly refused to do so and thinks it has actually given him more opportunities.

In a recent chat on ‘talk-variety’ at the Ellen DeGeneres Show, he said, ”I couldn’t understand what the problem was. I mean, bring it on. Let’s do that!

“They seemed to think it was a negative, but it allowed me to work in Africa, in England and in the States.”

 The Actor and Director, having starred in a good number of movies including 12 years a slave, said although he had worked in the theatre since he was 15 years old, he never imagined he’d make it as a film star.

The actor said: ”I didn’t think I had a chance of being a film actor. My focus was trying to get into the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) or the National Theatre. The thought of being a star never occurred to me.

“I got good grades, so my mother who initially wasn’t very happy with my career ambitions, wanted me to go to university at least.

“But at 15 I was quite willful and demanding,” the actor noted. “I got a scholarship to MALDA and said I’d support myself with this job and that. It was a fait-accompli, you know.”

“I am very proud of my African heritage. I stand out in all aspects and I am glad I didn’t give in to changing my surname,” Chinwetel added.

Read More: DailyPost

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