Ghanaian stars in Hollywood making strides
Being the world’s largest movie industry, Hollywood has been the model for most movie industries in different parts of the world.
The industry is home to some of the big stars we see on our screens. the height of this industry has had many African actors dreaming of making it into Hollywood as its platform is huge enough to skyrocket their career and income-wise is quite fulfilling.
Many Africans have over the years crossed borders and made an appearance either once or multiple in Hollywood, the likes of Lupita Nyongo and others.
However, there are some Ghanaian living in Europe and America who are making great strides in the entertainment industry.
Let’s take a look at some of these Ghanaians making Ghana proud in Hollywood:
Actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson is an American actress of Ghanaian descent. She is known for her roles as Naevia in the Starz television series Spartacus and DC Comics character Amanda Waller in The CW TV series Arrow.
Since November 2016, she plays the role of Nadine Memphis on the USA Network series Shooter.
Addai-Robinson was born on January 12, 1985, in London. Her mother is from Ghana and her father, is a US citizen. She moved to the U.S. when she was 4 and was raised by her mother in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Cynthia is a graduate of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater.
In addition, she trained at Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in dance forms ballet, jazz, and tap. She received some special forces-style training from Navy SEALs and New Zealand Special Air Service personnel during the filming of Spartacus: War of the Damned.
Boris Frederic Cecil Tay Ofuatey-Kodjoe is a Hollywood actor born in Austria to a German mother and a Ghanaian father. His father is originally a native of the Krobo land (in the Eastern Region of Ghana).
Boris has been in the Hollywood scene for a long while, starring in the 2000 Hollywood film Love and Basketball, the 2002 Hollywood film Brown Sugar and Resident Evil; the afterlife. His current appearance was in Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, Station 19.
Kodjoe was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Ursula, a German psychologist of partially Jewish descent, and Eric Kodjoe, a Ghanaian physician who is of the Krobo people. His namesake is the Russian poet and writer Boris Pasternak.
Kodjoe’s matrilineal great-grandmother was Jewish and died in the Holocaust; his maternal grandmother survived the war in hiding. Kodjoe’s parents divorced when he was six years old.
He led a team of 40 other black Hollywood stars to Ghana during the Year of Return 2019 to connect with their ancestry.
Nana Kofi Siriboe
The Ghanaian American actor was born to Koshie Mills and Kwame Boakye with two brothers, actors Kwame Boateng and Kwesi Boakye. He stars as Ralph Angel Bordelon in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series Queen Sugar.
As a model, he signed with Wilhelmina Models New York and Vision Los Angeles.
In the film, Siriboe debuted by playing a supporting role in the 2008 comedy-drama, The Longshots. He later appeared in films Prom (2011), Whiplash (2014), and Straight Outta Compton (2015). On television, he guest-starred on Lincoln Heights and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. From 2014 to 2015, he had a recurring role in the MTV comedy-drama series, Awkward.
In 2016, Siriboe was cast in a series regular role opposite Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series Queen Sugar, produced by Ava DuVernay. In 2017, he co-starred in the romantic comedy film Girls Trip, starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish.
Akosua Gyamama Busia is the daughter of the former Prime Minister, best known for her role as Nettie Harris in the 1985 film The Color Purple alongside Whoopi Goldberg.
She is an actress, film director, author, and songwriter who lives in the United Kingdom.
Akosua is a princess of the royal family of Wenchi. Her sister, Abena Busia, is a poet and academic, who was a professor in English at Rutgers University, and since 2017 has been the Ghanaian ambassador to Brazil.
Akosua Busia grew up in Ghana, and began her acting career at the age of 16, attending London’s Central School of Speech and Drama on scholarship. Her first acting role was as Juliet in an otherwise white cast performing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Oxford University, where her siblings were studying.
Busia’s film roles include a notable performance as Bessie in a 1986 film adaptation of Richard Wright’s novel Native Son (with Geraldine Page and Matt Dillon), as Jewel in John Singleton’s Rosewood (1997), and as Patience in Antoine Fuqua’s Tears of the Sun (2003).
Busia is the author of The Seasons of Beento Blackbird: A Novel. She was one of three co-writers for the screenplay adaptation of Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved for the 1998 film version of the same name directed by Jonathan Demme. In 2008 Busia directed a film about her father: The Prof. A Man Remembered. Life, Vision & Legacy of K.A. Busia. Busia also co-wrote the song “Moon Blue” with Stevie Wonder for his album A Time 2 Love, released in 2005.
After an 18-year hiatus to raise her daughter, in 2016 Busia returned to acting in the off-Broadway and Broadway production of Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed, alongside Lupita Nyong’o.
For her performance off-Broadway, she received an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance as Rita.
Joey Ansah is the second son of celebrated Ghanaian fashion designer Kofi Ansah and his Devon-born wife Nicola. His sister is the visual artist Tanoa Sasraku-Ansah, his brother is musician Ryan Ansah, and his uncle is film director Kwaw Ansah.
Ansah lived in London for the first 10 years of his life before emigrating with his family to Ghana. There he studied the martial art of Taekwondo for four years and took up hip-hop dance and motorbike racing.
At 15 he returned to England, settling with his mother and young sister in Plymouth. While studying for his GCSEs and A-levels at Devonport High School for Boys, he began training in the martial art of Ninpo Taijutsu and eventually earned a black belt in the art.
This would include a period of training with Bujinkan Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi. Later, while studying for his degree in human biology at Oxford Brookes University, he began training in the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.
Idris Akuna Elba is an English actor, musician, producer, and DJ born on September 6t,h 1972 in London to a father of Sierra Leonean descent and a Ghanaian mother.
Forbes recognizes him as the sexiest man in the world, an enviable accolade that stirs the hearts of both men and women.
Idris has made several appearances in the Hollywood scene, after starting as a DJ in London. He is known for his role in the award-winning Hollywood production Beast of No Nation, the BBC One Series Luther, and Nelson Mandela’s biographical film, Long Way to Freedom. He also played a lead role in Hollywood production Hubs and Shaw.
He has several reputable award nominations to his credit, some being the Golden Globe Awards and the Emmys.
He has also featured on songs with Ghana’s Sarkodie, VVIP, and Reggie Rockstone.
He was born in Chiraa, Ghana, and comes from an academic family. He was born to parents from the Brong Ahafo Region, and moved to Hertfordshire, England, with his father, Peter Osei Mensah, an engineer, his mother, a writer, and two younger sisters at a young age.
Peter Mensah has featured in big Hollywood blockbusters such as 300, and Tears of the Sun, as well as series such as Spartacus; Blood and Sand Spartacus; Gods of the Arena.
He is a Ghanaian British actor born in Ghana but migrated to England at a very early age with his family.
The Hollywood actor and comedian has carved a name for himself in the Hollywood industry for a long while now, even though little was known about him until he hosted the 2018 AFRIMMA Awards in Accra, Ghana.
He made a remarkable appearance in the 2000 comedy film Next Friday produced by the legendary Ice Cube.
He went on to release his comedy skit titled Modasucka; welcome to America in 2OO5.
He made remarkable appearances in the 2005 production Bad Boys of Comedy AND the 2007 production Repos with Master P.
In 2010, he appeared in B.o.B’s “I’ll Be In the Sky” music video. In 2011, he recently appeared on BET’s “The Mo’Nique Show”
In 2011, Michael recently starred on Starz’s Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-up which had 3 million views on Youtube, and Showtime’s Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam; plus he is currently headlining Shaq All-Star Comedy Jam Tour.
Ato Essilfi Bracato Essandoh is an American television and film actor whose parents are from Ghana.
Essandoh, who was born in Schenectady, New York, graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1990.
He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University. He is also a playwright and authored Black Thang which is published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2003.
He also studied acting at the Acting Studio in New York City. Essandoh is also the co-founder of The Defiant Ones writing and performance group.
Frema Agyemang is an English actress who is known for playing Martha Jones in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood, and Amanita Caplan in the Netflix science fiction drama Sense8.
Following her departure from Doctor Who and a role in the BBC series Little Dorrit, Agyemang held a starring role as Alesha Phillips in the crime procedural drama Law & Order: the UK between 2009 and 2012.
Senyo Amoako was born in Dayton, Ohio, and raised in San Diego, CA by his Ghanaian parents.
He is a trained stage performer, and composer. Senyo has scored several nominations for stage and theatre awards and has equally performed alongside Black Eye Peas, Pharcyde, Tha Liks, The Nappy Roots, Ludacris, The Method Man, Krs-One, and many more.
Jaye Davidson is another Ghanaian Hollywood star who is doing well in the movie industry.
Jaye was born in Riverside, California. His father is a Ghanaian and his mother is English. He became very popular in the movie ‘The Crying Shame’, a very controversial movie that showcased his indigenous beauty.
He has also been involved in big-name movie shots.
Hugh Anthony Quarshie is a Ghanaian-born British actor. Some of his best-known roles include his appearances in the films Highlander (1986), The Church (1989), Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), and the Doctor Who episodes “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks” (2007) as well as his long-running role as Ric Griffin in the BBC medical drama Holby City (2001–present). Quarshie has played the role of Ric for 17 years and is the longest-serving cast member in Holby City.
Quarshie had considered becoming a journalist before taking up acting. He is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has appeared in many stage productions and television programs, including the serial Behaving Badly with Judi Dench.
He is well known for playing the roles of Sunda Kastagir in Highlander, Captain Panaka in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and Ric Griffin in the television series Holby City.
He attended the Star Wars fan event “Star Wars Celebration” in 1999. He portrayed Lieutenant Obutu in Wing Commander.
He appeared in the 2007 two-part Doctor Who episode “Daleks in Manhattan”/”Evolution of the Daleks” as Solomon, the leader of the shanty-town Hooverville. He headed the cast of Michele Soavi’s The Church (1989) as Father Gus and played Aaron the Moor in the BBC Television Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.
Sam Sarpong is a Ghanaian born in the UK. He is an actor, producer, rapper, and model. Some of his film works include the Warner Brother comedy with Nick Cannon and Christina Milian “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, the Gary Marshall comedy “Keeping Up with the Steins” with Jeremy Piven and Darryl Hannah, and the Spike Lee drama “Sucker Free City” with Anthony Mackie and Omari Hardwick.
Sam has also guest-starred on such shows as “ER”, “The District”, “Boston Public”, “Navy NCIS”, and “Home Improvement”.
In 2001, Sam received an AFI Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Louis in the movie “Street King” co-starring Jon Seda and Mario Lopez.
In 2005, Sam was named by Detour Magazine as “Young Hollywood’s One to Watch”. In 2007 Sam co-starred with Tony award winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia in the psychological thriller “Nailed” which was featured and made a buzz at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.
He also starred in ‘Anchor Baby.’
-REYMOND AWUSEI JOHNSON