Nigerians divided as Lupita plays Igbo character in TV adaptation of Chimamanda’s ‘Americanah’

Mildred Europa Taylor September 15, 2019
Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. Pic credit: Capital FM

Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions to the news that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o will be playing a Nigerian character in her passion project Americanah, based on the best-selling novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

HBO Max has ordered a limited series based on the 2013 book, and celebrated actress Danai Gurira, who has written the series pilot, will serve as showrunner of the 10-episode series, according to Variety.

Acclaimed actress Nyong’o, who is the daughter of a Kenyan politician, said: “‘Americanah’ has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda’s beautiful novel in 2013.”

“It’s a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless. HBO Max is the perfect partner to bring this profound and celebrated story to life, and I’m thrilled that Danai will bring to the project her intelligence, wit, and understanding of the stories and the worlds of ‘Americanah,'” she said.

Image result for chimamanda
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Pic credit:

Adichie’s ‘Americanah’ is a powerful, tender story of race and identity and is centered around two young lovers, Ifemelu and Obinze who depart military-ruled Nigeria in search of better fortunes in the West.

The heroine, Ifemelu, heads for America, where she is forced to grapple with what it means to be Black for the first time.

Not able to travel to the United States to be with her, Obinze’ finds his way to London, where he lives for several years as an undocumented immigrant. Nearly two decades later, the two reunite back home in Nigeria and re-ignite their undying love and passion.

‘Americanah’ will be the fourth project that Nyong’o and Gurira will be working on together. The two have already appeared in Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame, as well as, in Gurira’s play Eclipsed.

Nyong’o had earlier planned to adapt Chimamanda’s novel into a film in which she would star alongside David Oyelowo. However, she disclosed last year that the book will rather be adapted into a series.

Nyong’o will be playing the character of Igbo girl Ifemelu, but this has generated mixed reactions on Twitter. While some thought that a Nigerian actress would have been better for the role, others didn’t mind.

Below are some of the reactions:

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 15, 2019


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