Web Series Explores First Generation Immigrant Identity

She's starred alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood in "Pariah", "The Big Short", and "Twelve Years a Slave." Nigerian-American actress and director Adepero Oduye gets frank about being a first generation immigrant storyteller and honoring her identity. 🎥

Unique perspectives that deserve to be shared on screen

Actress Adepero Oduye says she is finally able to honor her identity in her role in the web series, The Feels. The Feels portrays individuals exploring their relationships and identity as they navigate adulthood. Oduye plays a first-generation Nigerian-American that is trying to reconnect with a childhood love. Giving nuance to a character from her same cultural background was important for Oduye — who had roles in 12 Years A Slave, The Big Short, and When They See Us. She made her directorial debut with Breaking In, a short film about a young black man's first time being stopped and frisked by the NYPD, based on her brother's early experience. The film has garnered several film festival acknowledgments and awards.

“We just need to hear as many stories as possible because there is there are many people, many permutations of how people live their lives in this world. And people should be able to see themselves reflected. I just happened to be a woman who lives in New York and I happened to be in Nigerian, my name is Ife. It’s the same thing as me; I’m Adepero, I'm an actor, first generation Nigerian and grew up in Brooklyn. Bringing on people who-- their lives are maybe close to the stories that they're telling, they're bringing a lot of themselves and so I got to tell a story from my life and yet again I was just so honored and just super thankful to be a part of it.”

Adepero Oduye was born in Brooklyn, New York, one of seven children of Nigerian parents. Although she graduated pre-med from Cornell University, she decided to pursue her passion for acting upon graduation. Oduye says being a first generation American offers unique perspectives that deserve to be shared on screen. Oduye says an uptick in minority representation in film and TV since the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite controversy should only be the beginning of a sea change in storytelling.