The Kenya Forum | Lupita to Play Lead Role In Chimamanda’s “Americanah” - The Kenya Forum

September 19, 2019


Lupita Nyong’o will be the lead character “Ifemelu” in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

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Lupita to Play Lead Role In Chimamanda’s “Americanah”

Lupita to Play Lead Role In Chimamanda’s “Americanah”

Lupita Nyong’o will be the lead character “Ifemelu” in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

The Americanah adaptation will be a 10 episode mini-series on HBO Max and not a film has it had been previously announced.

Lupita and her fellow Black Panther actress Danai Gurira are also the executive producers of the Americanah production.


The novel Americanah is a powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun.

The title won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, 2013 and in the same year it was also listed among the New York Times Book Review’s “Ten Best Books of 2013”. Americanah was also the Winner of The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, 2013.


Americanah tells the story of  Ifemelu and Obinze, who are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

Nigerians On Twitter Raise Storm Over Lupita’s Role In Americanah
A section of Nigerians, however, took to Twitter to protest the decision to cast Lupita “a Kenyan” to play Ifemelu, saying a Nigerian actress would pull the role better because of the
Igbo accent.
Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) in their typical fashion jumped on the Nigerians criticism and defended Lupita, saying that is exactly what acting and talent is all about and “homegirl” would ace the role just as she did with Black Panther and in Queen of Katwe, where she played a Ugandan.
KOT also reminded Nigerians that a 13-year Kenyan teenager, Maxwell Simba, who had never acted before, was cast as the lead character in Netflix’s; The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a film based on a true Malawi story during the country’s food crisis of 2002.
Kot was also quick to point out that When Beyonce opted to feature Nigerians in the Lion King Album instead of Kenyans, the latter never made a fuss.
Below are some of the tweets;
Trumponomics: So Nigerians are complaining about #Lupita ! when Nigerians featured in the #LionKingAlbum we did not Complain and we all Know there are no Lions in Nigeria! They used all of them in Witchcraft rituals!
Ronoh wences KE: Nigerians are back to stress fellow African blood. So now Nigerians are bitter Lupita Nyong’o is gonna play a Nigerian role Yet their lame actors play American roles in Nollywood with igbo accent #lupita #KOTLoyals
FridayJones: So in the #Lupita vs #Nigerian casting I do not see the xenophobic word tossed around like it was when #ADOS made casting demands. I wonder why. #ADOS played pimps, thugs, hookers, mammies, sambos and literally earned the right to be the lead.
Nkem Aniebue: But half of a yellow sun main actress wasn’t a Nigerian, so why the fuss about #lupita?
Frank Rodgers: it’s my honor to be a Kenyan.who is feeling the same? #KOTLoyals #Lupita
Akorede: This should not even be a problem. Lupita is an amazing actress and her playing the major role does not dampen or reduce the success of Americanah. We should be proud #lupita #Americanah

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