Sope Aluko, the Shaman Of Wakanda

When Sope Aluko landed a role in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe to play Shaman in the comic book movie adaptation of Black Panther, she joined the list of iconic actors credited for making one of the greatest movies celebrating African heritage in this modern age.

The US-based Nigerian mother of two, who has been married for 20 years, started off working in corporate America for about 15 years in Brand Marketing, also dabbling in Engineering. But somewhere along the line, she gave it all up for acting.

She described her experience in Black Panther as “nothing short of magical” sharing similar thoughts as the lead casts who expressed that they knew the movie would do well in the box office, but no one realized it would be such a blockbuster. Aluko worked on set for five weeks; in what she describes as a wonderful experience bonding with the cast and crew.

In a recent interview session, Aluko revealed that there are various challenges in Hollywood, being a black woman, a mother, wife, but particularly as a Nigerian woman. Prior to the insurgence of African roles, there were just not enough roles for the Blacks in Hollywood. There is a breakdown of roles that are more specific, and more recently looking for Nigerian characters. Aluko said she would like to see a lot more of such roles as the opportunity to be represented is a major challenge for black women in Hollywood, even more so as a Nigerian woman. The spotlight has been on names like Carmen Ejogo, Yvonne Orji, Uzo Aduba and so many other people but there are a lot more Nigerian female actresses that are coming through in Hollywood and young enthusiasts just need to be confident in themselves as everyone brings their individuality to the table.

Aluko has other projects for us to look forward to, including another Marvel film, a new movie with Taraji P Henson set to be released this year and a guest starring on Counterpart, a show on Star Network with Academy Award-winning actor JK Simmons.


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