Many Americans of Igbo origin are making the United States proud while also honoring their roots. They are dispersed across several professional fields. While some are building a name for themselves in sports, others are making waves in the American entertainment industry.
Here is a list of top 10 American celebrities who are originally Igbos:
1. Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi Okafor
Emeka Okafor was born on September 28, 1982, and is a popular American basketballer. He attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas before proceeding to the University of Connecticut. Okafor was born in Houston, Texas.
Emeka was the first member of his family born in the United States. His father, Pius Okafor, is a member of the Igbo ethnic group.
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Umeadi Ejiofor is an American actor. A nominee for the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performance as Solomon Northup in the 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave, he is best known for starring as Darryl Peabody alongside Angelina Jolie in the 2010 American action thriller film, Salt.
3. Ogonna Nneka Nnamani
Born on July 29, 1983. Nnamani is a physician, retired American indoor volleyball player and former member of the United States National and Olympic team. She has played at two Olympic games in 2004 and 2008. In 2004, she became the second woman in history to make the U.S. national team for an Olympic Games.
Her parents emigrated to the United States from Nigeria in pursuit of better educational opportunities. Her father, Chika Nnamani, is an adjunct professor in Politics and Government and her mother, Uzo, is an artist and a teacher.
4. Tyler The Creator
Tyler Gregory Okonma was born on March 6, 1991, in California, the son of a Nigerian father with Igbo ancestry and an American mother of mixed African-American and European-Canadian descent.
Okonma is a rapper and record producer, He rose to fame in the early 2010s as one of the people that co-founded hip hop group Odd Future.
5. T.D Jakes
Famous American pastor, author, and filmmaker. He is the bishop of The Potters House, a non-denominational American megachurch, with reportedly 30,000 members.
The clergyman revealed in an interview that he traced his ancestry back to Igbo tribe after a DNA test in 2020.
It all started when Henry Lewis Gates, who was at Harvard, decided to do this DNA testing to see where my ancestry came from. It was me, it was Oprah Winfrey. It was Quincy Jones and others.
Mine was traced back to West Africa, to Nigeria and particularly Igbo. My ancestors were Igbos. Its indescribable. It gives something that we the African-Americans dont have, which is roots, he said.
6. Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha was born in Louisiana, USA to Igbo parents, He is a former American football cornerback. He played college football for the University of California. Nnamdi also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49er. He was born July 6, 1981.
7. Nonso Anozie
Nonso Anozie is an American actor. He is best known for his performances as Sergeant Dap in the 2013 American military science-fiction action movie, Enders Game, and as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the American fantasy drama television series, Game of Thrones.
Born and raised in London, England, the 43-year-old talented actor is from the Eastern part of Nigeria.
8. Annie Ilonzeh
Annette Ngozi Ilonzeh is an American actress. From 2010 to 2011, she portrayed Maya Ward in the American daytime television soap opera, General Hospital, and later starred as Kate Prince in Charlies Angels, an American action crime drama television series. She also had recurring roles in several American television shows, including Arrow, Drop Dead Diva, and Empire.
The 38-year-old actress is of Eastern Nigerian descent.
9. Chet Anekwe
Born in Nigeria but raised in New York City, United States, Anekwe came to limelight in the Hollywood film industry after he starred as Service Man in an American television series, New Girl. He is currently starring as Efe Omowale in the American television sitcom, Tyler Perrys Assisted Living.
10. Megalyn Echikunwoke
Ebubennem Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke is a 39-year-old American actress renowned primarily for her roles in television and film.
Born in Spokane, Washington, United States, but originally from the Eastern part of Nigeria, Megalyn was discovered while performing in a theatrical production for an arts academy, and began working professionally at the age of fifteen, appearing in an episode of The Steve Harvey Show. Some of the notable American films in which she had starring roles include Damsels in Distress, A Good Day to Die Hard, and Arrowverse.