“I was in America long before Idris Elba and those other British actors”
The CBS show Bob Hearts Abishola Star Gina Yashere said the sitcom has several actors that most American viewers may not know. While enjoying some fame in England, she revealed that she had to start over in America. Yashere joked to Wendy Williams, “I was in America long before Idris Elba and those other British actors!”
Before playing the role of Abishola’s best friend (Folake Olowofoyeku), Kemi, Yashere performed as an actress in England. While both of her parents were Nigerians, she was born in London.
She said she came to America in the 2000s. However, audiences were not familiar with the actress or her work.
“Here’s the thing. I’m a stand-up comedian, I’m from England and I was more famous in England than in America, ”Gina Yashere said on The Wendy Williams Show. “So when I got to America, I was basically starting over. I go on stage in America, and people didn’t know who I was.
Then she realized that the audience not only knew her, but also didn’t know black British actors in general.
Gina Yashere said her accent confused audiences before they knew Idris Elba and other black British actors
Hollywood saw a kind of boom in black British actors in the late 2010s. John Boyega played a leading role in the Star wars sequel trilogy as Finn. Naomie Harris starred as Shriek in Venom: let there be carnage.
However, Gina Yashere joked to Wendy Williams that “Americans didn’t even know there [were] Blacks in England ”in 2007.
“The accent confused people because I was in America long before Idris Elba and all these other British actors who are doing well now,” Yashere said with a laugh. “When I came to America in 2007, Americans didn’t even know there [were] Blacks in England!
She cited actor Idris Elba, who starred in Marvel’s Thor like Heimdall, and Bloodsport in DC’s The suicide squad. As a black British actor, Elba has proven to be a go-to star.
“So I would go up on stage and open my mouth, and they’d be like, ‘What is this? Is he an Australian aboriginal? What’s going on ?’ Yashere said. “So I’m confusing people.”
Gina Yashere rebuilt her star power in her own specials and on “Bob Hearts Abishola”
While the actress found herself starting over, she never lost her dynamism.
“I was trying to make my way in America, I was trying to get on TV, I was trying to get specials, [but] no one was offering me promotions, ”Yashere said. “No Netflix, no HBO, no Showtime, nothing. So I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do my own fucking specials! ‘”
Even though she mentioned Showtime as turning her down, they bought her special Gina Yashere: skinny slut.
“Basically I went back to England, booked a theater, booked my own producer, booked my own director, sold tickets, and then I just shot the show and made the special and I said, ‘ Who wants this special? and Showtime bought it, ”said Gina Yashere.
Chuck Lorre and the Bob Hearts Abishola writers discovered Yashere through his online comedy specials. Then they brought her on board to play with Olowofoyeku and Billy Gardell.
While Gina Yashere may not have Idris Elba’s star power, she never lost her motivation. And she made sure to write it down.
“And that’s how I am,” Yashere said. “I am a con artist.”
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