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The Academy Invites Record Number Of Africans To Join

On July 1st, the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences extended invitations to 842 potential members. These individuals were nominated upon their contributions in film and were voted on by the Academy board members. With a record-breaking 29% of invited individuals being of color, we want to recognize many of the people of African descent who are part of the Class of 2019.

RELATED: Our Top 20 Black Directors in 2019

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Nigeria

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was raised in England before making the move to Los Angeles. Once in the U.S., Akinnuoye-Agbaje had featured roles in numerous television shows, making it easier for him to land roles in films. Some notable movies he was featured in include Suicide Squad and Trumbo.

Chinonye Chukwu, Nigeria

As the first black woman to win the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Chinonye Chukwu is a cinematographic innovator. Her film Clemency highlights a taboo topic in the media and demonstrates why #blackgirlmagic is still relevant.

Funa Maduka, Nigeria  

This Nigerian businesswoman is taking the movie industry by storm. As Director of Film Production & Acquisitions and International Original Films for Netflix, Maduka is a role figure for girls and African-Americans who want to go into the business side of the movie industry. In an interview with Variety, she hopes to expand the diversity of movies by promoting directors from the Middle East and Africa.

Yousra, Egypt

Born Civene Nessim, Yousra is a prominent actress in the Middle East region. Between 1980-2014, she devoted her time starring in a variety of films before becoming an activist. Her most notable works include The Storm (2000) and The Emigrant (1994).

Mohamed Hefzy, Egypt

Egyptian Mohamed Hefzy made a name for himself by becoming Egypt’s premiere screenwriter and producer. Working on films like The Pyramid (2014) and Open Your Eye (2014), he recently became president of the Cairo Film Festival.

Tunde Kelani, Nigeria

Educated in the arts at the London International Film School, Tunde Kelani is a pioneering director for Africa. Kelani established his own production company where he improved the quality of films in Nigeria. With his break-out films like Arugba, it is hard to mention famous Nigerian moviemakers without mentioning him.

Amr Salama, Egypt

Born in Saudi Arabia, Amr Salama documented the 2011 Tahrir Square event. In the same year, he released Asmaa; the film centers around the issue of AIDS and portrays the story of one heroine who struggles with it.

Individuals of African descent

Lennie James, United Kingdom

Raised in a Trinidadian household, Lennie James is best known for his work as Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead franchise. However, he made several appearances in feature films such as Blade Runner 2049 and Swelter.

Neema Barnette, United States 

Neema Barnette is one of the most prominent African American directors in the movie industry. Known for her “out-of-the-box” movie ideas, she has directed and produced films that cover a spectrum of film genres. Some of her notable works include Heaven Ain’t Hard to Find and All You’ve Got.

Letitia Wright, Guyana

Guyana-born actress Letitia Wright surely knows how to make an impact on the big screen. Although you may know her as Shuri in the Avengers franchise, she is also credited in Ready Player One and in Black Mirror. The London-based actress is also known for being the best at freestyling.

Winston Duke, Trinidad and Tobago 

Next on our list is Winston Duke. Alongside Letitia Wright, Duke co-starred in the movie Black Panther and went on to be featured in the Avengers franchise. The Yale graduate was also featured in Jordan Peele’s new thriller Us.

Nijla Mu’min, United States

Nijla Mu’min is a writer and filmmaker who dedicates her work around black identities. Mu’min is an accomplished black individual, obtaining grand accolades from the highly-recognized Sundance and SXSW movie festivals. Interested in watching one of her films? Then you should watch Jinn (2018).

Sterling K. Brown, United States 

You may recognize Sterling K. Brown from his role in the TV show This Is Us; however, did you know he was featured in Black Panther as well? He is part of the star-studded cast and is continuing his career in film with a feature character in Frozen II.

Shakim Compere, United States

As one of the two founders of Flavor Unit Entertainment, Shakim Compere plays an important role in black moviemaking. He is an executive producer that works with black actors and has produced movies like Just Wright (2010) and Bessie (2015).

Alana Mayo, United States 

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Alana Mayo is the current head of production for Outlier Society Production. Owned by Michael B. Jordan, she leads the day-to-day functions for the production house and has valuable experience from her previous work at Paramount Pictures.

Terel Gibson, United States

In a job field where it is hard to stand out, few movie editors have been invited by the Academy. Terel Gibson is a renowned African American movie editor who worked on films like Sorry to Bother You (2018) and plans on continuing to be an unheard storyteller of movie making.

Michael Abels, United States 

Michael Abels is the musical composer of Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017). Studying the music of West Africa at USC and CalArts, he composed music for artists before getting into the movie business. If you want to listen to his latest musical composition, make sure to check out Us (2019).

Tracy Oliver, United States

This African American writer worked on the movies Girls Trip (2017) and The Sun Is Also A Star (2019). Oliver is the first African American to write a film that grossed over 100 million USD and plans to continue this momentum in her career.

To see who else made the cut, check out this list.

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