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Lupita Nyong’o, Akon & Adepero Oduye Celebrate Their African Heritage In ‘I Am an Immigrant’ Campaign

Lupita Nyong’o, Akon and Adepero Oduye join a cadre of celebs in celebrating immigrants’ immense contributions to America as part of the #IAmAnImmigrant campaign.

3.8 million foreign-born blacks, mostly from Africa and the Caribbean, now make up the fabric of the United States, with that number growing steadily. And by 2060, black immigrants will make up 16.5 percent of the U.S. black population, according to the Pew Research Center.


So actresses in Oscar-winning film "12 Years a Slave" Lupita Nyong’o and Adepero Oduye along with Senegalese rapper-philanthropist Akon joined forces with a cadre of celebs such as Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Estelle, and Rosario Dawson to make a video marking June as Immigrant Heritage Month. It's been celebrated for three years, but President Obama made it official last year.

The video, backed by non-profit Welcome.us., pictures Lupita, Akon and Adepero while wearing the campaign’s hashtag slogan #IAmAnImmigrant on their t-shirts, sharing their perspective on why immigrants are integral to the diversity that shapes America’s strength and uniqueness in the world.

“What I think is so wonderful about America is the fact that it’s a society of immigrants,” Nyong'o, also Kenyan star of Danai Gurira's critically acclaimed Broadway play “Eclipsed,” says.

Akon, who grew up in the U.S. besides a brief stint in Dakar as a child, offered his take in solidarity with immigrants’ tremendous contributions to America in the video uploaded Wednesday:

The notion of America not supporting immigrants to me is absurd. When you look at history, America was built on immigrants. You can go as far back as three, four hundred years, it was built by slaves at the end of the day who weren’t from here.

Oduye, also a Nigerian Brooklynite, adds, "To me when I see 'immigrant' and I think 'immigrant', I think strength. I think strong. I think triumph."

Each of the 50 celebrities featured were photographed by “Beasts of No Nation” director Cary Fukunaga.

You can join your favorite celebs in commemorating Immigrant Heritage Month with hashtag #IAmAnImmigrant on social media, use Welcome.us’ custom photo filter and cop an “I Am an Immigrant” tee. To learn more visit here.

Watch the video at the top, and see a snippet of Akon’s interview for the campaign below.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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