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Oyelowo: My royalty provides few luxuries

Published 14/06/2015

David Oyelowo
David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo has spoken about the impact of his status as an African prince.

The 39-year-old Salem actor was born in Oxford, England to Nigerian parents of Yoruban ancestry.

David is a prince in his home country, but his status as a royal isn’t comparable to the lives of nobles in Europe.

“Being a Nigerian prince isn't like being royalty here,” he told UK newspaper The Independent. “My grandfather was the king of a region in western Nigeria, where I had the privilege to live for seven years while growing up. But what we think of as royalty in the UK is very different to royalty in Nigeria: if you were to throw a stone there, you would hit about 30 princes. So it's a bit more like being the Prince of Islington: it was useful for getting dates but probably not much else.”

David is blown away by the richness of African culture every time he visits the continent.

The star can’t even find the words to describe the emotions he experiences while exploring the region.

“Every time I go to Africa, I feel like I hit true north,” he gushed. “There is a depth of feeling that I have for the continent, in the richness of the people, the suffering, but also the transcendent joy that is there – it's like nowhere else on the planet. I wouldn't say that it's in every country in Africa, but most I've been to have that same feeling.”

David and his wife Jessica, with whom he shares four children, have been married since 1998.

And he confesses when the family arrived in Los Angeles, they faced a number of cultural challenges.

“I was lulled into a false sense of security when moving to LA,” David recalled. “I moved there with my wife in 2007, and because they seemingly speak the same language, I felt like this was a culture I could assimilate into and understand. But there are so many cultural differences in the way they look at the world.

“Coming from a self-deprecating, tiny island that's faced the fact that it's not as mighty as it once was, I have an outward-looking approach to life, while in America, being such a vast place, it's inward-looking and there are syndromes big and small that stem from that.”

© Cover Media

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