Quantcast

Yvonne Orji Shares Pressures Of Growing Up Nigerian: "I Was On My Way To Med School"

Celebrity News

On HBO's Insecure, Yvonne Orji plays Molly, a career-driven badass with killer style and a sharp tongue. In reality, Yvonne Orji still exemplifies all of these traits, but instead of making her mark at a high-end law firm, she's making waves in the comedic industry.


Raised in a Nigerian household, Yvonne explained that her parents had strict expectations for her life, none of which included stand-up comedy. In an interview with Stephen Colbert, she said:

"Well, I was on my way to med school. My parents are Nigerian immigrants and they are like 'you must be a doctor' and I was like 'I will try'. I took organic chemistry and I was like maybe no. It was the first time I got an F."

Despite her disinterest in her studies, Yvonne pressed on and eventually earned her master's degree. She even went as far as traveling to Africa to evade her parent's wishes of pursuing a career as a medical professional.

"I couldn't tell my parents I didn't want to go to med school so instead I got my masters in public health and still couldn't tell my parents, so I went to Liberia post-conflict because it was easier to work in a war-torn country than tell my parents I don't want to go to med school.
"I entered this Miss Nigeria in America pageant. And I didn't know you needed to have a talent. I was like I was not going to tribal-dance on stage. So I prayed, and I was like 'God I need help', and the loudest I heard was 'do comedy' and I was like 'no'."

Eventually, Yvonne listened to that voice and shared with her parents that she wanted to pursue a career in comedy. She was recently on The Breakfast Club and explained that the fear of her parents' disappointment and her inability to listen to God's plans almost cost her the life of her dreams.

"I had to get a whole master's degree before I could do comedy bruh. I couldn't even bring up the word comedy until I was like, 'Ma, I got two degrees. I owe Sallie Mae a lot of money, can I please now go do this other thing I love?' I know people in med school, like I wanna be a doctor first, but I really want to do graphic design. Well you can go do that now!"

Now, Yvonne can proudly say that she's paid Sallie Mae back (in full), submitting to God's will for her life have offered possibilities that she could have never imagined.

"I feel like God is just… melodies from heaven, are just raining down on me. I feel like I'm in a good place but because I'm so African, I feel like it's not even enough. I feel like I'm just getting started, I'm just scratching the surface. I have that leave nothing on the court mentality. Like what's next?"

Along with filming for the newly confirmed Season 4 of Insecure, the young actress is also writing a new book. She told Charlamagne:

"It's personal and also relational, in terms of God and how God like ruins every plan that you had, in the best way. You plan it, and He laughs at it. He's like, 'Oh, that's the best you can do? 'When the bible says, 'Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard,' it's like if you can see it, it's like, 'Well, I told you I was gonna do stuff that you can't even see or imagine, why would you think that [your plan] would be good enough? Because I got some stuff you can't even imagine."'

You better preach, Yvonne because Lord knows that was a word we all needed to hear today!

Take a note from Yvonne's book and but some trust in your gut and faith in your talents. Sometimes what we have planned for ourselves is minuscule compared to what God has in store for our lives. Check out the interview in full by pressing play on the vid below.

Yvonne Orji Talks ‘Insecure’, Strict Parents, Stand-Up Comedy + More www.youtube.com

Featured image by Lauren Elisabeth / Shutterstock.com

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Because I write so much about sex, there are never a lack of random questions that pop into my mind. One that I was wondering semi-recently is if there's a particular time of the day when men and women are hornier than others. Chile, when you decide to go digging for information, you'll be amazed what you'll find.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Growing up, Eunique Jones Gibson didn't have to look far for positive imagery that reflected who she was and where she came from. At a young age, Eunique's parents wasted no time instilling the importance of self-love and embracing the richness of Black culture. From her father's afrocentric, Cross Colours-based style to seeing herself through the lens of Lena James, Jada Pinkett's confident persona on A Different World, Eunique's surroundings began to paint a colorful portrait of the world's true representation could form. She points out, "That was my entryway into really embracing the culture and understanding the power of who we are and being critical of false narratives." It's no wonder that her work in representation through entertainment and media no less found her.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Karrueche Tran, I like her. She minds her business, she makes smart business moves. She has integrity, and most importantly, she loves herself enough to leave situations that no longer serve her. Tran popped on the scene roughly a decade ago as the girlfriend of Chris Brown. They had a whirlwind romance, filled with just as many highs as lows. Eventually, Karrueche ended the relationship after she found out Brown had a daughter on the way, and she moved on to pursue her passions within the entertainment industry.

Keep reading... Show less

It's no secret that the pandemic hit all of us hard, and now that restrictions have been lifted, offices have reopened, and work seems to be getting to a new normal outside of quarantines and isolation, we all want to take our lives back. If you only learned one lesson in the past year, it's to look out for No.1, i.e. yourself, and practice a bit more balance in self-care.

Research has shown that many of us were overworked and pretty much burned out, and we missed out on vacations last year, too. The average work day extended at least an hour, and millions of vacation days wasted away.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts