5 things we can learn from David Oyelowo

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Watching David Oyelowo’s portrayal in this year’s picture Selma, you can’t help but feel a movement within yourself. I compare the sensation to the way water boils on top of a charcoal stove. One minute its cool and the next, hot bubbles are rising and jumping out of the pan. That is Oyelowo’s delivery of Martin Luther King – Alive.

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Last week the week sat squarely across an eager and attentive audience to offer a master-class in life and art. Only this time the back-drop was not a Hollywood set but Kampala’s picturesque Buziga suburb.

The British and Nigerian actor is currently in Uganda shooting scenes for the movie Queen of Katwe about Uganda’s chess prodigy Phionah Mutesi, where Oyelowo plays her coach Robert Katende.

Here 5 things I learnt:

  1. ‘NIGER’ – NESS WORKS – AT TIMES

Switching from a proper English accent to the loud, up in arms “Oga”, it is clear that David Oyelowo has watched his fair share of Nigerian movies – after all he is Nigerian. According to the actor while these impressions are stereotypical and exaggerated, they do show a character that makes Nigeria more successful than our pearl Uganda.

As a Ugandan we could do with a little more of this fire. Say NO to poor services in hospitals, banks, schools etc. Start operating our own business in a serious manner, and for the love of time pedestrian’s on the street should walk like they are going somewhere.

Ugandans are known to be gentile people but being a little more aggressive about life could transform us for the better. Now this doesn’t mean becoming offensive but simply gaining the authority over business and our abilities to demand people straighten their spines and take us seriously.

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  1. TRAINING TRUMPS TALENT

“Develop a back-breaking work ethic”. A working actor in Hollywood, Oyelowo has peeked behind the veneer of red carpets and can give witness that the best actors in the industry are the hardest workers.

We live and promote a culture that bears more weight on having talent than training. What isn’t clear to the naked eye is that a lot of people who are leaders in their fields have got there through incessant training.

The fruits of practice are great. Gradually as individuals we can become the best versions of ourselves.

  1. “RACISM IS REAL, SO IS SEXISM, SO IS AGEISM” SO….

While climbing the professional ladder within the British Film industry, David Oyelowo met a block rather than break through the proverbial glass ceiling.  Why? Because he was black.

You can’t always help what perspective people hold especially when it has an ‘ism’ at the end of it. However what you can do is decide your attitude in the face of plain as day ignorance.

Playing the first Martin Luther King to be seen on the big screen, Oyelowo has proven not only that he is able to carry a character with such responsibility, but he can rise above man made barriers that saw him anything other than a black lead.

  1. TELL THE TRUTH!

“If it’s a lie, the audience will tell…” is not quite the Biblical reason to tell the truth. However both relate to one maintaining their integrity. Granted we are not all actors and therefore not under scrutiny from an audience who wants to see something believable. But aside from the exceptions: politicians, con-men, fake pastors so on, truth is the fuel of communication.

  1. DO IT FOR LOVE

How many of us can say we love what we do for a living?

Well maybe quite a few – who knows. Loving our work makes it so that the hard times which will always be there are a lot more endurable.

Whether you are poorly paid as most actors are or have to deal with unprofessional working conditions, you are in it for the right reasons.

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