×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo Talk Nigeria’s Girls, Uzo Aduba & Diversity at Fundraiser

The GEANCO Foundation feted thesps Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo Monday night at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood for their commitment to better the lives of Nigerians.

The acclaimed British actors, both of Nigerian descent, attended the Impact Africa Hollywood event to receive the org’s Global Promise Award.

Ejiofor was especially touched by the organization that provided computers, clothing, medicine and educational supplies to two Nigerian schools — one of which was founded by his mother.

“My mother really wishes that she could be here. She can’t be here, because she’s there. She does the work, I get the award,” he quipped at the podium.

The L.A.-based nonprofit also funded medical care and mental health support for the girls terrorized by Boko Haram. The org has drawn large donations from Oprah Winfrey, in honor of Oyelowo, and Ejiofor’s “12 Years a Slave” co-star Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B.

“We share a desire, a need and a want to reach back to our country of origin,” said Oyelowo about himself and Ejiofor. “To help particularly with those who are marginalized and those who are not as privileged as others and especially young girls, who are being really marginalized educationally, emotionally, physically.”

Upon presenting the awards, Afam Onyema, co-founder The GEANCO Foundation, described the evening as “not some artificial award that Hollywood hands out, this is a promise.”

Oyelewo shared his experience with Variety about other Hollywood award shows, including the highly criticized Oscars earlier this year and the historical Primetime Emmys the evening before.

“It’s fantastic, Nigerians are a very proud people,” said Oyelowo about Uzo Aduba’s Emmy win for supporting actress in a drama. “What Viola acknowledged last night, in terms of there still needing to be ground to be broken… What I think is that you have someone like her, who is undeniably talented, someone like Chiwetel…  you have great actors and I think it’s just a question purely on not waiting for anyone.”

The auction at the fundraiser included Clippers tickets, an autographed bat by Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun and a lunch for two with Oyelowo, which was valued at $5,ooo. Celebrity guests in attendance were Oyelowo’s “Selma” director Ava DuVernay, Freida Pinto, “Captain Phillips” scribe Billy Ray and “The Knick” star Andre Holland.

More Scene

  • CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Robert

    Robert Pattinson Helps HFPA Donate $500,000 to Refugee Organization at Cannes Event

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association proved in Cannes Sunday night that the Golden Globes aren’t the only festive bash it can pull off each year. At the glamorous Nikki Beach party held in association with Participant Media, the HFPA donated $500,000 to international aid organization Help Refugees. Co-hosts Robert Pattinson and Helen Mirren along with Quentin [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan

    Peabody Winners Talk Empowered Women and Social Justice Challenges on Red Carpet

    The theme on the red carpet at the 78th annual Peabody Awards? Empowering women. On Saturday, Peabody winners gathered at Cipriani Wall Street, and one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind was the wave of female empowerment spreading across the industry. From Peabody’s Career Achievement Award recipient Rita Moreno to shows like ‘Killing Eve’ [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • Taron Egerton Cannes Film Festival 2019

    Taron Egerton Addresses ‘Rocketman’ Comparisons to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Takes Subtle Jab at Bryan Singer

    Taron Egerton says that he’s flattered by comparisons between his Elton John musical “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” last year’s smash hit about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. “I’m proud that we’re mentioned in the same breath,” says Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming “Rocketman,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a five-minute standing [...]

  • Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Griffin

    BAM Gala Marks Leadership Change, Celebrates Brooklyn as 'Cultural Center of New York'

    Wednesday’s annual gala celebrating the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) served as a poignant moment of transition for the New York stalwart of contemporary performance. As long-time artistic director Joe Melillo, who along with Harvey Lichtenstein transformed BAM into a vanguard of progressive art, prepares to pass the torch to new leadership, gathered patrons and [...]

  • Dua Lipa Tom Jones

    Dua Lipa and Tom Jones to Perform at amfAR's Cannes Gala (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety‘s Marc Malkin is on the scene at the Cannes Film Festival. Get the scoop on all the news, parties and more straight from the Croisette below. AmfAR’s upcoming Cannes gala is shaping up quite nicely. Sources tell Variety that the evening will feature performances by Dua Lipa and Tom Jones. And they’re not the only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content