Lovecraft Country and His House actress Wunmi Mosaku said starring in both shows and the tragic events of this year has made her question what her deeper purpose is.
Wunmi stars in Remi Weekes’ Netflix horror about two displaced Sudanese asylum seekers who tackle a sinister force living inside their new England home that they can’t leave.
Wunmi plays Rial and acts opposite her on-screen husband Bol, played by Gangs of London‘s Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. Talking to Stylist magazine, she revealed how difficult it was working through the grief and unrest following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
She said: “On the Wednesday that Breonna Taylor’s miscarriage of justice, in my eyes, was served I couldn’t sleep. And then on Thursday, having to come to work and be present and productive when I’m terrified, I’m angry, I’m heartbroken, I’m scared for me, I’m scared for the future… All this stuff that we have to deal with and then go to work and still be polite and try and smile.”
A grand jury decided not to charge any of the police officers involved in 26-year-old Breonna’s death.
Wunmi added: “The press junkets have been a lot, emotionally. It’s tiring to talk about it, it’s tiring to live it, it’s just tiring. But that is my reality. And I’m not African-American. That cellular ancestral grief that they carry, that they have vibrating through them, I see it. I still feel it, but there’s a difference.
“I’ve found this whole period really, really difficult. I’ve been struggling to keep the hope alive. And so, I’ve been thinking about my purpose. Someone asked me, ‘What do you think your purpose is?’ It’s been a matter of re-education.”
Wunmi has never shied away from taking on tough roles. She wowed viewers when she played Damilola Taylor’s mother in the feature-length drama Damilola, Our Loved Boy , winning a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in 2017. She went on to feature in a number of high-profile productions including opposite Idris Elba in Luthor and in the Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them to name a few.
Today, the Nigerian-British actress lives in Atlanta with her husband, who also works in the entertainment industry. They have been a conduit for one another to process their feelings with “big old theological and emotional conversations at the dinner table,” she explained.
“My husband kindly gifted me a Yoruba class on Nigeria’s independence. It’s been about reconnecting to my heritage and things that I’ve lost.
“My parents were told by my teachers to stop speaking Yoruba to me because they wanted me to assimilate. I’m dyslexic, and they thought the reason I was struggling with my reading was because I was bilingual, so I lost my language. It was taken from me by this system of white supremacy and being judged as close to whiteness as possible.
“Reconnecting is grounding. We’ve got a book club and are specifically doing Black writers from all over Europe, America and Africa. That’s been grounding and fulfilling.”
Watch His House on Netflix from 30 October 2020.