Award-winning British actress and singer of Nigerian descent Cynthia Erivo is making waves for her brilliant portrayal of renown American abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman in Harriet, and for being just a step away from reaching the coveted EGOT status.
Erivo, who got two Academy award nominations for her stellar performance is the first Nigerian to win an Emmy, Grammy and Tony. Had she won any of her nominations at the recently held Oscars, she would have become the first Nigerian to hold an EGOT.
The “EGOT” is the honor of winning at least one Emmy(television), Grammy (music), Oscar (film), and Tony (stage) in competitive rather than honorary categories.
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The Nigerian-British thespian and singer whose full name is Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo, was close to achieving the “EGOT” feat after she was nominated for Best Actress for Harriet and Best Original song “Stand Up” in Harriet.
As it stands, Cynthia is just an Oscar away from becoming the youngest EGOT recipient in history at 33 years old.
Only 15 people have ever achieved the feat but Erivo could be the 16th member of a very ‘exclusive club’, whose membership qualification requires winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
Some of EGOT recipients are Richard Rodgers, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend, Robert Lopez, Tim Rice among others.
In recognition of her talent as a singer, actress, thespian, here are some interesting facts about Cynthia, the star girl of the moment.
- She is born to Nigerian parents in Stockwell, South London where she studied music psychology and subsequently applied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
- She is an actress, singer, and songwriter, who is known for her performance as ‘Celie’ in the musical, The Color Purple.
- She was the only Black actor nominated in the acting category at the 2020 Oscars.
- Apart from being a celebrated movie star, Cynthia is also a renowned stage and television actor. Cynthia rose to fame in the role she played in the 2013 Menier Chocolate Factory production of The Color Purple. In April 2017, it was announced that Erivo and the cast of The Color Purple alongside The Today Show won the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award in the Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program category.
- She had previously portrayed Sister Mary Clarence/Deloris Van Cartier in a UK tour of the stage musical Sister Act, which Whoopi Goldberg had originated in its film adaptation.
- Her first venture into films was in 2018, with roles in the heist film Widows and in the thriller film Bad Times at the El Royale.
- In 2019, she featured as the abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet, in which she earned nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
- In September 2018, Americans signed an online petition against Cynthia to disallow her from playing the role of American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet. They claimed she was not American and does not know what it is like to be a slave.
- Cynthia notwithstanding criticism, went on to become a double nominee at the 2020 Oscars. The actress was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Harriet Tubman in Harriet. She also received a second Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “Stand Up,” in the movie, Harriet. A song Cynthia co-wrote and performed at the 2020 Oscars award.
- Her on-stage performance earned her the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She also shared the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album with her castmates.
- If and when Cynthia wins an Oscars award, she will hold an EGOT. This means she will have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
- Cynthia is currently starring as Holly Gibney in the HBO series, The Outsiders. And also to be seen playing Queen of Soul music, Aretha Franklin in the National Geographic anthology series, Genius.
While her achievements as a thespian is gaining her well deserved critical acclaim, her fashion sense is also being lauded by critics and fashion pundits. The man behind her bold looks is stylist Jason Bolden, who also works with Yara Shahidi and Alicia Keys. He calls Erivo “The new Hollywood: Brave, black and beautiful.” Erivo is never afraid to take risks on the red carpet, and so far it’s worked remarkably well for her.
See some of her photo below: