In Hollywood today, there are several famous blacks that are excellent in their craft including those of Nigerian descent. One of such actors is Hakeem Kae-Kazim. When we talk about Nigerians making waves in diaspora and in Hollywood in particular, this pure black breed cannot be left out.
Kazim was born in Lagos, on October 1, 1967, where he spent his early years before his family re-located to London, England. His interest in acting began with school plays and The National Youth Theatre. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 1987 and was offered a space with The Royal Shakespeare Company, where he continued his classical training.
Since equipping himself and developing his skills in the arts, Kazim has been very fervent in the movie industry since the late 80s, playing some very iconic roles. Some of the films he has featured in include the made-for-TV movies, Double Vision, 1992, Hidden Empire: A Son of Africa, 1995, Trial & Retribution, 1997, Animated Epics: Moby Dick, 2000, Die Wüstenrose, 2000.
However, it was his role as Georges Rutaganda in the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film, Hotel Rwanda, 2004, which brought him to international attention. Following the success of Hotel Rwanda, Kazim re-located to Los Angeles. This move brought a range of new opportunities his way. He went on to appear in Slipstream alongside Sean Austin and The Front Line, before starring in the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as Captain Jocard. He followed it with a role in the blockbuster, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Additionally, Kae-Kazim has had roles in the television mini-series Human Cargo, 2004, for which he was nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actor at the 2004 Gemini Awards and The Triangle, 2005, which was shot on location in South Africa.
He has appeared in a number of feature films, including The Secret Laughter of Women, 1999, God Is African, 2003, Critical Assignment, 2004, Out on a Limb, 2005, Othello: A South African Tale, 2005, Slipstream, 2005, and The Front Line, 2006. He has also had roles in the direct-to-video releases Coming to South Africa, 2004 and Coming to South Africa 2, 2005, both of which he produced.
Coming to Nigeria, the proudly Yoruba man broke into the Nigerian entertainment scene when he starred in movies like Inale, 2010, Black November, 2012, Last Flight To Abuja, 2012 and Half Of A Yellow Sun in 2013. His unique voice on screen is what thrills his fans the most when he is on center stage and on top of his act.
Kazim has also successfully made a smooth transition into British television, appearing in The Bill, Trial & Retribution and multiple episodes of the popular BBC series, Grange Hill.
In television series, Kazim is doing well too, appearing in various hit series including Lost, where he made a notable guest appearance as Emeka in the 5th episode of Season 3, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds. He also starred as Colonel Iké Dubaku in season 7 of the Fox television series, 24, and the television movie tie-in 24: Redemption. But his longest running role in a series has been in the Michael Bay produced starz series, Black Sails. He played Samson in part one of the 2016 miniseries remake Roots.
In November 2017, Kae-Kazim was cast in the recurring role of Cesil Colby on The CW reboot series Dynasty.
Apart from being in front of the camera, Kazim is also tagged; King of Microphone: Called the ‘Man with a Beautiful Voice,’ he has also done extensive voiceover work ranging from television and radio to video games. His voice has been featured in a number of well-known video games including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Final Fantasy XIV, Halo 3 ODST, Halo: Reach, Guild Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Golden Compass and The Saboteur. Kae-Kazim has spoken of voice over work as being “a lot of fun,” and something he enjoys doing.
Kazim is an appointed global ambassador for Africa 2.0, a civil society organisation providing a platform for emerging and established African leaders to drive forward the transformation of Africa. He is also an Etisalat brand ambassador.
Looking at both Hollywood and Nollywood, Kazim has worked alongside prominent actors on both divides including British-Nigerian actress, Caroline Chikezie, Tom Sizemore, Vivica Fox, Billy Zane, Sarah Wayne Callies, Dede Mabiaku, Jim Iyke, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, Ubong Amata and many more.
He is currently starring in the BBC fantasy series Troy: Fall of a City as Zeus, king of the Olympians.
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