Top 7 Black MenBy Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Top 7 Black Men
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Thu, Nov 22 2007 by Iquo Essien
Number Two: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Give thanks. I first noticed Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on The Bourne Identity. He played a Nigerian diplomat, Nykwana Wombosi, whose assassination plot failed when Jason Bourne had a change of heart. Then I remembered something from back in the day.

It's no surprise that the London-bred Akinnuoye-Agbaje, at 6'2", was a model before an actor. But as his roles suggest, contrary to the prevailing notion of model-types, he's all heart. His first major Hollywood role was in Steven Spielberg's Congo. Not bad for his first time out of the gate.

I'm not much for shoot-em-up shows, so I never caught him on Oz. I only recently got hip to Lost and have been eating up the Season 2 Series DVD. Mr. Eko, Akinnuoye-Agbaje's character, has become one of my favorites. And not just because he's tall, dark and handsome -- he has the kind of depth that is usually only reserved for white characters on the screen.

"It's very difficult trying to do AFRican characters with integrity in Hollywood because they don't have any real understanding or knowlege, nor do they care to. For them AFRica is a black man with a bone in his nose--he could be from anywhere," Akinnuoye-Agbaje told The AFRican in a cover story awhile back.

Being 6'2" and musclebound must have its perks, because he forced the producers of Bourne to create an authentic character in Wombosi, who at first was just a generic type. His voice was also heard in crafting Mr. Eko for Lost.

Now Akinnuoye-Agbaje is taking his quiet strength to directing. I'm still tryna track his film down, but once I do, you'll be the first to know.


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