Many might know Sam Adegoke for his role in CW’s hit show ‘Dynasty’ where he plays Jeff Colby who acts as a backer and eventual love interest of show protagonist Fallon Carrington.
Dynasty is a reboot of an 80s show of the same name and this new one was set in Atlanta rather than Colorado. This led to a rather curious idea that Adegoke pitched to the network which was basically to make his character (Colby) Nigerian. It turned out that execs liked the idea and went for it.
Speaking on what he did, he said “Jeff, my character, is like this self-made tech billionaire. He’s like a Mark Zuckerberg,
“Could he be Nigerian? ‘Cause that’s realistic”
What Sam Adegoke did was bring a ‘Nigerianness’ to the show that has never been seen before on mainstream television.
In an interview with Okay Africa, Adegoke talked about how he also brought the Nigerian factor in his wardrobe and language, “They hadn’t cast my father at the time, and they ended up casting Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who’s Yoruba as well, as Cecil ColbyW
He continued, “Episode nine is where we first meet his character. And prior to this, I’d done six episodes without [Jeff] being Nigerian. In the first scene we did [together], part of the scene was in Yoruba—which was amazing.”
As for the impact this caused in the Nigerian community, Adegoke said it was stunning; “The Nigerian community went crazy,” he said “I got all these DM’s and tweets and just realizing how impactful that was. I was overwhelmed at how I got to bring my culture into this character and make it mine.”
Sam Adegoke grew up in Minnesota, the son of 2 ministers, he found himself in church basically every day of the week and it was here that his talent for acting first started to shine through.
He didn’t pursue that path initially and he instead ran track and read marketing and finance at the University of Minnesota. After school, Adegoke worked at Target’s headquarters before moving to LA and setting up camp at General Mills. He quickly grew disillusioned with his inability to hone his creative skills so he went out to study menswear at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
It was here that he took a minor in Theatre without letting anyone know, “I had to be undercover with this,” he said in the interview. “Menswear was also something I was really interested in doing, but it was still me lying to myself. The idea of moving to L.A. and being an actor just sounded so cliché. It sounded disgusting to me—why would you go into this rat race of a pipe dream that for so many people it doesn’t work out?”
Tragedy struck in in 2012 when he lost his friend to suicide, at this point he had to ask himself what he was doing. He then started to really take his acting serious. He soon realized just how much of a safe space acting was for him as he mused, “For black men, especially as Africans, you’re not really encouraged to face emotions—you’re taught that’s a sign of weakness,
“I found acting to be a safe space for me—to explore emotions on a spectrum.”
His big break eventually came when he won the ABC Discovers Digital Talent Competition and since then, Adegoke has not looked back.
Dynasty is still ongoing, but this isn’t Sam Adegoke’s last bus stop, “There are a lot more stories that I want to tell—more from the African perspective. So I’m writing a lot,
“I just want to tell that immigrant story that’s not comedic and comes from a space for those who didn’t come from wealth and struggled with the pressures that came with assimilating. I have a very vivid memory from my childhood with those experiences.”
We are excited to see what Sam Adegoke has for us in the future, it’s sure to be explosive.